Question Answer
When transitioning to working remotely, what do you do, as a manager, with someone who needs constant supervision? Individualization is key. Ensure they are in the best work condition possible under which they can best perform and address any concerns.

Set clear expectations, such as timelines, project details, roles and responsibilities, etc. The more prepared and informed they are, the better they will be able to meet the expectations. Engage with your employees regularly as a team and through one-on-one meetings to discuss projects and provide guidance as needed.

What are some specific recommendations for keeping team members engaged and creating team spirit when working remotely? Try to engage with your team members as often as possible. On a daily basis, this can be done by taking time to reach out in ways your team enjoys via email or maybe instant messaging. On a weekly basis, this can be a team conference call.

Create a team chat on the technology your team uses where you only talk about social, non-work related topics. The team could also have a separate one without the manager.

Encourage the use of gifs and emojis when communicating in the social chats – it helps show if someone is being sarcastic or funny and creates a fun environment.

Ask the team to help come up with creative ideas about team spirit (1 person per week), such as getting everyone to post baby photos and guessing the person, team members showing their pets on webcam if they have any, etc.

Ask how your team members are doing and how you can support them. If needed, offer to extend deadlines to help lessen the stress they may be feeling during this transition.

What are some ways to set healthy boundaries with your team and be available and reachable as a manager at the same time? Be honest with your team on your expectations and your needs as well. Explain to your team when you are reachable and what is the best way to contact you instant messenger, text message, phone, etc. It might be a ‘are you free for a chat?’ in IM.
How do you manage to ‘switch off’ after your working day? Without a commute to start and end the day, employees may struggle with officially ending their work day. Work with your team members to help them establish boundaries to their day in a way that is both productive for the team and helps team members avoid costly burnout. Open a dialogue with your team to brainstorm healthy ways to “switch off” the day.

Sharing “what works for me” ideas and practices may be helpful for you and others on your team. For some people it might be physically putting your laptop in a cupboard, so as not to see it. Instead of the time it took for you to commute, you can read, do some exercise or spend some quality time with the children. You have now gained that time back out of your working day so use it to do something new.

I have just joined the company to manage an existing team. How can I do this without meeting the team? To get to know your team members, set up individual (one-on-one) 30-minute calls to meet each of them. This can be an informal “meet and greet.” Even though it is virtual, it is a great way to get to get to know their interests and strengths. In addition, encourage your team to do the same by setting up greet and meets with each other. Doing so will help build the team structure and project collaboration.
How do you manage remotely across multiple time zones? This requires more intentional planning and agreement of all parties to certain times, that may be outside of normal local business hours. Agree with the team what is feasible for them before scheduling any meetings. Maybe you would organize two separate meetings covering half of the teams only.

The main idea is to get buy-in from all participants prior and also be understanding if certain hours are not feasible.

Tools to connect are available. But how do you maintain control and progress metrics? Indeed, this is a common concern from a manager point of view, but also as an employee. For our company we can apply the same metrics we had before when working in the office (e.g. volume of transactions processed or other Service Level Agreements) for comparison. Another idea could be that the manager needs to potentially set-up more check-ins with employees, understanding what their situation is, and how they may need support to ensure they can maintain productivity.