Looking for some guidance during these unprecedented times? Consider the following tips for managing virtual teams.

How to manage a remote team

The coronavirus pandemic has changed life as we know it, especially from a business standpoint. Industries across the globe are learning how to cope with the shock and make the changes that are most appropriate for their business. Specifically, many companies are shifting to remote working environments, in an effort to respect social distancing and curb the potential spread of the virus.

Managing a virtual team may be something you're doing for the first time at this point, and it can seem intimidating at first. Many business owners, project managers and other leaders have never had this responsibility before, according to research by Citrix and OnePoll.

"Remote work is not business as usual," stated Donna Kimmel, Chief People Officer of Citrix, in an announcement about the report. "It represents a totally new way of thinking and operating and can be a difficult adjustment for employees and employers to make."

Looking for some guidance during these unprecedented times? Consider the following tips for managing virtual teams:

Set a precedent for expectations

Strict guidelines can be very helpful for employees who have never worked from home. Set daily expectations for all workers and recommend utilising a planner or task list to help them get through their workday.

Be flexible and supportive during these strange times

Remote work is something that takes getting used to when it's a totally new concept. Flexibility is key as a manager during the initial stages of virtual team management, so be sure to offer support to employees who may show early signs of struggle.

Track productivity

Working from home is a new normal for many, which can make management worry about productivity levels over time. But while the home may seem like a space that's infested with distractions, the Citrix and OnePoll research actually revealed that 80 per cent of respondents feel that they can be just as productive – or perhaps even more productive – while working remotely as long as they have the right tools to keep them on track. Take the opportunity to talk to your employees about how they're feeling about this work environment and if there are any tools or pieces of advice you can share to ensure they remain productive.

Continue to have team meetings and make them more engaging

Now, more than ever, you need to make sure you're making strong connections with all of your team members. If you want to gauge how your employees are feeling on a regular basis, Harvard Business Review recommended scheduling daily check-ins for workers to consult with you and ask questions that may be lingering while they lack regular face-to-face interaction.

The most important aspect of these daily meetings is to ensure they remain engaging. You know your employees more than anyone, so take this into consideration when structuring the check-ins. Will your workers be more vocal in a one-on-one phone call or a team video meeting? Keep this in mind as an effort to foster collaboration and effective communication.

While these tips can certainly be helpful as you manage a remote team for the first time, you may still feel intimidated or unprepared for the task. That's where ICML can help. We provide a learning program, Leading and Managing Virtual Teams, which provides guidance and support in directing a virtual team. Throughout the course, you can gain the skills, knowledge and confidence to properly lead remote workers. You'll create your Remote Ready Leadership Playbook, which consists of specific strategies for managing your remote team and practical steps you can take to ensure your strategy is smooth, seamless and successful.

To learn more about managing a remote team during the pandemic and beyond, contact ICML directly today.


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