Enhancing Remote Teamwork : 4 Practical Steps for Every Manager

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Quality of relationships declines as remote work increases.

So how maintain rapport, motivation and a common identity when employees cannot meet often physically? How can managers adjust to sustain performance and wellbeing? Especially when more at ease with “managing by walking around”? High intensity telework may represent a steep learning curve for many managers. Luckily, major pitfalls may be avoided provided they are willing to step outside of their comfort zones.

Communicating Virtually

Research established that teleworkers’ satisfaction correlates positively with the support, trust and communication displayed by their manager. What works best? Weekly one-on-one meetings that leave room for unplanned, informal and friendly exchanges. Similarly, relying on “rich” communication mediums, such as videoconferencing, best reproduce live interactions. When discussing work, it is important to clarify priorities and milestones, as well as anticipate possible hurdles. Finally, positive feedback and recognition should also be provided, alongside support when employees are facing difficulties.

Facilitating Collaboration

People may begin feeling isolated over time when working remotely. They might feel passed over for promotions or under-recognized. How can managers mitigate this risk? Firstly, by scheduling time to regroup as a team on a regular basis and actively encouraging each participant to express opinions and raise questions. Secondly, consider also meeting in a more relaxed format just to share personal updates, common interests and celebrate collective accomplishments.

Managers should also help information circulate and promote knowledge sharing. For this reason, relying on virtual collaboration platforms and software is paramount. A good project plan, whether an in-house spreadsheet or a sophisticated IT program, also helps teams coordinate tasks for large and complex projects. If planning and tracking work is important when teams are co-located, they become all the more essential when team members are physically separated.

Managing Expectations

Managers should demonstrate flexibility while establishing important boundaries. As a result, they should align with their remote employees on certain expectations, such as hours of availability. Agreed response times also give employees control over how to best manage their time. Trust is also key to managing remote work. For this reason, remote managers should focus less on how work gets done. Instead, they should monitor whether the work meets quality expectations and is delivered on time. Therefore, employees and managers must agree on clear and time-defined objectives, identify specific tasks and document timelines for reporting. This implies empowering employees, while validated with them how comfortable they feel with this greater autonomy.

Coaching Performance

Managers often find it strenuous to provide specific, timely, and objective feedback. Even when they oversee work conducted at the office. So remote managers have the extra challenge of coaching without directly observing ongoing performance. Hence, they should encourage a frank and transparent discussion in order to best understanding unique challenges, strengths and needs. Managers also earn credibility and appreciation by continuously role-modeling expected behaviors themselves. Finally, it is important to be equally accessible to all employees. Though some may at times require more support.

In conclusion, telemanagers should strive to build stronger relationships with their remote employees. But they must start by relinquishing control and by trusting their team members. And this may need some practice. Full article : Recruiter

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