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The deadline has come and gone and you are still waiting for that report. You created a calendar reminder, set cell phone reminders, wrote it down big and bold for your team… but they still missed it.
Remote work culture is a new thing for many. It’s easy to ensure deadlines are met when you can face a person, but remote work has changed all that.
With just a few simple tricks, you can easily manage a team and your need to run will soon turn into your need to stay put.
I started working remotely before it became the norm
In March 2016 I joined the Briefly News team as its only South Africa-based employee at the time. The job sounded appealing to me because I’d just had a baby and it was a work-from-home position. What better way to make a living and raise a baby, right?
It took some serious adjustments though. It was easy to get distracted at home. So I had to quickly learn how to manage my time effectively, how to communicate effectively and to reach great results.
Within five years, the project grew so much that we now run a team of over 14 people remotely. This experience helped me to stay calm when all the world ran crazy. Now, a year after the beginning of pandemic, I can see why many companies didn’t succeed at remote work.
You’re overstressed and overbearing
Many bosses don’t feel like they have enough control over the situation and it causes anxiety.
I spoke to recruitment agency Michael Page’s Operating Director in South Africa, Paul Newman.
“According to our survey last year, around 63% of South Africa based professionals said their productivity increased while working from home. Remote working also didn’t lead to less motivation, on the contrary, more than 50% of employees in South Africa felt even more motivated,” – Paul said.
The key is to relax, your team deserves a calm and focused leader.
You track the process, not the results
Not only is it very demotivating when you micro-manage your team, but it’s also annoying.
Politico reported how some companies included creepy spy features in the software for remote work. Some of them track not only your presence but even your attention.
At Briefly News, the editorial team has personalised dashboards to track their own results in real-time. Each team member is given measurable and reasonable key performance indicators.
When you know what your boss expects, it’s easier to focus on the results, right?
You still have tons of useless Zoom meetings
Zoom fatigue is real – video calls are draining your energy. Often, we hear baby cries and dogs’ barks. Are you sure no one from your team has installed Zoom Escaper?
Zoom calls become more harmful than useful when you have three or more meetings daily with more than three people.
Always prepare a meeting plan. If you want to discuss something else, check if it’s necessary to do so on a video call.
CNN Business says while Zoom isn’t going anywhere, we don’t have to subscribe to its fatigue.
You don’t remember when you last spoke with your employees one-on-one
When deciding between a group call and personal conversation, always choose the personal route.
At Briefly News, we cultivated a culture of weekly one-on-one calls long before the pandemic. I believe this is the only effective type of virtual meeting. Of course, you should be well prepared, fully present and opened minded.
For example, when a manager recently went on maternity leave, we discussed our options.
I listened to her ideas, we debated them and then came to a conclusion together over who would stand in for her, handle her work and make sure everything runs smoothly.
You count days to return to office
Office work will never feel the same again.
Twitter and Microsoft are looking to make working from home permanent, even after the pandemic. Google is eyeing flexible work weeks and it is not the only organisation to implement this measure in a post-Covid world.
In conclusion, your role as a manager has not become redundant just because you no longer work between four walls. In fact, remote work has opened doors to a whole new experience and way of managing.
Also, stressing over things you cannot physically control won’t help. You have already done the hard work: built a strong, dedicated and reliable team. Now, you need to let them take ownership of their jobs and shine too.