The drive to recruit top business talent and optimize the performance of individuals and teams has many businesses considering remote work policies for management and their teams.  Circumstances beyond our control, such as the recent coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, can present national and global ramifications that drive businesses to adopt remote work from home policies. Many companies are unprepared to make that transition. Many of us have already done this to a certain extent, whether working from a hotel room while on business, working outside the office while tending to an ill child or dealing with other personal emergencies.  As technology has advanced, many businesses are seeing the benefits of attracting top talent by providing the freedom to perform professionally while maintaining a work-life balance that offers a true employee benefit while not sacrificing business performance.

Effective Remote Team Management

So how does one manage effectively while working remotely?  A few simple steps will allow you to develop the basic structure you need to succeed in efficient remote team management. Making the effort to address your employee or business relationships in the same manner you would if you were in the office will help create continuity that will aid in your effectiveness.  Everyone working from an offsite location can engage in fundamental initiatives to help keep them efficient, and most importantly, effective and professional.  Some examples include:

  • Setting a daily schedule so you can benefit from a normal routine
  • Separate work space from personal space to help keep you focused and engaged
  • Keep your mind fresh by taking breaks.
  • Use the phone or video conferencing for team interaction
  • Dress for success – dress as if you were going to the office to help exude a professional attitude

These simple ideas will help you stay on track with your goals and help you lead your team with confidence.

Remote Networking

Relationship-building and networking are just as critical to effective leadership, whether you work outside the office or at different location than your team members.  Building that rapport fosters team collaboration and trust, while also fighting off a feeling of loneliness or isolation that some outside the office may feel.  Where possible, invite team members or colleagues to take issues off email to a collaborative conversation or consider engaging in a video conference when you have those one-on-one networking opportunities.  Such actions help personalize your conversations.

As many continue remote positions, they may find that efficient use of time gives them more opportunities to invest in themselves through a new hobby or the development of new skills. Online learning opportunities such as Merrimack College’s MS in Management and MS in Accounting programs offer students networking opportunities between their online classmates. Many of these students are working professionals who are experiencing similar types of business issues. This provides a rewarding environment for students to ideate solutions to business-related matters and share best practices.

Whether working through a global pandemic or joining the many companies that are benefitting from remote work policies, there are a host of opportunities to help those who work outside the office become even more productive members of an organization.  Effective remote management can become a “win-win” for everyone.