10 Inclusive Management Best Practices for Remote Teams
March 12, 2020
The challenge of inclusive management is even more critical when teams must function remotely. Each year, more and more employees work remotely at least part of the time. Right now, many organizations across the globe are closing for two weeks or more to stem the spread of the COVID-19 virus. There are also many employees who are being quarantined during this time. The stress of frequent news of quarantines and death can deteriorate the productivity and working relationships of teams.
Here are 10 best practices that you can implement to help to maximize your team’s potential and minimize your stress as a manager during this time:
- Updates: Make sure that everyone on the team is updated (at the same time) about any decisions surrounding the COVID-19 that your organization makes. This will reassure staff that they are ‘in the loop’ and decrease their anxiety.
- Video Meetings: Conduct meetings via video conference, not just audio. This will contribute to the team’s sense of being connected. Also, people will be more motivated to get up and dressed for a video meeting than they would for a conference call. (Which will contribute to their well-being!)
- Team Meetings: Even if it has not been your practice in the past, have team meetings at least once each week during this crisis. This will help everyone to connect and reinforce teammates supporting each other.
- Check-Ins: Have daily check-ins with every team member. This can be a video call as short as 2 minutes, but this investment of your will be time well-rewarded with engaged and motivated team members.
- Time Management: Schedule times for email check-ins, calls, and video conferences as much as possible. You will find that your team may be even more productive than usual without interruptions and knowing when to expect communication. They will spend less time checking email and more time finishing a project!
- Impact: The impact of stress, especially prolonged stress affects each of us differently. Be mindful of the impact of this crisis on members of your team: some may be sleep deprived or social media over-dosed; others may be dealing with anxiety in silence.
- Social Distancing: Depending on the personality of each of your team members, social distancing will affect each of them differently. For some, this time will be a relief from social pressures. For others, this will be a severe challenge. Acknowledge that each of us responds to social interaction differently.
- Offer Support: Your staff may not be members of a high-risk group, but their family members, partners, neighbors, and friends may be. Ask your team members (privately) if they need to take FMLA, work flextime, or get counseling during the crisis.
- Give Positive Feedback: Let your team members and your leadership know how your team is going above and beyond to keep things running during this very challenging time. Giving your team members kudos now will be appreciated for a long time to come.
- Practice Self Care: It is always challenging to successfully manage teams, but even more so during a crisis. You need to make sure that you are taking care of yourself so that you can take better care of others. Eat, sleep, take a walk in the park, find ways to vent, watch a funny movie, and spend time with those you love.
No one strategy will magically make you the world’s most inclusive leader or make this crisis disappear, but the 10 strategies outlined above will help you to manage more inclusively and minimize the long-term impact on your team.
We hope that you stay healthy, productive and inclusive while we make it through this crisis together.
Wendy Amengual Wark
Inclusion Strategy Solutions LLC