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Working Remotely? Here's How To Better Manage Your Team

Working remotely? Here's how to better manage your team:

3/5/2021 5:35:00 AM

Working remotely? Here's how to better manage your team:

Tips for managers and teams leaders to excel during remote work.

Those are some pretty striking numbers. And yet, it’s totally understandable that all the unknowns and changes of the last year would leave managers doubting their leadership throughout the ongoing flux of day-to-day remote work. So, what are some ways you can still be a good manager while leading your team remotely? Of course, every workspace is different and provides unique challenges to managers trying to keep up the morale and productivity of their staff. Still, there are some great ways to renew employee engagement and to be a good steward of your work culture while working remotely.

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Step 1: Find ways to break up the monotony of endless video meetingsOne of the biggest ways in which remote work is impacting employee engagement is the phenomenon of “Zoom fatigue.”All over the world of work, we’re seeing signs that all of this screen time is wearing on employees. Recent data shows that remote workers are spending

up to one thirdof their workdays on camera. All this time on video conferences is wearing some people out, with 38% reporting that they are experiencing video call fatigue. What’s worse, 24% find video calls to be “exhausting” and “inefficient” and prefer to communicate via other means.

What’s a manager to do? After all, we’ve become dependent on videoconferencing platforms to take the place of the office in maintaining ongoing communication and productivity. You may have to get creative, but with the data in mind, consider some ways you might be able to limit the mandatory hours that employees have to be engaged in virtual meetings, or change up the pace to make video meetings more engaging and interesting. 

Again, everyone’s workplace will be different, but here are a few strategies that might help limit the amount of time that staff needs to be staring into their webcam.Designate “Zoom-free days.”Consider if it might be possible to group meetings, or subjects together for certain days of the week, leaving your employees with a day in which they can take a break from video meetings or collaborate in smaller groups with colleagues.

Utilize the technology.If there are meetings that a staff member will not be actively contributing to, but that contains relevant information to their role, consider recording the meeting and making it available to them when it fits best into their work schedule. Zoom also offers an

audio transcription feature. If you’ve noticed an executive assistant nodding off while taking the minutes of a meeting, give them a break by utilizing this feature. You might be giving them the opportunity to reengage with the material and contribute above and beyond their pay grade.

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Consider the conference call.There was a time when conference calls were the norm, and it was video meetings that seemed to have the novelty. Now, it feels like the reverse is true. Set your clock back a few years and schedule a good old-fashioned conference call, or encourage employees to take a break from video and discuss projects on the phone. Who knows, you might even notice people listening a little more intently. This sort of break in patterns is so good for your brain! Ask yourself when you initiate a video call: does this

haveto be a video?Remember the 80/20 rule for productivity.Spontaneity can be crucial for productivity.  When clicking endlessly on Zoom from one link to another, it can feel like we are sorely lacking some new energy and creativity in our worlds. Consider

the ratio of 80%of structured work time, including video meetings, with 20% “free working” or unstructured time. With staff working remotely, increased oversight is to be expected, but couldn’t we all use a little extra time to get organized and focus on our individual productivity? Your staff will likely respond well to having more free time to focus on their individual roles and goals. 

For some managers, especially in highly collaborative and project-oriented workplaces, it may be more difficult to limit the necessity of video meetings. If that sounds like your team, and you can’t envision limiting time spent on videoconferencing, consider a few of these ways to mix it up.

Try using an alternate platform.You might be thinking that this sounds like adding novelty for the sake of novelty, and they’re all the same, right? Well, actually, you may find that trying a new videoconferencing platform offers your team a better and more engaging experience of virtual meetings. A recent product created at the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence, called

Minglr, aims to create a more natural and spontaneous conversation tool for videoconferencing. The goal is to restore some of the “watercooler banter” that is often missing from the formal space of videoconferencing, and to encourage the kind of out-of-the-box ideas that often arise when employees have the opportunity to chat amongst themselves before and after meetings.

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Take a cue from your favorite TV anchor.Mmhmmis an exciting new startup that aims to transform Zoom presentations from dusty screen-shared Powerpoints, a la high school science class, to the dynamic visuals from your favorite TV news show. Mmhmm is an add-on that works with a number of videoconferencing platforms and offers users many professional backgrounds and the ability to create compelling presentations that appear on screen along with your video feed. Their presentation tools even allow the slides to be controlled remotely by a partner, allowing you to focus on conveying the most compelling narrative for your presentation.

Zoom costume party.Okay, depending on the formality of your office setting, you can read on or just skip to the next section. But actually, this can be a really fun way to mix it up, provided that you have a comfortable and casual relationship with your team. This doesn’t have to be a virtual Halloween party; consider asking staff to wear a favorite T-shirt and share the story behind it. This idea may not be your speed at all, but it’s worth considering ways in which we can add some excitement to our day-to-day lives on Zoom, and find opportunities to connect and get to know one another better in a space in which we often feel stiff. If this feels like an edge for you, perhaps do a screen background contest for your meetings, so you can all laugh and lighten before you go into your meeting crunch mode!

Step 2: Make sure that you are providing resources for employees’ mental healthThis has always been crucial, but has become especially important in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Recent research has found thatone in three adultshave Covid-19 related psychological distress.

Read more: Forbes »

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I find not listening and talking over others helps. Std. business behaviour really.