Tags: HR, Management guidance, blog

So, you want to pull your team together for an impromptu thought shower session, but they’re all in different locations and potentially even time zones? While some organisations opt for entirely remote, some are split with employees working onsite and others at home. This poses a significant challenge as leaders attempt to keep everybody on the same page and aligned to the same goals. This also creates the added complication of fostering a positive team culture and morale, all virtually. 

Whilst managing a hybrid or remote team may feel daunting, it’s doable with consistent efforts and buy-in from your team. Here’s our advice on how to manage a positive and productive team.

Five hybrid or remote team management techniques

1. Establish a remote-first culture

Whether your employees are working from home or in the office, making remote work the default for your team will enable people to carry out their jobs anywhere. Remote requires processes, systems and communication channels to be slick and working effectively. 

We recommend using tools that can be accessed from any device and centralising communication to a specific platform so that important messages aren’t missed or dealt with in silo. Another way to encourage a remote-first culture is to ask everybody who joins video calls to do this from their individual computers to offer equal opportunity for everyone to input. 

2. Build trust in your employees

If you allow employees to choose where they work, you need to trust them to manage how and when they complete their to-do lists. Put emphasis on the work employees are producing and its quality as opposed to how they’re doing it.

Foster a results-based culture by defining what success looks like and clearly outline responsibilities and expectations using SMART goals or KPI’S. 

3. Offer regular feedback

No matter where employees are working, they need feedback. Employees are often reluctant to ask for feedback and rely on this being forthcoming from their manager.

Schedule regular one-on-one meetings to discuss their workload, challenges and personal goals. This demonstrates you’re invested in their work and success and also offers a chance for you to receive feedback.

4. Conduct welfare checks

Leaders, you play a critical role in creating a supportive culture of wellbeing for your employees, even more so during periods of significant change and uncertainty. When assessing the needs of your team, it’s beneficial to consider potential impacts on a case-by-case basis. But remember, an individual’s wellbeing is not static and therefore ongoing communication is essential. 

We advise conducting wellbeing check-ins, ideally weekly. Observing changes to an individuals behaviour, performance, mood and physical presentation or monitoring depletion in their regular coping mechanisms i.e. relationships, diet and exercise. Whilst remote working presents some barriers in terms of observation, it’s crucial to be aware of weeks where the workload is more demanding or stressful and check employees feel supported, whether that be a call or email. 

5. Don’t forget about the social element

Not only do you need to nurture relationships with your employees, but your employees need to build relationships with their colleagues outside of work communications. With the absence of water-cooler moments and random chats about the weekend, it is harder to build genuine relationships. Still, the relationships we share at work have a massive impact on our happiness and performance and help combat feelings of loneliness for those working from home.

Get the whole team together (in-person or virtually) for a shared lunch or learning workshop to provide an opportunity for employees to feel part of something. You could also encourage small talk between team members, for example, by creating a dedicated channel for non-work related chat, a shared Spotify playlist which people contribute to, or by organising a monthly book or movie recommendation club.

As a manager, it’s ok to experience bumps in the road, but you must take stock and learn from them. The techniques above are simple but not necessarily easy. They require time, attention and consistency. However, ultimately your employees and organisation will benefit, and in turn, you’ll be able to grow your skills as a leader and be better equipped for change in the future.

Are you looking for your next leadership role or ready to take the step up and progress in your career? At Search Consultancy, we recruit across 20 sectors and have a range of leadership roles available. Speak to one of our consultants today to discuss your requirements.