For more than a year now, companies have been experimenting with teleworking.
Managers have had to adapt quickly to this new means of working remotely. In fact, the approach when managing a team where all of its members are in their own homes is not the same as the approach to managing a team that is present in the room. This new means of organisation is born of a new means of management: remote management.
Remote management means managing a team that is working remotely, from a location other than the company offices. Within this organisational structure, one element is crucial to the proper function of the team and to maintaining a high level of performance: communication.
Why is communication important in remote management?
Broadcasting the correct information
With the members of the team far apart, they must all have the same information at the same time, and must have in mind the objectives and key points for the particular period of time. The information must be sufficiently clear so that your employees can progress with their work without any problems and also avoid confusion, misunderstanding, and the associated consequences. This will also avoid certain individuals feeling cut off from the rest of the team.
Maintaining connection when working remotely
High-quality, regular communication between the members of your team will allow you to maintain the links that unite you. It is essential that your employees feel that they belong to a group, and to a company. This will avoid your talents leaving you along the way. With regard to the arrival of new employees, it is important that you put in place a remote onboarding strategy, right from the outset
Picking up on distress
Good communication will allow you to identify fragile members of your team as quickly as possible. That’s right, not everyone is made for remote working, and some people will require additional support in order to stay on course. The wellbeing of your employees is vital to the proper function of your team, and also of the company as a whole.
How to set up good communication?
Use appropriate communication tools
There exist various tools for working collaboratively and communicating easily. To name but a few: Slack, Microsoft Teams, Trello, Google Drive, Zoom. These tools will allow you, for example, to create group calendars, shared documents, group communication channels, and to launch video conferencing meetings. It’s up to you to find which ones suit your team best.
In order to be effective, avoid duplicating communication methods and make sure that the entire team is using the same tools. It is also essential that you support and train your employees on the use of these new tools.
Implement a new routine
Establish new habits that will facilitate good communication:
- Weekly, or even daily video conferencing meetings can help you to remain on the same track.
- A summary email at the start or end of the week to send to your team.
- Communication channels dedicated to different groups, or to specific subjects, will avoid information from getting lost.
- Individual points will allow you to make progress on highly specific subjects, but also to address each individual’s difficulties.
- Short, entertaining distractions and relaxation times are recommended in order to maintain team spirit: video conferencing “coffee break”, blind tests…
Ask for feedback from the teams
Communication must go both ways. Initiate discussion times during which your employees can provide feedback on what is and is not working with regard to the current method of organisation. Try to reflect and find solutions together. Involving your team in the decision-making process will result in changes and new additions being more readily accepted.
Show yourself to be available and accessible to your employees, and that way they will not hesitate to come and see you in the event of a problem.
Be careful not to fall into the traps of remote management
Do not monitor their every action
When managing remotely, it can quickly become tempting to continually check in on what our employees are up to. Sending check-in messages, requesting validations, calling every day to find out what has been done, or even checking that they have successfully logged in and asking for accounts are not an ideal approach.
Implement an environment of trust and allow your employees to work.
Do not interfere with their personal lives
Remote working can, for some people, blur the boundaries between professional and personal life – you should therefore avoid crossing this boundary. Implement rules, for example that you cannot send messages before 9 a.m. or after 6 p.m. Ask teams not to log in over the weekend or during their leave. Allow teams time for breaks during the day, even if they are at home. Guaranteeing a good life balance will ensure that teleworking is a positive experience for your employees.
Establish limits in order to protect your employees’ personal lives.