It is almost a year now since the majority of professional people have been working at home. Maybe you feel you have this nailed, many haven’t!
There has been lots of talk of how to make sure that team working in this remote world is effective. After a year of working with senior leaders who have been trying to do just this, as well as getting the best from people, I have encapsulated my key pieces of advice and observations into one place in this article.
I have put it in a simple tick list so you can easily check off what you are already doing and what you can do going forward.
Seven tips to improve remote team working
- Don’t assume everything can remain as it was in the office, more consideration is required.
- Make sure you understand the situations of those who report into you and of those who you work closely with.
- Agree how ‘formal’ communication will take place e.g. one-to-one catch-ups, team meetings. On video call or the phone.
- Also agree how ‘informal’ communication will take place. This is a big one. Some team managers have been annoyed by a constant trail of emails asking the questions that would usually be asked in the office (when it is theoretically easier to judge a good moment!) Whilst others have had problems increase through team members being worried about ‘bothering’ their managers. Agree the format of ad hoc question asking i.e. phone, text, email or perhaps your organisation uses a communication platform such as Slack. Discuss whether you preferred these grouped into one email/call or one per question. Negotiate what is best for both!
- Remember to check in. Ask how people are in themselves, when you can’t see people you lose some cues for whether someone is struggling.
- Be wary of how email communication, in particular, could be interpreted without the office context.
- Communicate any key updates when you can e.g. maternity/paternity returners, new joiners or other business news. I heard of one company where someone had been back 3 weeks but most extended team members only realised when she appeared in a meeting – not good!
These tips are not rocket science but in the busyness of everyday life, many don’t happen! What can you do to improve remote team working?
I tackle a range of topics in my free downloadable guide for those who are responsible for managing and developing people.
I hope the above guide will be helpful, if you wish to discuss your team’s current situation or a specific individual’s development, please do get in touch.