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Inside The Office Management

Accountability: How Do You Help Your Remote Team Succeed?

A year into the pandemic and many people are still working from home. They may be remote work experts by now. Or they may need a refresher.

Remote work? Been there, done that.

Last year, you took steps to help set up your remote team for success. You established a chain of command and initiated the information sharing process. You hammered out expectations and basic work requirements. I can hear you saying – “These people know their jobs. They’ve been working remotely for a year. Why do I have to explain things further?” But what if your employees are losing sight of their goals? Maybe they’re restless, feeling disconnected from co-workers and detached from their work.

Every employee needs to understand what is required of them. Once expectations are set, you need to demonstrate you will hold them accountable. There’s nothing new here, but as we’ve learned this past year, priorities and capabilities change. You may need to come up with a plan to help your employees recommit to remote work. Here’s what you need to do.

Set an example

Schedule a group video meeting with your entire team or your team leads, managers and key staff people, depending on the size of your firm. We recommend video because face-to-face contact is so important. It helps people stay focused and confident when they see you. This is your opportunity to shine as a role model and set an example for others.

Prep the agenda and share it before the meeting to give people time to digest and think about things. Ensure the team is on the same page. Integrated workplace platforms like Office 365 with Teams and SharePoint can be incredibly helpful.

Include:

  • Schedules and availability
  • Channels/tools the team will use to
    • Communicate
    • Share files
    • Get work done
  • Notification/request processes for when team members must be offline for personal reasons. What counts as sanctioned personal time?
    • Child/parental care
    • Personal care/illness
    • Meals and breaks

Group discussions help the team focus on work and allow for brainstorming. When your people are part of the discussion, it helps them:

  • Remember they’re still part of a team
  • Realize working remotely is possible with proper expectations and support
  • Feel empowered to make decisions and solve problems themselves

Once the team understands the basics, have each member announce their recommitment to the rules and processes. When you update the plan further, inform the team and be sure they understand the changes. Create a document with the rules and distribute it to everyone so they can refer to it.

After a plan is in place:

  • Develop KPIs (key performance indicators) tied to the new guidelines
  • Adjust the agreement as the situation changes

It pays to be flexible. That way, there’s wiggle room if something changes.

For more tips on how to successfully work from home, check out the Remote Nation Institute.

About the author

Mari Anne Snow

Mari Anne Snow is a business expert, specializing in the design and implementation of remote work, dispersed or virtual team programs, and custom people-to-people skills training for remote leaders. She is a versatile, energetic and highly experienced business executive with the capacity to quickly assess any situation, diagnose immediate and long term needs, and provide practical leadership and immediate, measurable results.

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