Create Principles Create agreed principles with the team, ensure you have agreement on updates, one to ones, development plans and feedback. Encourage two way conversations and ensure the technology of choice works for each member of your team or department. For instance, video calls with kids at home can be more distracting for both parties and hard to keep track.
Reduce Stress Being and working remotely can cause higher levels of stress, this is typically down to connectivity, technology lags, misunderstood visual queues and video call fatigue which all negatively impact stress levels. Reduce stress by having more phone calls, encourage remote walk and talks (get out of the home or remote office) and ensure what was discussed is centralised and shared.
Be Transparent Make sure everything is as transparent as possible, be visible when you are free, save time each day to allow the team to check in with you and know you will be available. Keep a decision log on your centralised hub, so the team can stay on the same page and the decisions can be shared cross departmentally. Open ownership of the decision hub up to the team or department and encourage everyone to use this as a home and hub and share the responsibility.
Have Fun Create a fun theme, a game of choice or quiz that you all take part in and reward with mini prizes, this builds a team bond and allows you to have a level playing field for all members of the team or department. There is a fine line between fun and forced fun, encouraging a team member to look after will help to reduce the forced fun factor.
Respect Time Time management is essential, constantly being late and moving meetings negatively impacts individuals, it is seen as disrespectful and will impact relationships. Use buffering of 5 minutes for meetings that overflow and definitely keep your 1-2-1’s and team slots starting on time and finish promptly.
Trust Is Everything Trust is always essential, trusting your team and department is vital. If you are newer to remote work, co-create trust principles with the team around updates, how and where you will update each other. If a team member is struggling or not delivering, check in with them and ask what task you can take off their hands. If trust breaks create a framework together to help get back on track.
New Hallway Conversations Create opportunities to have 'hallway conversations', create an open Zoom room aka have an always on live stream or have a room where you all switch on your cameras and have the ability to talk. Have a time where you have coffee breaks and hang as a team. The office environment is not easily replicated but can be created and shared moments are imperative.
Reduce Burn-Out Encourage your team to stick to core working hours, working remotely has seen an increase in the number of working hours. Remind the team that out of hours is out of hours and keep an eye out for this slipping, this is your responsibility as the leader and lead from the front.
Move Away from Chat Tools and Email Chains. Instant messenger chats break concentration and have expectations of instant replies. Reduce down the long and confusing email chains. When remote, constant chat updates break deep work and negatively impacts mood and delivery. Email chains can be hard to follow and confusing between meetings. One principle I know worked from experience was email was only for the most urgent and important updates. We used the centralised project tool to update progress and make requests for materials, insights and updates. Encourage more asynchronous work with dedicated updates through project based tools or look to use shorter more concise updates. This can be an opportunity for leaders to leverage short video recordings with updates and status updates. Or if you and the team prefer, consider using voice notes functionality on your phone or laptop. Share these across to the team at set times. Audio is exploding in popularity, take this as an opportunity to be forward thinking.
Sit Downs Not Stand Ups Consider replacing stand ups with sit downs. Whilst managing teams remotely keeping on top of projects and campaigns can be a full time task, stand ups are common ways to manage updates but sit downs can be more effective. Why? The end of day updates are often more friendly, statically less meetings happen in the evening and sit downs encourage quicker more concise updates as the day is wrapping up. If members of the team cannot attend sit downs, have a dedicated time where they complete a short update for one of the team to read through.
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