Leadership in a Time of Crisis: Keeping your Remote Team on Track During a Pandemic

As a leader, you are accustomed to leading your team day-to-day. Whether you are providing regular feedback, assigning tasks or teaching skills, providing guidance is part of your everyday. There has never been such a massive shakeup to professional and personal lives as there is now, when we are facing the spread of COVID-19. Continuing to do business in this atmosphere will take creativity, resilience and patience.

Whether or not your team was prepared to work remotely, here are some tips for effectively, managing, inspiring and keeping up productivity.

Equipment.

Provide company technology or check that employees own what they need to do their jobs. For individuals who are working with technology that is not company-owned, check to see that it is properly protected with antivirus software.

Communication.

Keep communication open so people know what’s going on within the company and with customers. Depending on your business model, you may find video applications such as Zoom or Skype helpful. For intracompany communication and collaboration, try Slack or Trello. You can always just keep it simple with email, text and phone calls.

Set expectations.

In a perfect world, you would test your remote working capabilities, but we’ve all had to adapt quickly. Not everyone is as happy and productive working on a laptop at the kitchen table as they are in the office. Is your company more geared toward hours worked or tasks completed? Do you need them to work in a specific timeframe or is anytime okay as long as the work gets done?

Set up systems.

If you need employees at their (virtual) desks at a certain time, let them know and provide a means of clocking in. If it doesn’t matter when they do their work, clarify that as well. You may get greater productivity and higher quality work if people are able to open their laptops after they’ve put their kids to bed than trying to work a traditional 9-5. Be as flexible as you can without allowing productivity or customer service to suffer.

Plan for illness.

Some employees are likely to contract the virus and they are unlikely to be able to work through it. Even minor illness could overtax their immune system leaving them vulnerable. Have a plan in place for employees to take sick days so they don’t feel the need to power through and get even sicker. Be sure there is a backup plan to cover for every employee.

Lead by example.

Like a lighthouse, your employees look to you for guidance. If you are calm and confident that the company will weather the storm, your employees will be too.

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