Remote Management in times of crisis
Managing a team is no longer a simple task within a normal routine. In these current times of crisis, this task becomes exponentially more complex.
In this context, management will require leadership that is more prepared for scenarios of uncertainty and consequently be able to break traditional corporate mentalities and concepts.
The issue is that there is no definitive manual that says if you check all these boxes then you can lead your team perfectly during volatile times. There are many materials with tips and theories but the key is for each manager to adapt and bring this into the reality of their team. And this is no easy task!
Although there are certain protocols in place that prevent chaos from setting in, each new crisis is unique in its own way, with its own problems and peculiarities and will require a different approach from the one used previously. Nobody expected that the world would be paralyzed in the face of a pandemic, right?
What we have in our favor in these moments of change are the lessons learned from previous crises – and which can help a lot if put into practice correctly.
We will discuss more on the subject in this article. Continue reading to see a management checklist for times of crisis!
The impact our current environment has on work management
When faced with uncertainty, it is normal for leaders to tend to prepare for the most likely outcome. Strategic planning is a good example of this. The forecasts are derived from a detailed analysis of the company and its environment. From this comes strategies and action plans.
In relatively stable environments, this approach generally works very well. In times of uncertainty, however, it can be misleading. Predictions can become obscured, covering up the whole picture and leading companies into wrong decisions.
It is no different when it comes to work management in times of crisis. Take for example our current reality, with the quarantine established to contain the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus). Many leaders had to adapt to remote work and find ways for their teams to work from home. This was something that the vast majority of them did not expect – although remote work is an increasingly prominent trend.
In this case, the impacts of uncertainties in the management of work range from the need to prevent the demotivation of professionals to cost control with the acquisition of technologies in an emergency scenario. At the other end, employees need to adapt to new routines and deal with fear for their country’s economy – in addition to the concern of possibly contracting the virus themselves.
Remote vs. Face-to-face Management: what are the differences
It is also important to reflect on the substantial differences between face-to-face and remote management – which has been seen as the way out of this crisis that we are currently experiencing.
In face-to-face management, there is physical contact and daily exchange, which tend to generate closer relationships between team members. Consequently, leaders have an easier time communicating with everyone and creating a climate of mutual collaboration.
In this traditional model, the command of actions and directions tend to flow in a more organic way – in the sense that it is possible to gather everyone in a meeting room and redo a route traced a few minutes ago, for example.
In remote management, on the other hand, the challenge of putting everyone on the same page and above all, collaborating with each other is much greater.
It is important to remember that normally, the transition from face-to-face to remote work is gradual in companies, but this does not apply in a time of crisis when it is necessary to immediately switch to virtual work.
One point that needs to be considered, as in any working relationship, the home office needs to balance the interests of the two parties involved: the employee and the company.
Their reasons are different, of course, but in the end, both parties have their interests met. This reflection is important and can also be done in the context of your company to weigh the pros and cons of working from home.
→ Read also: “Remote team management: how agile practices can help!”
Checklist for Remote Management in times of crisis
Build a motivating work environment together
Whether in person or remotely, a motivating work environment is essential, as people tend to be more productive where they feel value – where there is team spirit and a sense of belonging.
→ Read also: “Motivation of remote teams: 9 essential tips that every leader should know!”
Maintain team communication
A well-designed internal communication strategy is always essential even more so in times of crisis. Today there is an abundance of technology available for this and a lot of accumulated knowledge about how the company and leaders should conduct the dialogue with and between teams.
Experts also point out the need for daily monitoring of the progression of team activities. Therefore, it is necessary to structure ways for team members to report their progress within projects and action plans to provide facilitation and feedback.
Control and autonomy
Balancing the control and autonomy provided to professionals is also essential. This is where concepts such as distributed leadership and self-managed teams gain strength. In a crisis or not, there is no more room for a centralized leader, who overburdened themselves with supervision and does not share the captain’s chair.
Take the remote job tag very seriously
As with face-to-face work, there are a whole series of rules and regulations regarding remote work. The leaders must, for example, respect the agreed upon schedules. Sending a text message during the weekend or at night is quite outside the etiquette of this work model.
It is necessary to establish rules on how professionals should behave, standardize the use of the systems used in daily routines among other guidelines. Everyone needs to be aware of what they can and cannot do.
Get to know your team
This tip is even more pertinent when working with remote staff. In many cases, professionals are also hired remotely. In this way, it becomes even more difficult for leaders to get to know each of their team members in-depth.
In this case, managers must:
- Know each employee’s skillset
- Know their weaknesses too
- Provide feedback
- Be open to receiving feedback as well as criticism and suggestions
This will greatly facilitate the rapprochement between the team and the manager.
Be the guardian of organizational culture
Last but not least, it is up to the leader to watch over organizational culture. This culture is endowed with the company’s values, mission, and directions. It is how it sees itself and how it projects itself into the future. This is where company traditions also come into play.
Organizational culture must always be remembered and celebrated by everyone, whether they are meeting in person or remotely.
How is your company’s remote management in these times of crisis? Check out our 6 tips for successful Remote Work Management!
Ask for help!
Major organizational changes are not made overnight. This is due to the physical structure, of course, but also the employees’ mindset. In many companies, the biggest challenge is the latter – which is perfectly normal.
If you have read all of this material so far and have had difficulty transitioning your team or company into a remote landscape, don’t worry. Major organizational changes must also be accompanied by major questions. Therefore, we can say that you have already taken the first step.
However, major changes will also require a task force. Birds don’t migrate alone, do they? So, if you do not know where to start or if you don’t think this will be an easy task for your company or team, do not hesitate to seek a consultancy with the know-how to help. We can talk about it together and understand your challenges! How about we sit down for a virtual coffee to talk about it? Count on us!