If a large percentage of your corporate employees will continue to work from home indefinitely, it may be time to turn your attention to helping managers adjust to the the new normal of managing remote teams.
In Tribe’s series of surveys on remote work due to Covid-19, respondents from large companies across the US reported concerns with burnout, work-life balance and the extra strain on employees who were also caregivers at home. To keep your employees engaged while they’re working from home, help your managers adjust to the different needs of a remote team.
Here are five reminders for managers:
1. Give frequent and spontaneous recognition
When the whole team is in the office, random praise and recognition is more likely to happen throughout the day or week. Remind managers that they can and should do the same now. If they would ordinarily offer a “Nice job!” or a high five in person, they might want to make a point of doing that in video calls or emails now. (For more on remote recognition, try this article from Gallup.)
2. Make time for collaboration
It can be harder to collaborate when employees aren’t sitting in the same room, but it can still happen. Encourage managers to spend time in meetings working together as a group to solve a challenge, instead of having one person go off to work on it on their own. When someone tosses out a random thought during a video call, managers can seize that as an opportunity to keep the ball rolling and involve other team members in expanding on or developing that idea.
3. Make meetings a little less efficient
This may seem counterintuitive, but when managing remote teams, there can be benefits to not clipping right through each item on the agenda. When we meet in person, there tends to be a little more time allotted for friendly batter and personal chit chat. A few minutes of camaraderie and laughter on a video call can change the tone of the day for employees and help them feel more connected to the team.
4. Celebrate the distractions
In Tribe’s national survey of corporate employees working from home due to the pandemic, respondents mentioned the humanizing aspects of video calls being interrupted by kids, spouses and dogs. Instead of just tolerating that, encourage managers to welcome these opportunities for team members to connect with each other over our shared humanity — and the ones we share our homes with.
5. Set an example for work-life balance
Even if the company and its managers are encouraging employees to set limits on their workdays and step away from the computer, nothing communicates that better than a manager putting it into action. Encourage managers to model better balance with small cues like mentioning that they’re taking a break for a walk outside at lunch or that they’ll be out-of-pocket while they help their kids get going on their next class assignment. (For more on supporting employees’ mental and physical health, try Encouraging Wellness During the Pandemic.)
Interested in more you can do to support managers in leading remote teams? Tribe can help.