During self-isolation, all companies were forced to transfer most of their employees to remote work. In the future, this may become a normal procedure, therefore, in order to effectively manage a business remotely, it is better to think through the entire management process in advance.
How to become an effective leader when transferring employees to a remote location
Tip 1. Unite top managers in the “operational headquarters”
Remote work has its own specifics. First of all, employees need to be taught how to organize an office at home, how to work with programs and services for video conferencing, and create a technological infrastructure. To resolve such issues, it is necessary to create a headquarters, which will include responsible specialists and top management.
It is very important to provide employees with conditions that allow them to work effectively during a crisis. This can be expressed, for example, in the form of support for the care of disabled relatives and young children.
The organization’s post-lockdown travel policy, hours of operation, vacations, should also be reviewed by a special headquarters.
Tip 2. Abandon the hierarchy
It’s time to learn how to work in a “flexible” team and trust your own team. Don’t try to control everything. With a remote format of work, this will still not work. It is better to give employees the opportunity to make independent decisions and work with clients in the way that seems to them the most effective.
Right now is not the right time to distance yourself. It is necessary to avoid excessive formality in communication, discussing emerging problems in a corporate chat or one-on-one with an employee.
Tip 3. Remember that unity and common goals come first
During a crisis, everyone needs support. When a company holds on to its values and is guided by them in every action, then the climate in the team feels healthier. It is very important for people to know that they all follow a common goal, that their work will be noticed and appreciated. Emotional support from management is of great importance. In a conversation with the team, the leader should avoid formal expressions, but give preference to those words that can inspire employees.
Tip 4. Tell about the real situation without numbers and diagrams
A huge amount of data has already been collected about what is happening in the world, many forecasts have been made. The ever-changing numbers are hard to figure out. To look like an experienced and confident leader, you do not need to arrange daily meetings or torment the team with an abundance of new directives and reports.
It is better to talk about how other employees and companies are coping with the situation, to replace dry numbers with real stories. To analyze together with employees successful examples of businesses that managed to go online without losing customers and profits.
Tip 5. Get your priorities right
When employees are in a state of uncertainty and worry about their income and job availability, it is very important to prioritize tasks. All resources should be directed to ensure that the company can get out of the crisis and stay afloat.
So, it is necessary to determine in which direction to develop, and what to suspend. This is where elaboration of possible scenarios and reassessment of resources will help. To achieve the goals set, it will be necessary to re-form the working groups, which will be based not on the staffing table, but on the capabilities and skills of employees.
At the same time, it is very important to tell employees that stopping a number of processes is temporary and is needed only for the well-being of the company and their own in the future.
Tip 6. Develop empathy as an important professional quality
When the company sets priority areas for work, the attention of employees will be directed entirely to those leaders who will lead them. It is very important to appoint top managers who are respected in the team to leadership positions. They should not only have the necessary professional qualities, but also communicate more often with employees, care for their well-being and show empathy.
In difficult times, management should learn to be more humane, be able to switch attention from numerical indicators to real people with their fears and problems. It is not at all difficult to start a video conference with employees with informal communication, to discuss the situation with calmness and participation. Conditions have changed, so there is no need to try to achieve the impossible by transferring strict office discipline into a home environment.
Tip 7. Always keep feedback possible
Don’t bring more uncertainty into a complex situation. The leader must always stay in touch and give an answer to any question of his employees, especially during a pandemic or at the peak of the economic crisis, when people have little confidence in the future. Even if there is nothing to answer at the moment, you can promise to look into it later.
Tip 8. Don’t let the crisis win
The solution of everyday tasks should not interfere with global planning and elaboration of the main directions of the company’s development in the future. The pandemic will end someday and we need to prepare for that too. Setting aside a couple of hours a day for planning will not slow down the work process, but will allow you to escape from the routine and inspire the team.
Tip 9: Establish a culture of remote work
Perhaps in the future it will be necessary to transfer employees to a remote location more than once. Therefore, the company must prepare now to make this transition quickly, clearly and without losses. It is necessary to analyze how effective remote work was during the period of self-isolation, which turned out to be difficult and problematic. In the future, it is necessary to plan trainings for management on managing employees remotely, invest in creating teams that will be able to quickly switch to remote work.