Top Tips for Managing Your Team Effectively from Home

Adjusting to working from home can be difficult for anyone, but for managers in particular who are tasked with keeping their teams motivated, engaged and productive, it can be even more of a challenge. While some businesses had already embraced remote working trends, others had yet to put it into practice until now. With the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing guidelines forcing businesses to adapt to working from home, many managers will be facing a steep learning curve when it comes to getting the best out of their teams and looking out for the welfare of their staff. 
So, whether you’re completely new to working from home or well-versed in remote working but looking for some additional advice, here are our top tips for managing your team remotely:
Check-in with your team regularly
Adjusting to working in the home environment can be made easier by keeping in place the same structure your team is used to when they’re working in the office. Hosting regular voice or video calls with your team, or checking in with them via messenger apps is a great way to ensure the team is working collaboratively as if you were in the office. It will also help you to communicate priorities with each team member.
Give your team a platform to be heard
It’s easy to forget the listening aspect of management when you’re trying to make sure your team is working productively from home. It’s important to ensure each team member knows you are available and they can communicate with you if they have concerns.
Lead by example
There will be many distractions when working from home, but in most cases, businesses expect workers to work the same hours they would in the office. It’s important to lead by example, demonstrating to your team that you are working your allotted hours and checking in regularly with the team throughout the day. Being seen to be responding to emails and present throughout the day will help the team remember their obligation to remain focused and engaged on work. 
Outline which communications channels the team should be using
There’s a wide range of communications platforms that help to keep teams connected, from phone and email to Skype, WhatsApp, Microsoft Teams and beyond. Ensuring each team member is set up on your organisation’s chosen platforms and that they know how to use them will ensure they don’t miss out on important communications and are able to contact other team members whenever necessary. 
It’s also worth laying out a set of rules for how each platform should be used, otherwise yourself and your team can easily become distracted with trying to keep up with various messaging threads across a range of different platforms. For example, your video conferencing platform can be used for daily check-ins and external communications with clients while conversations and updates about ongoing projects should be posted on your team chat platform, allowing the whole team to take part and refer back to any information that’s relevant to their work. 
Encourage social interaction
Just because your team is working remotely, it doesn’t mean the camaraderie has to disappear from their work life. Encouraging social interactions online can help to boost morale and restore the teamwork aspect of working from home. From allocated coffee breaks where teams can chat on webcam, to hosting online games and quizzes, interactions that aren’t necessarily work-related will help you and your team maintain a strong bond while you’re apart. 
These are challenging times but remembering these tips and putting them into practice could help managers who are feeling increased strain keep things running smoothly. If these tips have been useful to you, why not share them with other managers in your business? In times like these, it’s more important than ever to work together.
Article by Pamela Ghosal, General Manager Marketing Communications EMEA, OKI Europe Ltd.
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