Eight Ways to successfully manage a remote team
by Jeff SwettMr. Swett is Managing Director of Wealth Management at UBS and leader The Swett Wealth management Group. Visit here for more information.
Face-to-face interaction has always been an important part of American culture and other cultures around the world. Handshakes, hugs, eye contact, facial expressions and other visual cues are all critical to understanding people, forming opinions, interpreting situations and establishing a strong EQ. Now Covid has taken much of that away, and it seems likely that we’ll remain in this environment for an extended period of time.
Of course there are numerous potential advantages to the current restrictions as well. We all appreciate the time and stress saved by avoiding the commute, and having more time for family, hobbies, reading, exercise and binge watching the series on which we’re currently hooked.
The one change I’m struggling with more than any other, I did not anticipate… I miss my team.
The Norm Of ‘Close Quarters’
Over the years the seven of us have spent many hours together- too many hours really. We’ve spent more time with one another than we have with our own families. And in close quarters. Naturally we’ve become close, have shared many stories both professional and personal, laugh frequently, get on each other’s nerves, support each other, agree, disagree, and generally just know one another way too well.
We’re four women, three men, and span five decades of age- all in a pretty eclectic group. And I love it. Until Covid changed the world, we could always rely on staying in close communication through regular circumstantial office contact. Impromptu meetings were not a problem, and we could jump into execution mode just by overhearing other’s phone conversations. Since that is no longer possible, I’ve been confronted with an unexpected challenge. Managing a remote team.
Through trial and error, and through seeking team feedback the following concepts have been helpful and may be worth considering:
Trust that your team members will continue to protect clients and work hard. Trust that all this craziness will ultimately work out just fine.
Communicate regularly to ensure team member needs are met. A famous billionaire entrepreneur once said that there’s no need to take care of your clients. Take care of your employees and they will happily take care of the clients. Think about that.
Schedule one on one time in addition to time with the whole team. This is extremely important. Everybody appreciates individual attention, and some new concerns could emerge that might not otherwise be stated in front of others.
Upgrade home office technology
Not just you. Every team member needs high-end home office hardware and that cost is on you. If your team has an unpleasant or dysfunctional technology experience it will eventually cost you a lot of money.
Continue to hold team outings. Dinner and cocktails can still be shared in safe in-person settings. Recently we held a video conference talent show which was hilarious.
Remember that everyone’s situation at home is different
It’s therefore important to remember that flexibility is valued. If there are young kids, pets, special family needs, etc. those situations need to be respected.
When your home and office are under the same roof it is more difficult to take time off, especially now because travel opportunities are limited. Block off your time and be creative. You or your team members burning out will cost you a lot of money.
Stay Focused On Goals
This seems obvious since we’re in a results-oriented business, but it’s more important now than ever since there are so many distractions. Revisit and possibly revise your business plan on a monthly basis.