Here Are some Pointers for Managing a Distributed Workforce

Due to the global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, many individuals have experienced disruption to their professional lives. However, the pandemic has also created opportunities. For instance, some businesses that have experienced a decline in revenue have reorganized or focused on long-delayed initiatives that may help them to become more competitive in the long term.

Businesses have realised that there may be benefits to continuing with remote teams even after the pandemic has ended. In order to ensure the success of this, managers will need to adapt their practices. This article will discuss strategies for successfully leading a distributed workforce.

Always, Always, Always Speak Up

When deploying a remote workforce, it is essential to establish a regular schedule for communication. Video conferencing is an ideal way to hold scheduled meetings. Examples of meetings may include:

  • A check in every day.

    It would be beneficial for everyone to resume work as soon as possible, so let us keep this meeting short. This meeting can be used to address any issues, ensure everyone has the necessary resources, and plan out the day.
  • Summarization of the last week.

    At this team meeting, which is estimated to last around half an hour, we will review our achievements from recent days and discuss our plans for the upcoming week.
  • There will be a monthly investigation.

    Schedule a monthly meeting once a month for an hour to discuss ongoing difficulties, discuss new initiatives, and discuss potential solutions.

Video calls can be a useful tool for ad hoc meetings, but there are other options available, such as telephone, chat or internet platforms like Slack. To create a team environment, consider setting up a ‘water cooler’ channel that can be used during breaks to allow for conversations unrelated to work.

Set Reasonable Goals

It is essential to manage people’s expectations on a regular basis when undertaking a new project. First, it is important to clearly outline the scope of the project and the role of each team member. Additionally, it is important to establish the criteria that will be used to measure success. To ensure that everyone is on the same page, it is important to hold regular meetings during the course of the project.

It is important to focus on the results of the project, rather than worrying about the team’s time management. Ensure that your staff are aware of when and how to contact you. Additionally, make sure to communicate your expectations of confidentiality of corporate information. It is important to remember that cybercriminals may target companies that allow their employees to work remotely.

Donate Vital Materials

It is essential that remote team members have the necessary tools to complete their duties. This includes any hardware, software, office furniture, and stationery that would be used in an office environment. It is important to ensure that the IT department has the resources to support remote employees, such as a help line, a ticket system, and the ability to visit employees in their homes if required.

It is important to ensure that staff are aware of the resources available to them, including up-to-date information regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and any additional support provided by the company, such as assistance with childcare and financial advice. Employees should be reminded that they are a valuable asset and that their colleagues can approach them with any problems, both at work and at home. Both material and intangible resources, such as access to mental health services, should be made available.

Keep Your Stuff Together

The absence of well-defined processes and the inefficient utilisation of organisational tools can quickly lead to the disruption of a distributed team. A straightforward and cost-free application such as Trello may assist in monitoring all elements of a project from beginning to end. If your organisation is complex, custom software designed to assist with project management may be worth considering.

Ensure that all team members are aware of the processes and procedures for completing tasks. For example, when a report is finished, how should it be submitted? Is it sent via email, and if so, to which address? Could it be stored in an online repository? Who is responsible for reviewing the report and what does this involve? Are there any additional requirements for submission? It is essential to discuss these processes with the team and have a reference document or platform for tracking the steps.

Be a Role Model

Employees are observing your behaviour, even from a distance, to gain an understanding of how to behave in certain situations. If you demonstrate a strong work ethic, professionalism, responsiveness and adherence to corporate policies, your colleagues are likely to follow suit.

As leaders, it is important to be aware of our own emotions when the organisation is undergoing a significant change. Our behaviour can serve as an example to the rest of the team, so it is not surprising if our team shares our distress if we are experiencing it. To ensure we are setting a good example, it is important to remain composed and confident, as this will encourage our team to follow our lead.

Have a Good Time

It is important to make an effort to connect with your colleagues, even if you don’t feel a strong connection with them. Taking the time to chat and build relationships can help to improve teamwork, even when you’re not in the same physical space. Having fun together as a team can still be possible, even when working remotely.

It may be beneficial to set aside five minutes during certain sessions to discuss future plans, such as weekends away and vacations. Alternatively, you could organise a virtual pizza party by sending pizzas to each person’s home. If feasible, aim to meet up in person at least once a month.

No Default Size

In order to achieve success, teams need to assemble an appropriate combination of personnel, resources and regulations. Those who have been working remotely prior to the pandemic may already have their own workspace set up. Conversely, teams who have only ever worked together in an office may require more structure and guidance.

It is essential to maintain open communication between all levels of management to ensure that the most effective solutions are being employed. This list should be used as a starting point to explore which strategies are most beneficial. Adapting and refining processes as required is key to successful remote management. Through experimentation and feedback, you will be able to identify the best solutions for your organisation.

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