As we settle into our third week of lockdown here in the UK, many businesses and employees alike are beginning to settle into their newfound ways of working. Virtual technology has enabled remote working to become an integral part of ensuring companies can continue business as usual with software such as Microsoft Teams & Zoom allowing teams to continue communicating and working together. However, many remote workers will be finding times challenging, as they adapt to working in circumstances unfamiliar to them. It is therefore important that managers and leaders understand how to support remote workers during these times and maintain productivity and strong mental well-being. 

Here are 3 takeaways I have taken away from this article on managing remote workers:

1. Individualize

Some remote workers will thrive in their new environment, whilst some will feel isolated and alone. Some may prefer working on their own, whilst like many of us at Collingwood, some will prefer to be around others and involved with laughter and banter. It is therefore important to understand that not everyone will work the same way with the exact same preferences. Managers must take into account that other workers may have external factors such as children or a lack of space to work, meaning that the typical 9-5 work day is not feasible in a remote setting. Tailoring the needs of your employees to their work day will allow them to feel cared for as a person and engaged with. 

2. Define Expectations

With communication not as simple as talking from across a desk, it is important for leaders to establish and define clear expectations each day so that the remote team are aware of their responsibilities and what is expected of them. If a leader is not transparent, remote workers may not fully understand what is expected of them. A good way of remaining in communication with a large team of remote workers is to use Microsoft Teams or Zoom where everyone can see and engage with one and other, whilst being able to communicate openly about their day and what they need to do. 

3. Build Trust

Here at Collingwood, trust is a major factor in how well the team operates together. Everyone understands their responsibilities and what they must achieve to help the team. Trust is built through constant communication, knowing that as a leader, you are there to provide for them when they need you. It is hard to be in the line of sight for employees when working remotely, but that does not mean that a quick social call to see how your team is doing is out of the question. Being a point of contact for the team allows them to know who to turn to for advice, enhancing productivity and aiding personal development. Don't think that because you can't physically be in the same room as someone does not mean that you can't speak to them. Being ever present allows the team to know that if they need help, their leader is there for them. 

Once normality has returned, remote working may be something that is more positively considered, meaning that for many managers, it may well become something in their future and being best prepared for the practice allows for a smooth transition.