Remote working - the big sea change

I know you haven't been living under a rock because in some way shape or form you have been affected by the corona outbreak virus. It may be something very personal to you in terms of the health of friends and family and/or suddenly having to work from home.

The sudden shift from office work to full on remote working is a big sea change for everyone. If you've found yourself suddenly in charge of a remote team, the thought of managing the team well during this time can be daunting.

1. Acknowledge how far you've come.

I think it's fair to acknowledge that you have done amazingly well to get to where you are now to enable your businesses to continue in some capacity, so that you can continue to be in business after this is all over.

It's taken real team work to get this far, so acknowledge that and be proud of this achievement.

2. Accept it's not business as usual.

This type of remote working has thrown up all sorts of issues for you, that in all honesty no-body was prepared for. This is not what you'd imagine if someone asked for flexible working.

Accept that while you may be able to have a degree of business continuity, it will not be the same as usual. Your priorities will have shifted, work patterns will be interrupted and you may have to rethink how you measure productivity and outputs in your organisation and/or team.

See this as an opportunity to ask more questions around your current work processes and to think outside of your own box in terms of coming up with new ways of working and business goals.

3. Manage expectations.

We are working in a completely landscape that none of us saw coming. So even

if you are familiar with managing remote workers there will be things that you get wrong. The situation we find ourselves in makes this very different to anything that you may have ever planned for.

The risk of people feeling socially isolated, the impact it could have on people's mental health and well being, as well as general anxiety is high.

Your job is to try and create a great remote team culture that keeps the team bond's together during this time.

As this is new territory for us all, we will make mistakes. But those mistakes can be forgiven if you acknowledge them, learn from them and are acting from a place of authenticity.

4. Embrace trial and error.

We are working in a completely landscape that none of us saw coming. So even

if you are familiar with managing remote workers there will be things that you get wrong. The situation we find ourselves in makes this very different to anything that you may have ever planned for.

The risk of people feeling socially isolated, the impact it could have on people's mental health and well being, as well as general anxiety is high.

Your job is to try and create a great remote team culture that keeps the team bond's together during this time.

As this is new territory for us all, we will make mistakes. But those mistakes can be forgiven if you acknowledge them, learn from them and are acting from a place of authenticity.

  1. Keep communication with and between your team flowing.

The key to making remote working really work is to keep your communication skills up to date and consistent.

How can you do this?

  • Agree on what communication channels you'll use e.g Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts
  • Decide on which tools you'll use for collaborative work e.g Slack, Trello, Asana
  • Make sure everyone knows how to use the tech!
  • Factor in social time in yours and your teams diaries. One downside of remote working is the loss of spontaneous conversations that strengthen social bonds.

You now need to engineer those conversations. Pop some times in the day where you will hop on a call with people just to find out who they are not to talk about work, but just to have a conversation with them and check up on them.

Encourage your team members to keep in touch with each other and have regular conversations. You could do things like hosting regular virtual quizzes and games.

As you can see, these tips are all about embracing the unknown and the uncertainty.

Nobody knows what tomorrow will look like. Nobody knows how long this will go on for. But it's fair to say that the work landscape will have changed by the time people are ready to go back into the workplace.

The success of your team and your team morale depends on you as a team leader. Focus on supporting your team to remain productive, but also remain sane during this time.

For more advice on managing remote teams during Covid you can access this webinar.


Parental Choice would like to thank Michelle Gyimah  for this article.

Michelle Gyimah is the Director of Equality Pays, a gender equality consultancy dedicated to closing workplace pay gaps.

With gender pay gap reporting regulation, possible ethnicity pay gap reporting and a workplace talent shortage looming, redressing inequalities in the workplace is more  important than ever.

Michelle’s unique understanding of employee engagement and workplace challenges enables her to embed practical application into her consultancy.

Michelle is a passionate advocate for enabling women (and men) to progress in their careers in a way that suit their outside of work responsibilities and lifestyle choices. She does this by empowering workplaces to radically rethink how they can support their employees to  thrive at work.

Michelle has over 12 years’ experience of working at the Equality and Human Rights Commission and holds a Masters in Human Rights from The University of Manchester.

Michelle is a regular contributor to numerous national business magazines, international conferences and lives in Manchester, UK.

Website: www.equalitypays.co.uk

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/michellegyimah/


Parental Choice works with businesses to support their employees who have childcare or eldercare responsibilities.  We do this through helping them secure long-term dependable childcare or finding care homes for the elderly, all supported with a programme of wellbeing talks and presentations to provide emotional strategies designed to help with the challenges of juggling a family and a career.

We have a programme of webinars to help businesses support their employees through the coronavirus outbreak, check out our full programme.

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