These are unprecedented times folks. Every business had to shutter its brick and mortar and move their operations to the internet. If we take a brief moment to consider a positive in this whole situation, we are lucky that something like this happened at a time that the internet is so accessible to so many people.
We are in an age where teleconferencing was already a very popular mode of business and now it is more important than ever! This would have been horrendous if we were even 5 years ago, when Skype and Facetime were just being introduced as a viable means of communication… much less all of the other clients available to most businesses.
Today, we will discuss all of the essential tips for managing your employees while they are working remotely.
Tip #1: DO NOT MICROMANAGE: Just because you aren’t in the same room as the people under you doesn’t mean they need constant check-ins from you via Slack or Google Hangouts. Let them get their work done. When you message them, they have to stop what they are doing, lose their track, just to reply. Trust that your team is doing what they need to, and if they aren’t you’ll notice anyway and then you can have a more serious conversation.
TIp #2: INVEST IN A TELECONFERENCING APP: Yes, you can just use Google Hangouts, or Skype, but that’s just because you’ve never experienced Zoom or UberConference. The former seem like good options until you try the latter. Like a top sirloin tastes great until you’ve had a bacon wrapped Filet Mignon and your life changes forever and you can never go back to discount meat again. Zoom and UberConference offer features that are specific to managing teams and working together.
Tip #3: GET SOME WIFI HOTSPOTS: The most important thing right now is a reliable internet connection for your team. Despite what you may think, not everyone actually has access to reliable internet where they live. Some people live in apartment buildings where the apartment management is in charge of internet, and getting it fixed sometimes is a bureaucratic process that takes months and a few bribes to the right government officials. WiFi hotspots like Solis X are an altogether inexpensive way of getting people a secure connection at a time when internet is everyone’s most prized possession.
Tip #4: KEEP THINGS LIGHT: Whenever I’m on an airplane and there is some turbulence that makes me uncomfortable, I look to the nearest person that looks like they fly a lot, if they looked panicked, then I start saying my final thoughts and prayers, if they look calm, I assume I have nothing to worry about. Keep things light, keep things fun, make meetings a conversation rather than a doldrum of facts and figures. Send an email of a funny meme you saw, spark a conversation via chat about something silly your dog did. It’ll add humanity to our isolation.
Most importantly, you must give everyone time to adjust. You must factor in the idea that not only are people getting used to a new work schedule but they are also managing their own stress and potentially the stress of their parents and friends who are TOTALLY FREAKING OUT RIGHT NOW.
Let this be a time of transition, and join the team in being fallible and human as everyone adjusts to the new normal.