By Regi Publico
Work as we know it has transformed drastically in recent years. With the pandemic stretching on, likely, the shift to remote setups and virtual conferences is here to stay for quite a while.
However, the work-from-home (or anywhere) situation has its fair share of advantages and disadvantages.
Sure, it’s nice to work in the comforts of your own home. Aside from no stressful commute going to the office, you also get to spend more time with your loved ones.
But it also gets tiring to work over Zoom while the definite line between work and personal life becomes almost nonexistent. Even with years into these setups, it will still take some time before employees can fully adjust to remote work arrangements.
As businesses explore new ways to rise above these challenges, the responsibility of keeping track of the team falls on the manager’s shoulders. It can be overwhelming—especially with the pressure of sustaining productivity and engagement despite these trying times.
On the brighter side, there are a lot of ways to keep the engine running and build meaningful connections within your team even while working remotely. After all, being a manager is not just about being a leader. It’s also about having the capacity to care for and prioritize employees—from their needs to their well-being.
Here are some tips that can help you handle your remote team—efficiently and productively.
Provide your team with productivity tools.
The first thing that you need to ensure after migrating to a work-from-anywhere setup is that your employees have all the things they need. From internet connection, computers or laptops, to project management applications and communication channels. Your employees must be equipped with the tools they need to perform their jobs proficiently.
By providing them with up-to-date apps and resources, you can keep track of a project’s progress even if you’re miles away from each other. There are also a lot of programs that maximize a team’s productivity through shared calendars which help you stay on the same page as your employees—wherever they are.
Schedule a daily or weekly huddle.
Nowadays, there’s no other way that you can connect with your employees than virtually. Schedule daily check-ins to stay connected with your employees. You can maximize the use of instant messaging apps like Slack to align with everyone on your project agenda and deliverables.
Take it up a notch and get creative with weekly huddles. You can start with games and icebreakers to engage with your team. Sometimes, meetings can be emotionally taxing, so it’s important to bring something new to the table to make it more exciting.
Aside from work huddles, you can also explore non-work-related interactions. Plan a once-a-month virtual lunch get-together or quiz night where employees can earn rewards when they win. These employee perks build a holistic experience within your team which can foster camaraderie and teamwork even virtually.
Acknowledge that your employees have different work environments.
Traditional workplaces mean you get to be in the same open space for a whole day of work. However, things are different with a remote setup. Some may have small children at home while others may live with a larger extended family.
As a manager, you must acknowledge the fact that your employees live under different circumstances. Thus, their home offices are different too.
If you assume that everyone on your team has a separate room for their work setup, you are setting them up to unrealistic standards. Extending empathy towards a colleague is a part of being an efficient manager.
If their job can be communicated without the need for a Zoom call, have their outputs sent via email. Your employees will feel appreciated and empowered to work knowing that you understand their situation—yet you still trust they can deliver.
Recognize hard work and reward your employees.
Recognition and praise are one of the main employee motivators and engagement. Make sure that you are taking time to evaluate the wins of your employees at every end of a project or quarter.
Mark dates like an employee’s work anniversary or special events and milestones. Although celebrating these achievements can be challenging in a remote arrangement, you can still amplify initiatives like these by delivering gifts or giving them special rewards and bonuses to make them feel appreciated.
A simple act of recognition inspires trust and employee loyalty. It also sparks encouragement and participation within the team to strive for more—creating a mutual benefit between the business and the employee.
Final thoughts: Managing employees starts within.
Building a healthy work routine and boundaries for yourself is one of the first steps in managing your employees effectively and with empathy. Remember, you can’t pour from an empty cup.
As a manager, you have the power to motivate your employees and make their work-from-anywhere experience less toxic and more flexible. So, given the right planning and strategies, a hybrid work setup that is beneficial for everyone can be achieved—and it starts with you.
jobsRegi Publico is a full-time writer based in Manila who is also an artist for fun. She takes pride in her towering collection of books and loves reading about anything under the sun.