To look forward, you have to look at lessons learned so far and the strategies for getting things right. I am confident that remote working will become part of the new norm across the globe and I expect that upward trend in this area to continue as we head out of lockdown. Change happens all the time in business but we have never seen the need for it to happen so quickly on such a global scale in modern times. We’ve seen change in the financial services sector only too well with the rise of FinTech and the winners are always the businesses that can adapt quickly, collaboratively and effectively.
It’s clear to me that as a result of the sudden influx in remote-working, the role of leadership and management needs to continue to evolve now too. We need a different kind of leadership and one that fits with the new normal. The way you lead can help encourage your workforce in unprecedented times and it will also set the tone for remote management going forward too.
You need to have clear guidelines when communicating with your remote teams and avoid miscommunication. Setting the guidelines early on has helped our workforce know what is expected of them, the processes to follow and what to do if things don’t go as smoothly as they’d hoped. With in-office appraisals now out of the picture, there still needs to be company-specific metrics that can be measured to ensure the performance of your team. It’s also vital that you revisit these and update them if needed.
Leverage the right tech to stay connected
You might be working from the dining table, but even without a physical office, you can still keep your workforce instantly connected and keep projects on track. At Quint Group, we use Slack for instant messaging, and internal comms, Monday as a project management tool, and Google hangouts for meetings via video conference. Not only does standardising forms of communication help streamline operations across multiple global territories and time zones, it also helps decrease email volume, and improves efficiencies between departments.
Communication is key for employee wellbeing
Keep the lines of communication open with your team at all times. You might not be able to have lunch together in person, but a virtual cup of tea or coffee break and a chat can help lift employees if they’ve been feeling a bit down. Have a set time for weekly catch-ups where the entire time can join in via Teams or Zoom. Finally, ensure your team knows how to report any changes in their remote working location or change in project goals. I’ve learned that great communication is the key to great leadership.
Keep accountability up and coach your team
Managers need to engage with the workforce well as they are the link between the vision and the front line. The distance can sometimes prove to be a barrier in holding workers accountable and at the same time keeping them focused. Employee trust is more important than ever. Remember that you can always share goals in weekly team meetings to help managers stay on task and progress reports can still be done and are great opportunities for career development milestones for your team.
Good technical support
The one thing I’ve learned from this crisis is that good technical support is a lifeline for remote workers. Having the right tools to do the job is vital and it makes it easier for everyone to do their jobs. There is sometimes a fear of being left out and feelings of isolation when working remotely, so encourage conversation whether it’s a text, or a What’s App message. Just remember that being a leader means bringing out the best in your team and if I’m being optimistic, change can be good.