A few tips for helping your team work remotely.
- Communicate with your team more often
When your team is working from home, you cannot just stop by their desk for a quick chat. Find a way to either message or talk to them. It can be anything, how are they doing, is there a task that has stumped them, how is their family?
- Do not focus meetings entirely on work
Let meetings wander a little bit. A little bit, not a lot. You know they wander when you are in conference room, so let people talk and communicate before trying to focus in on the topic. Remember, they are a team so do not discourage them from being a team just because they are not in the same physical space.
- Give them time to adjust
Do not expect everyone to be experts at remote work from day one. It takes time to learn how to blend work and home. It also feels like you are vacation at the beginning, but eventually you realize that work still must get done and you figure it out. Many people will not have a separate room they can use as an office. It also takes time to teach your kids/pets/spouses to stay out of your video conferences. Dogs will bark, kids will cry, cats will walk in front of the camera.
- Make sure that IT has the resources they need to support all the new remote workers
If people cannot access the software or the network, it is obvious that they will not be able to work remote. You might have to purchase more remote access licenses or VPN licenses to let everyone get to their work. You might need more servers if you are hosting everything in house. The demand on IT will be higher than normal as many people will be using their own computers causing challenges for the IT team.
- Listen to your remote workers to improve their ability to accomplish their tasks
Believe it or not, your team will have good ideas about how they can be successful working away from the office. Listen to their ideas and allow the team to discuss them. Make sure that they are part of the process. Remember, they are called teams for a reason.
- Realize that remote work is going to be more common
Whatever it takes you to get there, you need to realize that remote work is going to increase instead of decrease. Having people show up at an office every day just so you can see them will be more difficult.