Managing a team of people is no easy feat, but particularly when they are not all in the same place. Since the pandemic, remote working has become the norm, with many companies now not providing office space for their staff, expecting them to work from home instead.
Not only does this require good quality remote IT services so employees’ internet remains supported throughout the working day, but also excellent management skills.
According to Ali Greene and Tamara Sanderson, who co-wrote Remote Works: Managing for Freedom, Flexibility and Focus, it takes a different kind of manager to cope with a team of remote workers.
They told Forbes one of the most important things managers should do is lead with intentionality.
“Everything needs to be by design. The virtual distance acts as a magnifying glass on how purposeful business decisions and culture are, from big things like how you use the office in your hybrid strategy or your approach to collaboration, down to detailed deliverables and timelines,” they told the publication.
The next thing managers need to do is build trust within their team. Instead of just monitoring employees, bosses need to show they trust their workers to fulfil their tasks without being constantly checked.
Of course, trust needs to exist within an office environment as well, as staff can always be present while not being productive. Just seeing them in the office does not mean they are working any more than those at home.
“Trust needs to exist (remotely or not) to build a high-performing team,” they stated.
Lastly, the experts suggested managers have to respect employees’ autonomy. They need to let workers have control over how they work, as this has been shown to boost productivity and performance quality.
By having autonomy, such as being able to decide where to work, how to prioritise jobs, and how best to use their skills, employees feel more motivated and empowered. Therefore, they are likely to provide more for the business.
One working style that many remote employees might choose to adopt, for instance, is body doubling.
This is the act of using a person, whether they are a friend or a stranger online, to be an accountability partner. Working at the same time, yet in a different space, they encourage each other to stay focused and not get distracted.
It has proved particularly effective for those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), who find it more difficult to stay on task and finish a job.
According to Yahoo! Finance: “Many people with ADHD say body doubling helps them get things done.”
There are even online apps workers can download, which match them with other people virtually to work together.
It is thought that “being with someone else who is working may lead to gentle pressure to remain focused, or because the presence of another person is calming”, the publication stated.
It is not just good managerial skills that are required for successful remote working, but faultless IT services. Using VOIP phones in Essex, for instance, helps employees stay connected, no matter where they are located.