We are increasingly moving to a virtual world and although it's been over a year, everyone is having a different experience with the transition. Here are four tips on how to effectively manage your remote team and ensure your team members are set up to succeed while working from home.
1. Be a Coach, Not Just a Manager
Everyone's work from home situation is different and each person has different challenges that they face. Even if you ask an employee if there's anything you can do to make their work from home situation better, they may not be willing to share. That's why it's important to build a relationship of trust. By being a mentor figure, you can develop a deeper relationship with your employees.
The difference between a manager and a coach is that a manager is focused on the employee's current state while a coach is focused on the employee's future state. A coach seeks to understand the employees perspective and aspirations and then helps the employee achieve those aspirations by providing support and promoting learning. This Harvard Business Review article gives tips on how to coach someone remotely.
2. Understand Employee Personas
Each employee has their own unique personality and motivational factors. Their internal definitions of success will be different from each other. For example, one person may define their success as outperforming their OKR's or goals. Another may be motivated by creating meaningful relationships with their co-workers and clients.
Employee personas are much like customer personas in which you create a profile to understand their needs and values so that you can provide them with a customized solution. This can help you understand the most effective ways of communicating with them, the projects that they are most suited for, and the best ways to give feedback. You can learn more about how companies like IBM, Starbucks, and Cisco have utilized personas in this Forbes article.
3. Create Opportunities for Employees to Give Feedback
To keep your employees engaged while working remote, it's important to provide the right channels for employees to be able to communicate and give feedback. More importantly, listen to the feedback your employees are sharing and act on them. This shows that what they are saying has value, which in turn builds trust.
There are a couple ways you can do this:
- Anonymous Employee Surveys - These can be employee engagement surveys regarding your company's work from home policies or can be feedback about your performance as a remote manager. People are more likely to be honest when they know their names aren't attached to their comments.
- Anonymous Comment Box - You can create an online comment box that allows employees to drop feedback in at any time. This way, they can immediately write down any issues or concerns they have. You can then go through the comments on a weekly or biweekly basis and address them with the team.
- Virtual Office Hours or 1:1 Sessions - We previously talked about how important it is for new and junior employees to receive mentorship and guidance through virtual office hours. Likewise, in this changing work environment it allows employees to come to you with their concerns about work from home processes and policies. People tend to be more honest in a 1:1 setting where they know they won't be judged by their peers.
4. Organize Team Social Events
When you're working remotely, it can sometimes feel like you're siloed off from the rest of your team. It's important that the manager creates opportunities for the team members to engage and socialize. However, it's not always enough to just have a team happy hour because some people don't feel comfortable talking in a big video meeting. We've all experienced those awkward silences.
Instead, host a team social event that has an activity involved. There are a lot of online games out there that support a large amount of people. For example, our team has played games like Trivia (built right into Pragli!) and Among Us in our team socials. It's a much more active form of team bonding that everyone can participate in. There are also different activity kits you can purchase online such as DIY hot sauce, cocktail kits, and paint kits.
Re-evaluate and Adapt
A lot of companies were rushed into creating work from home policies and processes that were mostly focused on productivity rather than employee well being. Now that we've been working from home for a while, it's important to step back and assess how you can improve the overall remote work experience for your employees. Are there policies that should be changed? Are employees getting the resources and support that they need? What can you do to help improve their experience?
What is Pragli?
Pragli is a team communication platform that makes remote and hybrid work more fast, fun, and inclusive.
Our product is currently completely free - try it out at https://pragli.com/