How Telecommuting Can Save Your Team: 3 Top Tips to Manage Any Team Remotely
As coronavirus continues to spread across the globe and companies like Twitter tell their employees to work remotely, the managers among us are asking the practical question: How can I manage my team from home?
The last thing employees or managers should be worried about amidst a health crisis, is losing their jobs or being unable to perform their roles.
Fortunately, in the digital era, we have access to software that enables the full range of tasks and communication necessary for a team to function. A digital strategy is essential now more than ever and as a leader, it’s important to know how your team can be managed remotely and still be successful.
We’d like to offer a little background information about telecommuting and 3 important tips for you and your team to be able to work from anywhere and still get the job done.
What is telecommuting?
Telecommuting refers to working outside of an office. It’s often referred to as “work from home” or “working remotely.” Some jobs are designed to be done remotely, while others “make it work” when an employee travels abroad or is unable to come to the office for an extended period of time. Instead of traveling from home to the office, an employee “telecommutes” through technology. In simpler times this might have meant via telephone or email, but now it means that all work processes have a digital equivalent.
Like all of us currently worrying about how the spread of the coronavirus might affect our lives, you can at least rest assured that the technological “options” for business processes are in fact oftentimes more efficient than the traditional methods.
The level of effectiveness has everything to do with which software is being used for said task, and also how efficiently team-members adopt the software. Software adoption, also known as digital adoption, is how seamlessly a user utilizes the software’s capabilities. Digital adoption solutions are available to help bridge the gap between users and the technology itself.
1. Maximize your meetings
Coronavirus and other emergencies are not the only reason to consider telecommuting or at least having efficient telecommunication capabilities for your team. Meetings for example, which demand the time and physical presence of multiple people, are often draining for teams. If someone is running late, or the reserved conference room is double-booked, it means an often frustrating amount of wasted time and energy.
Meetings can have many pitfalls, like an unclear agenda, irrelevant people attending, and disorganization throughout the meeting itself. The overall takeaways are often vague, and attendees can feel like it was a complete waste of their time.
In general, telecommuting forces you to really assess the necessity of the meeting being called. Is it possible to write an email to your team members instead? Is there a way to clarify meeting goals in advance to make sure that the time is well-spent?
Conference call meetings are an excellent alternative to in-person meetings and often allow for more efficiency and overall productivity. Software tools like Zoom allow you to create a virtual meeting and invite as many people to join as you want. Users can choose options like screen-sharing, microphone muting, and can choose whether they’d like to have their camera on or off.
A digitally-enabled team can transform traditional meetings into more efficient and faster virtual meetings instead.
Another great tool for getting the most out of your meetings is Gong.io. This tool records, categorizes, and analyzes all calls, allowing for replays of conversations, decreasing the need for follow up meetings and communication. Calls are indexed, organized, and customized for easy access. Multiple apps can be used in unison to exponentially improve employee performance and team efficiency as a unit.
Digital Adoption Platforms offer automation options that allow for multi-app processes allowing users to just focus on their task at hand, and not how to use the necessary apps.
2. Make the work transparent
If your team isn’t sitting next to you, you can’t just yell, “Hey Josh, can you send me that PDF you were telling me about?” You want to create as much transparency as possible when it comes to tasks that need to be completed. If your whole team can see the big picture of the present and future tasks, then you can delegate less, and empower your team members to work more independently.
The best way to make information more transparent and accessible is to utilize methods for group viewing and engagement for various tasks.
This might mean having a Google Drive for your team in which all documents, spreadsheets, and calendars are accessible. Instead of notifying each team member of each upcoming task or event, your team will all have access to the information and be updated in real-time. Monday.com is another excellent tool for remote project management. The view options, email alerts, and status updates make it an extremely efficient way to manage a team no matter where they are.
Knowledge is power
So how can you as the manager gauge how efficient your workflow is when your team is remote? This is where a digital adoption platform (DAP) can provide valuable insights to understand where in the process (and in the software) your team members are succeeding, and where they are getting stuck.
No one likes a micromanager. Feeling disconnected from your team members could lead to wanting to be more in control of what they’re doing, triggering an unhealthy and unsustainable dynamic of micromanaging. WalkMe Insights provides analytics to give you a full view of the work being done, and therefore more confidence in your team’s progress.
3. Process, process, process
Managing any team can be tough, but a remote team can be especially difficult to keep track of if you don’t have very clear and consistent processes in place. Create the best practices for your team, and spare no details.
The clearer it is to your team members what to do, the less they will need to contact you, attempt to do something and later realize it wasn’t correct, or feel overwhelmed by their tasks and work inefficiently. This is particularly true during times of organizational change.
How can you make sure team processes are solidified and used?
- Ask your team to contribute to your “code of conduct” so that everyone feels valued and represented.
- Delegate process codification to the team member responsible for the task. Ask them to carefully write down the steps of a task from beginning to end and then share the document with the team. Make sure you have a universally-known folder or doc for your processes.
- Encourage process compliance with open praise or other incentives. Discourage not complying with the recorded processes by repeating the request respectfully but consistently.
- Lead by example. Be absolutely passionate and consistent about following processes yourself.
- Keep it as simple as possible. Creating processes can really help separate the necessary steps from the superfluous ones.
- Enable your processes with the best resources (software and digital adoption tools) possible.
Even with your employees meticulously recording and following written protocol, it is impossible to remotely train people using the traditional methods.
In-app guidance offered in a digital adoption platform is an extremely effective way to help employees navigate their software, complete processes, and fully adopt the tools they are using. Instead of needing to ask colleagues for help, or worse, open a support ticket and wait, they can get guidance on the spot. Walgreens employees saw a 50% reduction in support tickets when they implemented WalkMe’s digital adoption platform.
This solution also allows you to continue to add new software (or implement upgrades to your existing software) without fear of how it will impede the workflow of your team. Regardless of how you enforce your process plan, make sure your team is on board and really feels like you have their back.
Telecommuting can make work more efficient
The outbreak of Coronavirus is scary for many real reasons. During this time, it’s so important to focus on what matters the most: the health of ourselves and the people around us. Business leaders and managers, the digital landscape has provided you with a plethora of tools to manage a team from anywhere. The business challenges that a pandemic poses can be a catalyst for developing digital alternatives to management methods.
Whether your employees will need to work from home or not, make sure that you’re prepared for a telecommuting reality. Along the way, you might find that with the right tools and a digital adoption solution, your team will be more efficient than ever, no matter where they are.