People managers, we’re in uncertain times. And your team is relying on you to take action. As more and more companies choose to have employees work from home, you’re the ones making the rules.
Working from home may be as new to you as the rest of your team, but it’s up to you to take charge. That’s why we’ve put together some best practices taken from seasoned work-from-home and remote vets—so you can get adjusted quickly and help lead your team to success.
What people managers can do:
- Schedule a dry run: If your organization hasn’t decided to go full-on remote yet, schedule a “dry run” for your team. Taking one day to work together will help highlight any kinks in your processes, missing equipment, or any other problem you can fix.
- Set the rules of engagement: Take the lead in determining communication protocols for your team. This means:
- Encourage teammates to say hi in the morning and bye in the evening. You (probably) wouldn’t run out of the office silently…so why do it remotely?
- How frequently you’ll have video calls, and whether or not cameras need to be on
- How to communicate via video chat. While in-person meetings can be very dynamic, on video it’s much harder to understand when multiple people speak at once. We recommend asking teammates to raise their hands or a finger when they want to speak, and to make sure to “pass the mic” when they’re done.
- Emphasize collaboration: Encourage teammates to regularly share work with each other from the beginning stages, the same way they’d tap each other on the shoulder to ask for a quick opinion or brainstorm.
- Maintain team spirit: The remote dynamic is very different from being in the office, especially when your whole team is distributed. Schedule daily standups (or even two, to open and close the day) to keep your team aligned on goals and progress.
- Establish clear objectives: Make deliverables, expectations, and deadlines explicit and actionable. We recommend using project management tools and incorporating subtasks for every step in a project.
- End meetings with action items: Spend the last five minutes of every meeting documenting the next steps, so you have a clear record of what everyone should be expecting. Try to avoid “meeting creep,” and focus instead on diving work into subtasks.
- Be present for your people: It’s critical that your people feel supported by and connected to you. If you aren’t already having weekly 1:1 meetings with your team, this is a great time to start. (Check out our guide to running effective, inspiring 1:1 meetings)
- Make your expectations known: Make sure your team is aligned on communication protocols. Do you expect them to be available on chat platforms all day, or are you okay with occasional check-ins? Do you prefer video calls, chat messages, or emails?
- Set your team up for success: Do all of your people have what they need to work from home? Make sure everyone has a solid internet connection, a laptop (and charger), and a set of headphones. That’s all it takes!
- Stay in touch: Use Bob’s Shoutout feature to share any team-wide announcements, so you know your team won’t miss anything important.
It’s hard to stay positive during a pandemic, but this is a chance to bring your team together. Support each other during this tough transition; make space for people to share their struggles and emotions, and provide as much guidance as you can.