When it comes to leading teams remotely, we can all agree that workflow, meetings, and day-to-day tasks change quickly. Since most of us will be using this model for the foreseeable future, we wanted to give you a brief overview and a few tips of some things you could implement within your team to make the most out of your time that you are working remotely:
We encourage you to keep your meeting schedule as consistent as possible. If anything, we encourage you to consider adding in more meetings than you had when everyone was in the office together. Because things change so rapidly with COVID-19, your team needs to meet both frequently and consistently to stay up-to-date.
Here are a few types of meetings to consider implementing for your team throughout the week:
Daily Authority Some members of your team may find a daily touchpoint with their direct report or team members beneficial. While you may not individually schedule these meetings, be sure that your team knows that they have the authority to connect with people when needed.
Weekly Leads Meeting Having a weekly touchpoint with your core team will bring clarity, direction, and vision for the upcoming week. When preparing for these meetings, we encourage you to have an agenda ready that everyone can see during the meeting (we suggest Google Docs) that is updated in real-time so action items can be noted and discussed.
Weekly Team Meeting Similar to the Weekly Leads Meeting, this meeting is designed for your core team to have a touchpoint with their teams once a week. Have an agenda (you can find an example here), leave time for questions, and be sure to celebrate wins!
Monthly Q&A for Team We encourage you to set up a Zoom Call with your entire team once a month that is specifically designated to answering any questions they may have. This meeting can last for as short or long as you want, but the sole purpose is to give your team space to ask questions and receive clarity.
In times like these, communication is key! Be sure to clearly communicate team expectations when it comes to communicating with each other both during and outside of “office hours.” We encourage you to consider the following:
Set appropriate office hours. One of the greatest benefits of working from home is that each team member can find a workflow that works best for them. However, to bring consistency to team communication, we encourage you to set “office hours” for your team, meaning that during the time you set (i.e., 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.), everyone is available for calls, questions, etc.
Determine appropriate channels of communication. Luckily, there are thousands of communication platforms available to us today. However, when it comes to workplace communication, consider finding a handful of communication tools that your team will use to communicate. There are many platforms available, from free platforms like email and text messaging to paid platforms like Slack and Planning Center.
With all the fluidity that comes with working remotely, there must be some form of accountability with your team during this time. This can look many ways, but what’s most important is that, as the leader, you are clearly communicating the win for the week. People cannot be responsible for what they don’t know. If you, as the leader, make clear expectations and clear goals, then it is easier to hold your team accountable for meeting those expectations and goals.
Another way we can hold our teams accountable is by helping them establish boundaries for working from home. Here are a few tips you could share with your team so that work doesn’t take over their home life, or vice versa:
Have a dedicated “office” space. If possible, encourage your team to find a space to work that is separate from where they sleep, relax, or spend time with family. Having a specific workplace will help them stay focused when it’s time to work but will also give them a change of scenery when it’s time to close office for the day.
Close your laptop when you’re not working. If you shouldn’t be working, don’t be. We understand that everyone is working crazy hours right now, but when it’s time for your team to spend time with their families, encourage them to close their laptops and be 100% available for the people who need them most.
Have consistent morning start-up/afternoon shut-down habits. Encourage your team to find habits that work best for them to get their day started and also to close out their day. These habits (i.e., exercising, doing chores, eating, etc.) will help them transition from “home mode” to “work mode” and vice versa.
It’s easy to take up a different mindset when you’re out of the office. However, to guard against this, we encourage you to find ways to both create and celebrate your team’s culture remotely. Here are a few ways you could do this:
Commend people for exemplifying core values. For example, one of Highlands’ core values is “pursue excellence.” If a Highlands leader noticed that an employee was always dressed in business casual attire when they meet virtually, they could commend them for continuing to pursue excellence in the way they dress even while they’re working from home!
Celebrate people publicly. If someone does a good job, don’t just tell that person - tell the entire team! Celebrating people publicly and frequently will give your team motivation and drive to keep going during this trying season.
Find ways to reward people. It may not look like the normal way you’d reward a team member for going above and beyond, but there are plenty of ways you can bless people on your team during this time. For example, you could send them a virtual gift card to Amazon or Target, or you could mail them a handwritten note. The ways to reward are endless!
While we are all figuring out leading teams remotely together, we hope that these tips will help you as you continue to love and lead your team through COVID-19.
For more information on leading teams remotely, check out this webinar for some tips and recommendations from Airship, a company in Birmingham, Alabama, that works remotely.
If you’re looking for more information on leading and communicating with teams, we also encourage you to check out the following resources from Pastor Denny Hodges on Grow Online!