Insights

How to Maintain Productive Teams Remotely

When You Didn’t Plan on It
3 . 20 . 2020
Dave Foster

Culture

Y
ou have always done well to manage your team’s workload, resolve challenges and maintain morale. That is, when you were in the office. But now you’re not. Nor are your team members. These are uncharted waters for everyone and that may be causing as much angst as disruption to productivity. Here are four tips to help you navigate business operations in the remote world.
1. Set expectations — and the tone — right out of the gate.

It’s important to communicate the company’s intentions and infrastructure as soon as possible: expectations on work hours, progress reports, login credentials to online work systems, access to phone and video conferencing tools, for example. Equally important, it’s the perfect opportunity for leadership to set the tone around the change in venue. It’s business as usual, or rather, a wee bit unusual. The company is committed to maintaining its momentum. It’s invested in its employees. And perhaps most important, it’s temporary.

2. Connect and communicate frequently.

Ongoing communication is the most critical component to maintaining project timelines and costs, to say nothing of reducing feelings of isolation. When it comes to connecting with employees, more is better. In addition to holding the typical company or team meetings you did before, albeit through new channels, consider beefing up communications. Make a habit of reaching out to individuals or departments. Encourage weekly one-on-one meetings between supervisors and their staffs. While topics should be pragmatic and focused on the work at hand, every conversation should include the question, “How can I help?”

3. Identify personal differences and respect them.

If your employees are anything like ours at AvreaFoster, they are diverse — representing wildly different generations with the perspective, experience and know-how to match. Keep in mind this may create variances in comfort levels around using remote tools or even communications channels. A remote training course may be in order to ensure all employees feel empowered. As generations also listen differently, consider balancing chat screens and emails with good old-fashioned phone calls.

4. Encourage innovation.

Yes, we’ve all heard the proverb, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” Perhaps the company has a challenge to solve, whether it existed before the need to work remotely or is in part because of it. Now is the time to rally all your employees to think like an entrepreneur. It’s also an opportunity to build culture. Create a challenge and a reward for the best idea — and there are no bad ideas! When you look for innovation around every corner, you’re more likely to find it. And when you allow staff to have a voice in the business, you drive a sense of personal investment and loyalty. Who knows what hidden value will be found in the minds of your virtually connected team.

Is your business navigating uncharted waters? If it’s related to brand communications, we’ve been there and are happy to share our perspective. Let’s talk — remotely, of course.

Dave Foster is CEO and co-founder of AvreaFoster.

© 2020 AvreaFoster Inc.

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