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Managing remote teams to success

by Sellick Partnership | 14 April 2020

Keeping motived while working from home is important, and managers need to put extra care into the way they interact and work with teams to ensure morale stays high and productivity doesn’t dip. This is especially important now, but learning to manage remote teams successfully will also be hugely advantageous as we move towards a much more flexible way of working. 

But what can managers do to keep teams motivated? I’ve been speaking to managers across my client base and have come up with the best tips from them and my team.

Show your staff that you care

Each employee will have their own unique situation. Adapting your management style and communication to individuals in your team is therefore crucial. You might want to schedule more regular catch ups with staff that live alone or are likely to have very little social contact with other people. Use this time to talk about stuff other than work and show your staff that you are genuinely interested in keeping them company even if it is just for ten minutes each day.

Whereas a colleague who has a young family and is struggling to balance the work/family balance might need more flexible working and help creating an effective schedule, rather than regular catch ups. For example, children are generally more productive in the morning whilst they go through their school homework but come the afternoon they can be far more distracting, so helping staff to manage their workloads around this would be a massive help.

Understanding each of your employees needs and working together with them to tackle this can go a long way and will greatly help in keeping people motivated and productive.

Stay connected and communicate

Set up regular video calls to help your remote workforce feel included. Take Sellick Partnership for example. We have a call first thing in the morning, after lunch and at the end of the day which really helps us keep a sense that we are all in this together and allows us to interact like we are still in the office. If you are doing this, it is important to keep the calls light hearted and try to focus on positives to keep morale high.

Encourage people to get out at lunch

Staying active is proven to have positive benefits for our mental health so you should urge your team to get out and about where possible (whilst sticking to the governments social distancing guidelines of course). With limited chance to go outside and exercise, it’s more important than ever to encourage physical exercise to stay fit and healthy. You could even consider giving your staff a little bit extra time at lunch and suggest things they can be doing away from their desk to ensure everyone is able to spend some time relaxing during the day.

Use the technology that is available to you

We mentioned earlier that regular interaction via videos conferencing can make a successful team, but you can’t communicate effectively with employees who aren’t connected. You should therefore treat technology as your best friend during this time and use software such as Zoom or Google Hangouts to stay in touch. It is also important to ensure your team has the right tools for the job, including internet access and potentially a company phone and/or laptop.

Remember, there is nothing more frustrating for an employee than working from home but being unable to do their job properly because of their slow internet, or poor equipment, so get this sorted ASAP.

Keep hosting team social events

People love going to work for the people they get to socialise with, and unfortunately for the foreseeable future, a drink after work or a quiz on a Tuesday evening at your favourite pub won’t be possible. So why not try something new? Finish early one day and do a group video call with a glass of your favourite red or do a virtual quiz to keep spirits high. Keeping things as normal as possible will really help keep motivation up! 

Offer incentives

Distractions working from home will be inevitable but offering small incentives to individuals can keep up the productivity. Why not hold some internal competitions with some small prizes on offer? Little things like this will go a long way while people are working from home.

Encourage a growth mind-set

All teams need to be challenged, and this is especially true now we are all working from home. A good way of motivating remote teams is to concentrate on personal improvement and performance and goals. Focusing solely on KPIs and hitting targets won’t work. Focus on managing your team, and helping them grow during this time, setting realistic goals that will help them develop professionally and personally. Encourage your staff to step outside of their comfort zone, embrace failure and turn it into a positive and go the extra mile to learn something new. This way, when they get back to the office, they will likely have a new-found respect for you as a manager and be a more development employee overall. 

Celebrate when you can!

Whether it’s a birthday, the end of a successful day or an achievement with the team, it is important to celebrate milestones and share them with the team. When the team, or individuals within it, achieve milestones make sure you give credit where it is due. It can be a great starting point for building staff satisfaction.

If you are still unsure on how to keep motivation high when working from home, check our more tips here.