One crazy outcome of this current craziness is that it has already changed the way people work. Many businesses have moved to work remotely, and bosses and workers are finding it fun, convenient, and productive. And it may even prove a better way to work.
This idea of working remotely is also very new to many bosses and workers, who overnight were leading virtual teams. Both sides of the distance work need some help. Workers hope to stay employed, and bosses need to meet their goals. And this is a new social contract with productivity, a matter of trust at a distance.
Organizations don’t want to fall behind this learning curve when they can kick start their remote teams’ day.
Good Morning, Everyone!
Remote workers are not on an extended vacation. Work must get done, deadlines met, and targets hit. At the same time, they may be dealing with homebound children, pets confused by changed schedules, and partners who don’t know what to do with themselves.
To energize, motivate, and catalyze your employees when you are managing a remote team, you can try these tips to kick start their day:
1. Plan the meeting
This is a virtual morning or mid-morning huddle. Its purpose is to engage and energize your remote teams. It is not a strategy session or performance assessment. Time is valuable, so the manager must plan well.
2. Pick the apples
There is psychological science in “one bad apple spoils the bunch.” Remote team management has certain nuances to it. You will want to select, arrange, and maneuver the parties to the meetings to maximize their participation and cross-functioning. If there are jerks, downers, or crab apples in the team set, you need to correct their action, reassign them, or find them some other work.
3. Tighten the tech
Quality meetings depend on quality technology. If broadcasting and reception are not perfect, remote meetings implode. Not only does your job description include remote team management, but you must also use the best tech available and confirm all users know how to connect. It’s a disservice to all if time is wasted streaming live.
4. Break the ice
Employees are looking for leadership. They are quick to pick up on your mood and body language, so when managing virtual teams, start with something fun. There are enough meeting icebreakers online, but one leader I know starts with funny viral videos. You can avoid the cat videos and opt for those showing people dealing with quarantine, homeschooling, and under orders to stay in place.
5. Manage the time
Most communication on tasks and projects can use email, texts, or phone. When leading remote teams, you should keep huddles short and stick to an agenda posted earlier. Fully half the time should deal with personal touches. One manager selects a member to share something that’s working especially well for them.
6. Channel the flow
Teams and their leaders should collaborate on best times and reasonable expectations. Some individual and team tensions will rise and fall, but when you are leading a remote team, you must mentor, measure, and communicate the work’s progress.
7. Tell the story
Some time should focus on the organization’s progress against adversity, what they are missing, and how business performance affects the remote workers. There is no one-size-fits-all playbook on how to manage a remote team. Meeting members seek your comforting empathy and connectedness.
8. Stick the landing
One of the most important parts of leading virtual teams. These early morning huddles will tie people and pursuits together. You can still hold meatier meetings during the day or the week with individuals or teams. Virtual huddles should wrap up in 45 minutes with clear instructions on schedule and expectations for the next huddle.
When it comes to remote team management, the key is to have some fun!
Managers can deal with individual and team tasks and performance in one-on-one calls or other online meetings. But remote workers miss the water cooler and coffee conversation. Best practices see managers leading from afar with humor, consistency, and clarity. Technology has shortened the distance allowing you to kick start your remote teams with attention to their needs, respect for their achievement, and guidance on the evolving nature of work.
If you can kick start their day with an energy-charged virtual huddle, you can keep remote workers emotionally connected with the organization’s core.
One of the Top 100 Coaches, and Founder and CEO of Best Practice Institute, partner to Newsweek on America’s Most Loved Workplaces, and the author of more than 10 books on best practices in leadership and management, including Change Champion’s Field Guide, In Great Company, and Best Practices in Talent Management. Thought leaders and executives voted him as one of Global Gurus Top 10 Organizational Culture thinkers worldwide.