In light of the coronavirus, many firms are temporarily shifting their operations so their team members can work from home. Keeping employees and customers safe has to be the priority, and the only way to accomplish this is to minimize person-to-person contact. Here are some tips for managing a remote team.
Start with Leadership
A lot of work is performed remotely nowadays, but rapidly changing to a remote environment can be a challenging transition that may be confusing to your team. Your employees need strong leadership to make the adjustment as smooth as possible. You want to establish a small team to act as a source of remote leadership. Look into the background of your team members. You need leaders who have experience working remotely and have proven communication and problem-solving skills can have the opportunity to step up in these times.
Your team is going to face some confusion, so clear communication is essential. The first thing you want to do is make a handbook to establish guidelines for the company during this time of remote work. The handbook should also answer the common questions your team will have. Think function not form. The handbook does not need to be long or look great. Simply outlining the rules is a great place to start.
There is a lot of misinformation out there so you need your employees to have a central source they can go to for clear answers and facts. This will also help make sure everyone is on the same page. Next, think about how you want to communicate with your team. Communication needs to be clear and transparent. You have to maintain the trust you’ve already established with your employees. Use video conferencing, email, and other communication tools to keep your employees regularly updated on expectations and the state of the company.
Don’t Overwhelm the Team
We live in a high-tech culture. There are many different tools and resources you can use to facilitate a remote work environment. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you should use all the tools you have available to you. You risk overwhelming your team members, who are likely already stressed. Start with the tools that are most important. For example, you need a centralized chat system the whole firm can use, such as Slack. You also need an easy-to-use video conferencing tool like Zoom. If you have multiple different tools for communicating and conferencing, things will become messy quickly.
COVID-19 has forced many architecture and design firms to switch to a remote environment. Fortunately, many design tasks can be performed virtually. As a leader, your job is to help your employees feel secure during this time of uncertainty. Many have not had to work remotely before, so guide them through the transitions and make sure expectations are clear.
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