Many leaders have been thrown in the deep end recently – scrambling to get their normally office-based teams up and running remotely.
Navigating remote work – especially on the fly – can be a HUGE learning curve.
If you’re a leader who’s looking for ways to keep your remote team engaged and energised, read on for our tips.
Check In With Your Team About Their Remote Experience
This tip is super important if your team members are brand new to working remotely.
People can become disengaged, frustrated and unmotivated quickly if they struggle to cope with change to their working environment.
Some people adapt well. Some don’t.
It’s your job as a leader to make time for a virtual 1:1 pulse check to see how people are doing.
Here are a few questions you could ask –
- What has been the best thing about working remotely?
- What have you struggled with?
- What can I do to support you?
- Is there anything about your remote working style I or other team members might misunderstand?
Tech and Productivity Tools (Audit and Update)
Making sure your team is well equipped with the right productivity tools is remote work 101.
A couple of remote work tools we love:
Project management: Asana, Airtable, Slack, and Trello
Video Conferencing: Zoom and Google hangouts
Working remotely for a little while and already using a project management platform/s? Time for a quick audit to see how your tech choices are working.
Are people using them properly? If not, why not? Ask your team for feedback. More training on the tool might be needed or it could be time to try an alternative.
You could also suggest team members install a personal productivity app of their choice to help maintain focus.
For example, Serene is a free productivity tool that helps you maximise efficiency by focusing on specific goals each day and cutting out the noise of distractions.
This can be especially helpful for those who aren’t used to working from home and are challenged by distractions. The struggle is real!
Consider Flexible Working Hours
Giving your staff the green light for work hour flexibility can re-energise a lagging team.
Flexible working hours can help strike a better work /life balance to keep your people motivated. It can be one of the real perks of remote work
The 9am – 5pm workday isn’t a magic formula for getting the most productivity out of your team.
We all have different internal clocks (circadian rhythms) and some of us do our best work in the early mornings, while others get fired up and focused in the later hours.
There’s always the exception of course, but most employees who feel free to control their own schedule stay on task and produce higher quality work.
Plus, flexibility allows your team to fit in their personal activities and family lives around work with convenience and ease.
Ensure the team schedule is arranged so there is at least 2- 3 hours during the day when everyone is online. This block of time allows for discussion and collaboration.
Catch Up Over A Regular Virtual Coffee Break
Cultivate a sense of community in your team with a virtual coffee break.
It’s an opportunity to chat about work and non-work related topics and check in with each other.
Use a video conferencing tool (Zoom is definitely having its moment right now) to gather your team for a virtual huddle. BYO coffee!
Schedule the virtual coffee break into the team calendar a few times a week during hours when everyone is online.
Keep the days and times the same each week – one of the great things about Zoom is it’s easy to connect to Google or Outlook calendars and project management tool Slack.
Take An Online Course Or Workshop Together
“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” – Henry Ford
If your team is working remotely why not learn remotely too?
An online workshop or course can help teams align, strengthen remote relationships, and generate ideas.
Carefully designed and well-facilitated sessions are vital for success with in-person group training and the same is true for virtual workshops.
As the leader, you should invest time into researching online workshop options, reviews and involve your team in the decision making too.
You could pick 3 possible workshops and run a virtual poll with your staff to see which option is the most popular.
Have an Open Communication Platform (For Work + Social Chatter)
An online communication platform that’s open to all team members at any time allows people to discuss issues and post updates – without having to send dozens of emails. Win!
Slack is a great tool to get the job done. It allows you to create a ‘channel’ for your team – a single place for a team to share messages, tools, and files.
Setting up a channel for social chatter is fun too. It lightens the moods and encourages remote teams to stay connected and share on a personal level.
Create A Budget For Better Home Workspaces
Investing in making your team’s home office a little more comfy can be a boost to motivation.
It could be something as simple as sending a home office ‘care pack’ of high quality office supplies or as generous as investing in ergonomic chairs or standing desks.
Obviously, it depends on the budget and if remote work is to become the standard for your team, or only temporary. Your team will feel appreciated and enjoy a more comfortable workspace at home.
Is your team currently working remotely?
We’d love to hear about your experience and any tips you can share. Leave a comment below!