Managing a team remotely creates a whole new set of challenges, as countless managers have discovered during the pandemic. The best solutions to this all have one thing in common: They rely on a sense of unity.
Working from home has become the norm. But while some teams have reaped the rewards and aim to continue working this way in the future, others are still struggling.
The specific reasons for this are as varied as the world of work itself. But there is one common factor that determines whether teams love or hate working remotely and that is how their line managers communicate with them. The more often they are in touch with their employees, the smoother the remote working experience is.
Unfortunately, many companies fail at this hurdle. Research has shown that around a third of managers only talk to their employees once a week, some even less frequently. This is a serious mistake, as team members usually communicate less with each other as a result, when in fact we now know that they want exactly the opposite. According to the latest research by Ernst & Young, 90 percent of respondents would like more regular online team meetings.
Even with frequent meetings, many teams lose their enthusiasm for remote working after an initial period of positivity. The lack of a social dimension to many video meetings is most often cited as the reason, with 44 percent viewing this as the biggest disadvantage of working from home, even if the overwhelming majority enjoy the flexibility that remote working offers and would like to see hybrid work models introduced at some point.
Managers can counter the loss of unity that working remotely often entails by creating space for informal interactions in virtual meeting rooms. This interesting video presents some unusual ideas.
There is also the matter of health to consider. A recent report caused a stir by claiming that 60 percent of employees eat more healthily when working from home, but the lack of a commute can also mean they get a lot less exercise. There is also a growing body of evidence that suggests the feeling of having to be reachable at any time is impacting on remote workers’ mental health.
In an online environment, there is even more of an onus on managers to set clear boundaries and act as role models, for example by defining times when no one should be available, regardless of whether they are working from home or not. Or by encouraging employees to move more, especially when working from home. Our video offers a handy tip in this area too.