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Managing From Afar Isn’t Easy. Here’s How Reuben Russell Makes It Work
Managers and supervisors around the country have had to adapt quickly to teleworking. While working from home offices can present challenges for anyone, it’s especially challenging for people who manage and/or lead a team. Reuben Russell shares his top tips for keeping your team on task while also keeping your head above water.
Tip #1 – Keep in contact, but don’t overdo it
No one likes to be micromanaged. Reuben Russell recommends checking in with employees as needed but also trusting them to do their jobs. If an employee is habitually missing deadlines or isn’t checking in as expected, reach out to them. Be caring but firm, and let them know that the last thing you want is to be overbearing. This is a challenging time and everyone handles it differently. So make certain that the communication lines remain open.
Tip #2 – Set up regular meeting times
According to Reuben Russell, scheduling is stranger than ever right now, and setting up a regular meeting time for your team to connect is far more effective than throwing one together at the last minute. When your employees know that you have a regular meeting time each week, they can keep a list of topics to discuss. Additionally, you can always schedule a “Happy Hour” meeting following business hours to catch up with your team – However, the business should not be discussed, only fun or exciting agenda items. This has proven to work well.
Tip #3 – Manage expectations appropriately
You’re not the only one adjusting to the pandemic, and Reuben Russell says it’s important to remember that your employees are facing their own challenges. Chat with them about the difficulties they’re facing. Employees trying to manage virtual school while also working may take a bit longer to respond to phone calls. According to Reuben Russell, knowing what your employees are up against can encourage them to do their best work.
Tip #4 – Offer options for check-ins
Ask your employees what method of check-ins they prefer. Some employees might like to update you at the end of each day via email, while others may prefer getting on the phone or a quick video call. Giving your employees some control over how they get you up to speed can take some of the stress out of their day.
Tip #5 – Build morale
Reuben Russell recommends sending star employees a virtual gift card to a coffee shop, sending them a gift card at their favorite restaurant, or simply giving them a shoutout during a weekly Zoom meeting can go a long way in helping them to feel appreciated. In the midst of COVID-19, many people feel like they are in survival mode when working. According to Reuben Russell, letting your employees know that you notice all the time they’re putting in can go a long way in keeping them motivated.
Teleworking and managing from afar can be tough, but it’s doable. Reuben Russell also recommends taking stock of what is working and what isn’t. Your employees are getting used to a new way of working, and you are too. It can take some time to figure out what systems and processes make you most productive in this new environment.