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How to coach your remote team on overcoming challenges

Workplace culture had been the buzzword until the COVID-19 outbreak. Now the internet and social media are flooded with the word ‘remote:’ Remote workforce, remote summer intern, remote working tools, remote online class. The marketing words have been changed, but the actual challenge lies in successfully implementing those words and techniques in our routine. In the business environment, remote working, which had always been spoken of as employees’ distant future, has suddenly become their today due to the widespread pandemic.  

Usually, when new methods are leveraged in a person’s everyday life, he/she takes some time to adapt to the changed lifestyle. In the business sphere, managers are on the frontline in the execution of new strategies that ensure business continuity and enhance employee experience. Managers are the leaders, who drive the company toward growth and innovation. In their journey toward the goal, they too face challenges like everyone else in the company. Yet, a good manager would promote teamwork and development even in the face of a catastrophe. 

Challenges of Remote Working 

In this new age of remote working, managers should comprehend the challenges confronted by the employees and help them to overcome the hardships.  

Lower Productivity Impacts the Growth of an Organization 

The perplexing silence of managers create anxiety in employees’ minds and diminish their morale. Eventually, the insecurity will be reflected in their work, and the productivity of employees will decrease affecting the progress of the company. Employees, to perform better, expect feedback from their superiors. Effective communication, continuous feedback, and 360 degree feedback mechanism can prevent the workforce from feeling depressed and give them a sense of togetherness. Managers can also use the technique to track and monitor the performance of employees and also increase the employee engagement level.  

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Another main reason for decreased productivity is because employees squander time attending many online meetings, which impedes the workflow. By and large, it takes ample time to create the set up that is required for the meeting to take place. It is better to keep meetings short and over phone calls, wherever necessary. 

Loneliness Kills Performance and Injures Development 

How to make employees feel included and connected? This is a question that dangles in managers’ minds. There are many ways to bring them out of their confined space and interact with the team members as they would do in the office. Some of the techniques are as follows. 

  1. Video conference calls to discuss what is happening in your team and how your employees are doing. These calls should happen during leisure hours so that productivity is not affected.  
  2. Virtual coffee breaks to have chitchat and laughter with your teammates. 
  3. Virtual team games to experience fun with your team. It should not be mandatory. Respect your team members’ wants and needs. 
  4. Fun channels for continuous interaction. Post a dumb question to everyone, share your favorite lockdown music, and ask them to suggest a movie.  

Avoid Stress-Causing Actions to Get the Best Out of Employees 

Managers unintentionally create stress for employees through their actions. Managers should utilize this lockdown period to strengthen their leadership skills and guide their teams in the right direction. 

Innovation is the Heart of an Organization; Team Communication is the Brain 

Innovation and team communication; you must emphasize the importance of both to your team members to thrive in the competitive world. It is hard to fuel innovation and maintain uninterrupted team communication during this pandemic situation. But nothing is impossible. Inspiration for innovation comes from contact with the outside world and the colleagues. Plan structured activities and informal conversations with officemates to sustain and encourage innovation. 

Team communication can be maintained through various methods. 

  1. Stand up meetings in the mornings to set clear and defined individual goals for the members.  
  2. Providing a platform for the team to post their availability, priorities, and dependency. 
  3. Reinforcing team guidelines for collaboration and effective communication. 
  4. Delivering 5-minutes pep talk once a week to maintain the enthusiasm of the team. 

Consider the lockdown period as WFH beta-testing. Effective management of remote teams is highly significant not only to sustain this difficult time but also to enable a thriving remote workforce framework for the future of work.  

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