Remote working is a trend that’s grown significantly in recent years, but the impact of COVID-19 means more people are working from home than ever before. While technology advances give us the infrastructure to operate from remote locations, effective leadership is essential when employees are physically distanced from one another.
Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic means people and businesses are facing unprecedented challenges. Strong leadership is critical in times of crisis, so now is the time to bring your leadership qualities to the fore. To ensure your business thrives during this uncertain time, take a look at our top tips for managing remote teams during a crisis:
1. Trust your employees
When staff are working from home, they may have significantly more freedom and flexibility than when they’re in an office environment. However, attempting to micromanage your team remotely will lead to dissatisfaction, reduced productivity, and frustration on both sides. Although it’s important to monitor efficiency and outputs, trust your employees to take responsibility for their roles and show you have confidence in them.
2. Be available
Working from home can throw up a range of unforeseen issues, so make sure you’re available to deal with them. From problems with logging in to secure systems to issues with communications, you may need to spend a fair amount of time problem-solving as your team adapts to remote working.
In addition to this, staff may require more feedback and reassurance than they typically do. Although many people enjoy working from home, this isn’t applicable to everyone. Be sure to notice which team members are struggling with the adjustment and provide the additional support they require.
3. Provide appropriate equipment
Not everyone has the space, materials, or equipment to work from home easily. Although the operational restrictions imposed in response COVID-19 mean the majority of people are making do, be aware that your staff may be struggling to use out of date hardware or working in disruptive environments.
Where necessary and possible, arrange for equipment to be loaned to staff when they’re working from home. Furthermore, ensure staff feel comfortable talking to you about any difficulties they may be experiencing in terms of accessing appropriate equipment or communication services. Making funds available to cover the extra costs associated with working from home can have a major impact on staff performance and morale.
Strong Leadership Boosts Outcome and Productivity
Businesses thrive in response to strong leadership. However, being a strong leader doesn’t necessarily mean enforcing a strict hierarchy of authority or imposing ever-increasing targets. In fact, you can get the most out of your remote teams during times of crisis by taking the opposite approach.
As businesses face a continually evolving landscape amid the COVID-19 outbreak, a flexible and empathetic approach is vital when you’re managing employees. By being transparent, empathetic, and trustworthy, you can provide your employees with the support they need during this time and gain their trust and loyalty in return.