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How To Lead Remote Working Teams in The ‘New Normal’

Written by

Laura Belyea


As we adjust to the ‘new normal’, it’s apparent that remote working team communication is going to be a fixture in our lives for quite some time.

Whether you’re familiar with, or succumbing to remote working teams in the workplace, there’s always new challenges that a disparate workforce presents.

In this feature, we’re going to look at the best remote working team management tools and strategies to ensure a motivated and productive team that thrives, with wellbeing front and centre. 

 

The core principles of successful remote teams

According to the Harvard Business Review, the three core pillars for successful remote working within teams are; communication, coordination and culture. Let’s take a look at this in more detail.

 

1 – The importance of communication

As anyone with team leadership training knows, communication is key. This is especially true of a highly distributed workforce, let alone one adjusting to new ways of working.

As creatures of habit, frequent structured meetings can add some much-needed ‘normality’ when working from home. What’s interesting, is that quick, short meetings have been found to be highly productive by researchers. The CIPD go one-step further to recommend a daily ‘huddle’, to help keep productivity high.

Alongside this, allowing team members to communicate freely with each other, can also help with morale and motivation.

Managers should also acknowledge that working from home has a number of distractions and being supportive and understanding of employees can go some way in making them feeling valued.

 

2 – Co-ordination is the glue

Probably the biggest challenge of remote working, is the lack of personal interaction – both formally and informally. While there’s no substitute for face-to-face contact, there’s many great online assets that managers can utilise. From employee analytics tools, through to video-conferencing like Zoom. 

Finally, with so much emphasis on team members, it’s easy to overlook your own role as a manager. With working from home promoting a more task-orientated approach, it’s easy to become a delegator of tasks, rather than a strategist. This is where virtual team management tools like Asana and Slack can come in to force, keeping teams on track.

 

3 – A thriving culture

Inherent to any business is its own personal identity and culture. This can also be one of the greatest challenges to maintain with virtual teams in the workplace.

In a virtual environment individuals can stay connected to its culture through regular and inclusive activities. This involves creating a sense of community and remaining socially close even when miles apart. 

Experts suggest that we can try to retain relationships in various ways; from online team quizzes to Friday night ‘quarantinis’, and shared Spotify playlists. These help to create ‘virtual water cooler’ moments to keep the working spirit alive.

Hand-in-hand with this is creating a welcoming work environment. Finding the balance where you’re not micro-managing, neither too hands-off, ultimately requires trust in your workforce. The result, however, will be greater productivity and trust all around.

As a final thought, wellbeing remains an important issue. Colleagues should feel empowered to share their concerns with managers, and feel listened to. As we’ve already established, continuously listening to employee feedback is invaluable for your business in learning to adapt to the new normal.

Take Aways

While our environments have changed, our needs have not. Remote working team communication is therefore essential for a thriving workforce, and remains ever-important at a time with so much disconnect. As a team manager, if you can keep; communication, coordination and culture, front of mind, it will go some way in managing a successful virtual team.

Next Steps

If you are looking to boost your remote working, watch a demo of Talievst’s COVID-19 Insights dashboard.

The dashboard will help you:

  • Collect employee feedback during COVID-19
  • Measure your remote working strategy
  • Enhance motivation, productivity & wellbeing

 

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