We’ve all been taken by surprise by speed of events in relation to COVID-19. Here are some pointers to help you lead your team from a distance.
How to Lead People Remotely During COVID-19
Here are some pointers to help you lead your team from a distance during the COVID-19 restrictions. The skills required are the same leadership skills you use every day in the office – but with a difference.
As you streamline your business to essentials activities, many decisions will be made at a senior level. Help people adjust to these changes by explaining the reasons and how the changes impact people’s responsibilities.
Discuss priorities with each person. Listen carefully to their ideas and suggestions. Then agree weekly and daily targets. This will help people stay on track and is particularly useful if people are finding it hard to focus while working at home.
A target combined with a daily check-in gives people a sense of accountability. It can also provide a sense of achievement and productivity as those targets are reached.
Being available by phone and email to discuss questions or concerns is key. Consider using video too for daily check-ins.
Group video calls keep everyone connected and can help keep morale up too. Tools like Microsoft Teams, Skype, Zoom or Whereby are easy to set up and manage. Perhaps someone in your team would take this as a mini project, to get everyone connected.
Use collaborative tools like Microsoft Teams, Trello or Slack to help people update each other on group projects and to track the status of tasks.
Flexibility is key right now. We are all adjusting to these uncertain times and it is important to help your team manage their stress.
Adjust your expectations as you set targets. People can’t be expected to work at the same rate or pace as they did in the office. Some may find they get more work done, as they have fewer distractions. But for most there will be more demands on their time right now, particularly with children off school.
Your people may not be available during usual business hours. Be flexible, allowing them to work at different times, if the demands of your business can support it. Here are some general tips to share with your team on Being Productive Working at Home:
1. Be Flexible
It may not be possible to work traditional 9 to 5 hours. Try working for a few hours early in the morning before the house gets busy or later in the evening. Find the best solution for you, your work colleagues and those at home who need you.
2. Use Time Blocking
This technique increases your ability to focus when you do get time to work. Instead of doing a bit of everything all the time, dedicate each block of time to a specific task. Use a timer to avoid becoming engrossed in one task. Keep moving through your plan.
This technique is maximised by setting clear priorities in advance. Identify tasks you need to get done and tasks that aren’t important. You have less chance of getting sucked into those lower priority things once you have identified them Some people call this a “To Don’t” list.
3. Don’t Over Connect
It has been so important to maintain connection with colleagues and friends during the COVID-19 restrictions. But it is also important to leave time to get your own work done too. It is hard to be productive if the day is broken up by many meetings. Try to group your meetings into either the afternoon or the morning. Don’t accept every invitation if you actually don’t need to attend.
The New Normal
For many companies and leaders, this transition to remote working will be tough. But there may be some insights into new ways of working for your business in the future. Keep an open mind and an open ear during these uncertain times.
Photo: Luke Peters, Unsplash.
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Author: Moira Dunne, Olas Training Associate.