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The Zoom Boom – How to Manage at a Distance
How to Manage from
a Distance – Zoom
It’s no secret that the world is changing. With more and more companies making the move to remote working, Zoom and other digital means of communication have skyrocketed in popularity. While lots of businesses have taken this in their stride, others are finding it more difficult to manage their workforces effectively. If you’ve been struggling to apply in-person management techniques to your remote employees, you’re not alone. There’s definitely something of an adjustment period, but sometimes there are small creases you can’t seem to iron out.
Fortunately, there are many ways to overcome the challenges you’re facing due to physical distance. These aren’t always easy to figure out on your own, which is why this blog is here to give you some important tips and tricks to help you out. Discover how to manage more efficiently at a distance and watch your business flourish as a result.
Finding the right tools
The first step to effectively managing your remote workforce is by finding the right tools for the job. Without these, staying in touch and collaborating with members of your team will be more difficult than it needs to be. Just because the whole world is using Zoom doesn’t mean that you have to as well. Once the initial shock has died down, think carefully about the types of tools that would serve your business the best. For example, if you’re already using Gmail, perhaps Google Meet is the next logical step to take when it comes to weekly meetings. Alternatively, you might decide that Slack’s clean interface and simple messaging system suit your business needs even more.
But it’s not just communication-specific tools you need to think about. When businesses were based in a physical office, it was easy enough to collaborate simply by sitting at the same table. But now that teams are spread around the world, it’s important to find software that allows you to collaborate online. This includes things like Google Docs, cloud accounting software, and image libraries, all of which allow team members to work together and make changes to ongoing projects.
Check-in regularly, but avoid micromanagement while utilizing Zoom
As a manager, it can be disconcerting not knowing what your team is doing all day long. You might be worried that they’re focusing on the wrong tasks, not prioritizing correctly, or interpreting briefs in an unusual way. Things are likely running smoothly, but to avoid crossed wires, try to make meetings a daily practice. These meetings don’t have to be long, in fact, they can even be under 10 minutes, but they give everyone a chance to clarify what they’re working on and ask any questions.
But these regular check-ins have led many managers to fall into the trap of micromanagement. The morning meeting quickly becomes countless messages and requests for updates throughout the day, leaving employees to feel like they can’t leave their desks to stretch their legs. If you’ve been feeling a sense of anxiety around leaving people to their own devices, it’s time to recognize that these worries are coming from within you and have nothing to do with your staff. Trust your team to do the job they’ve always done well.
Listen and offer support via Zoom meetings
Have you stopped to wonder whether your team is finding it just as hard as you to communicate effectively? While you might be feeling like staff are willfully out of reach, they might see you as distant and unapproachable. Working from home has been difficult for lots of people, so it’s important to ask about any concerns staff might be having and listen closely to their answers. If people are struggling, these are some ways you can work to improve communication and replicate an in-person work environment:
- Hold drop-ins: Sometimes employees don’t want to send you a message because they don’t want to disturb you. By holding drop-ins, you give your team the confidence to come forward. These drop-in calls don’t have to take a long time, and you don’t actively need to be speaking for the whole time period. Many managers open a video or voice call and work while they’re online and available to talk. Sometimes nobody will drop in, but at least everyone knew you were available.
- Have a ticketing system: An efficient ticketing system allows employees to make requests and submit tasks without jumping on a call or starting a new chat. This can sometimes remove the hesitancy some team members might have over opening discussions virtually for the smallest of things.
- Don’t forget about socializing: While some team members will be content to have lunch by themselves, others will feel a disconnection from office life. Setting up optional lunchtime events or after-work drinks can give people a chance to bond with their co-workers. Don’t forget, there would be plenty of chances in the office for people to chat about the weekend or their holiday plans, so give them the same opportunities when they’re remote as well.
Track progress and celebrate wins with Zoom
It can be easy to forget how far you’ve come when working remotely, as every day will blend into the next more easily. Equally, it’s all too easy to slip up and forget how close a looming deadline is if you haven’t got it blocked out on your calendar. Tracking how far along projects are is key to managing your workload when working remotely.
But it’s important to make sure you’re tracking the good things as well. Keep a close eye on both individual progress and your team’s achievements as a whole – and don’t forget to acknowledge successes. Remote working can be demotivating for some, as they might not have a real, tangible picture of the impact of their work. Celebrating projects that went well can rekindle a sense of team spirit and boost morale.
And finally… Don’t panic
Thousands of businesses across the world have started working remotely, putting them all in the same boat as you. Remote working has its ups and downs, but as a manager, it’s your job to help your team make the best of them. Stay level-headed and meet the challenges that come with a well-thought-out plan of action.