Leading Your Team While Working Remotely

Leading Your Team While Working Remotely

Has your team recently started working remotely? Many businesses across the world have found themselves in this situation, and have navigated new territory when it comes to collaborating. If this is the situation you're in, don't worry. A small learning curve comes with transitioning to a remote environment, but it can transform into a setting that fosters creativity and productivity.

Here is our guide to leading your team when you are all apart.

1) Solidify a method of communication

If your team is working apart, your first order of business should be exploring your options for communication software to keep in contact during this period. Luckily, today, many workplaces have already embraced remote workers and many options are available on the market to meet this demand. Some of the most popular options include Slack, Zoom, and Microsoft apps such as Teams and Skype.

Your ideal software solution will depend on many factors, including:

  1. Your budget
  2. The size of your team
  3. Features (video chat, calendars,
  4. Integration with other platforms

You’ll be pleased to know that many of these platforms offer free trials to see which platform your team likes the best. Encourage your staff to send you feedback and let you know which one they like using the most.

This is important because your team is less likely to use a software if they don’t enjoy the interface or find it not very user-friendly. How useful this software directly affects your bottom line not just by the upfront cost of it, but in affecting how productive your team is with it as well. So, be sure in your pursuit of a communication platform, that you commit to an option that will help your team, rather than hinder it.

Want to know which video conferencing platform is best for your business?
Read our guide: The Best Video Conferencing Software For Your Small Business

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2) Set up daily or weekly meetings

While it is great that we live in an age where being connected through instant messaging has never been easier, nothing can replace verbally and visually communicating with your colleagues. We think these meetings are the best in person, but video or phone calls are the next best thing when that option isn’t available.

How often your team meets is entirely up to you, but we recommend checking in as a whole team each day to let other team members know what you will be working on for that day. These meetings don’t have to be lone, but they are helpful in giving your staff an opportunity to address concerns or ask questions early on in the day—particularly if they want to bring something up that concerns someone else’s workflow.

For these meetings, have your team go through the following:

  1. Their daily tasks: What do they need to finish today?
  2. Their goals for the week: What can they do today to achieve this?
  3. Their plans for next week: What can they do this week to set themselves up to succeed next week?
  4. Questions/Comments: Is there anything they want to bring up?

As well, one-on-one meetings between team members and supervisors to see how their goals are progressing are a great way to stay on track. They are also a great opportunity for team members to have more focused conversations with managers.

These meetings should be once a week, and both parties should build an agenda to go through the following:

  1. Goals: Have they been met? If not, what can be done to meet them in the future?
  2. Assignments: What’s going on this week? What do we need to do to prepare for next week?
  3. Wellbeing: How are you feeling? Is there anything that can be done to improve this?
  4. Questions/Comments: Is there anything your team wants to ask about, no matter how big or how small?

If this seems daunting, don’t worry—once you get used to the workflow, these meetings can be quite helpful in streamlining processes for your team.

3) Set goals early and often

As mentioned previously, your team should be mindful to set weekly goals to work toward and achieve by the time to work week is over.

The goals that are set should be:

  1. Realistic: Be honest with yourself on what is achievable, particularly during a pandemic which has affected many organizations throughout the world. It is helpful to take this time and see how your numbers have trended within the last month, and whether that trend is different from trends in the last few years. If it is lower, take that into account when setting goals. There are many things outside of your control right now, and your team needs to be mindful of this if they don’t achieve goals that were set a year ago.
  2. Quantitative: Your goals should be measurable by a set key performance indicator, rather than vague and open-ended. For example, a goal to ‘get more registrations’ is good, but ‘get 25 more registrations’ is better because it features a reachable number.
  3. Time-based: As stated above, your team should be setting weekly goals to achieve. However, it doesn’t hurt to also use this time to look at the bigger picture and set goals for what your team wants to achieve by the end of this quarter, or even this year.   

Don’t forget—goals aren’t set in stone. If your focus shifts or the situation changes drastically, assess whether this goal needs to be achieved, or is attainable anything. If not, feel free to revise and set a new goal.


4) Use task management software to stay on track

Don’t let the small tasks get away from you! The easiest way to be proactive about your team’s work, and streamline processes, is to use task management software, such as Trello, Asana, and Paymo, amongst others.

As with team communication software, the platform you choose will vary wildly from team to team depending on many factors, including:

  1. Your budget
  2. Features (time tracking, feedback notes, and more)
  3. The size of your team
  4. Integration with other platforms

5) Organize a virtual happy hour or team get-together

Last but certainly not least, don't forget to enjoy quality time with your team. At the end of the week, set up a recurring happy hour to relax, unwind, and bond as a team. Working remotely without a break from an office setting can make it feel difficult to escape work, but it shouldn't–and you should take this time to remind your team when to take a breather and celebrate their hard work. 

Here's how one martial arts school turned everything around during COVID-19:
Read more on the American Marital Arts Academy in Fullerton, CA 

Lead your team while working remotely


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