As the situation with COVID-19 develops, the decision to close schools, pubs, theatres and other public spaces has come into effect. To prevent the virus from spreading further, many companies have also made the choice to let their teams work remotely. For some businesses, this is already the norm, which means a smoother transition period – but for others, a sudden work-from-home policy could prove challenging. In both cases, it’s necessary to support your team – helping to keep them motivated and encouraging productivity, structure and collaboration. But, in the midst of an international pandemic, you have the additional challenge of managing their fears.

Now, more than the ever is a time to step into your role as a mentor and leader and facilitate growth and change in your organisation.

The Benefits of Remote Working

While it’s tempting to embrace the stereotypes, remote workers are not the PJ-wearing,cereal-eating lie-abouts they’re sometimes made out to be. In fact, the statistics show quite the opposite. It turns out, they aren’t checking their emails then hitting the beach but rather outperforming their in-office counterparts.

  • On average team members make 13.5% more calls when working from home.
  • A study by ConnectSolutions found that 77% of employees achieve more in fewer hours working from home, due to the lack of typical office distractions.
  • 82% of those working from home reported lower stress levels.
  • 85% of businesses confirm that productivity has increased in their company because
  • of greater flexibility.
  • 50% of remote employees said working from reduced their sick days.

Taking this into account, how do we maintain this heightened productivity and reduced stress when our teams work remotely – especially over an extended period of time? The answer is five-fold.

1. Staying Connected: It is important for employees to feel like they’re part of a team when working remotely. If you’re a manager or director with a large team, aim to schedule a morning call to understand their plan for the day and what each colleague aims to achieve. For many companies, this morning meeting comes in the form of a “stand up” and helps keep everybody accountable in terms of what they commit to completing. It’s also a good way to pre-empt any challenges for the day and a chance to ask for assistance and see each other’s faces. Beyond this, regularly check in with your team members and encourage the team to stay in contact with one another throughout the day.

2. Set Goals: When your team is working remotely, it is crucial for them to have goals to work towards. At the beginning of each week make any goals and expectations clear to the team and split the responsibilities. Use collaborative online tools such as Trello and Monday.com to set team tasks throughout the week, and review progress on Wednesdays & Fridays, for example.

3. Encourage routine: Did you know that 22% of remote workers struggle to unplug after work? Many find it difficult to settle back into a routine and can feel slightly discombobulated. Encourage employees to wake up at their usual time, have breakfast and get ready for the day, as normal, and remind them how important it is to take breaks. This can help them avoid burnout which is better for everybody involved. Part of encouraging this routine also means encouraging staff members to care for their own wellbeing when they are tempted to work into the night. While it might feel like a loss in the short-term, it will pay off in the long run.

 
4.Exercise: It’s no secret that getting up and getting your body moving throughout the day is good for both your physical and mental health. But, when working remotely, it can be easy to get into the habit of working, eating and sleeping. Why not share a few videos and encourage your team to work out at? Something as simple as a short walk can help them clear their heads and improve their focus.
 
5. Trust them: Creating a culture of trust in your team can help improve the quality of relationships and performance and creates a healthy working dynamic. If you’re not used to working remotely it can be easy to overdo it in order to “prove” yourself and conversely, leaders might start to micro-managing out of concern. But, by setting clear expectations at the beginning of the week and checking inappropriately, You’re giving them the opportunity to take ownership for their work, and consequently, a sense of pride.
 

Positivity is Key

Following these steps will help lead your remote team to success. For managers trying to navigate these challenging times, it is important to continue maintaining a positive working environment and to support employees who might be self-isolating. Keeping tabs on Corona doesn’t mean that everything else must fall by the wayside. Encourage your team to share positive news, articles and even selfies on specified channels to keep morale high!

Key Takeaway

In times of panic, the power of a healthy routine, working towards objectives and a positive working environment will help your business continue to thrive. Effective management will now, more than ever, be based on boosting positivity and bringing a team together in achieving goals and supporting one another. Ensure they feel valued and seen when working remotely, and give them the room to continue doing work they’re proud of.