Avoid Micromanaging while Leading a Remote Team
Because of the coronavirus, many bosses prescribe their home office for themselves and their employees. But how do you avoid Micromanaging leading a remote team from afar?
1. Leadership should be your top priority
- The most valuable experience in recent years: Anyone who leads from a distance must see leadership as their most important task.
- Because if you work alone in the home office, you have to do the work itself. After all, there is no lunch break and no-frills in the tea kitchen.
- Even if your employees now only work in the home office for a limited time, I recommend that you regularly call individual colleagues and ask how things are going.
2. Believe it works
- Many managers believe that they have to be there themselves. And there are good reasons for this: You can no longer see who is working and how, how the mood in the team is.
- Who is currently in a lousy mood walking across the hall. Meetings also become more difficult if you cannot work with post-its and flipcharts and can only see the facial expression of others via a video image.
- And yet I know from my own experience: it works. You can work together, creatively. Despite the distance, you can talk carefully.
- You can build a feeling of togetherness. If you have a good base with your employees, you can even have difficult conversations on the phone.
3. Provide clear structures
- Of course, it is also essential in teams that work together on site that it is clear who has to do what and by when. Who decides what. Who is responsible for what.
- But if you can’t even quickly shout something between yourself, reliable agreements and clear responsibilities become even more critical. Because when in doubt you don’t even notice that work has left behind.
- Two tools help us in everyday life: First, we have a document in which our topic planning note and who does which service in which week.
- On the other hand, we work with Microsoft To-Do. Here everyone has a precise overview of what they have to do and when.
4. Help your employees with self-management
- Not every good employee is good at working from home. On the one hand, there are the burn-out candidates: they go full throttle, take the break at noon, work like a machine from morning to night from the to-do list and forget about themselves.
- After all, there are an incredible number of distractions lurking in the home office: the fridge, the dirty laundry, the courier who at some point realized that the woman on the second floor is always at home.
5. Set up a virtual office
- Anyone who works in the home office quickly feels alone and cut off from communication. Therefore, in my eyes, every remote team needs a team chat.
- Even if your team only works at a distance for a minimal time, it can be worthwhile to introduce a chat program.
- At impulse, we work with the open-source solution Rocket: Chat. The most popular chat programs are Skype and Slack. At least in the basic version, the plans are free.
6. Allow your employees to have chat breaks
- Chat is both a curse and a blessing. Because when a message keeps popping up, the concentration suffers.
- It is, therefore, essential to me that nobody is obliged to be permanently available via the chat. If you want to concentrate on your work for an hour or two, log off briefly – you can still call him in emergencies.
7. Create clear rules
- How quickly should colleagues respond to a message? Is it okay to go shopping in the afternoon and work longer? Do colleagues who take a break have to sign out? That may sound irrelevant.
- But if such questions aren’t answered, it will lead to an upset in no time. Arrange a home office culture with your team.
8. Obtain the necessary tools
- Admittedly, if you send your team to the home office at short notice because of the coronavirus, you hardly have time to introduce new software and tools at the same time.
- On the other hand, it is also clear that if there is no sensible technology, everyone can work ahead, but no cooperation is possible.
In my opinion, the following tools are indispensable, at least when working from home for a long time:
- a video conference tool
- a messenger
- software for task management
- a VPN access to access the company server
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