The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in a record number of employees in the UK working from home. Data from the Office for National Statistics shows that the number of people working exclusively from home rose from 21% to 24% during the second lockdown, and official figures show that in mid-June, exclusive remote working hit a high of 38%. That’s an enormous number of people, and as such, managers and leaders alike have had to quickly adapt to a new way of managing their teams.

Despite the rollout of the vaccine, and the promise of some return to normality in the near future, it’s been suggested that home working is likely to be a permanent fixture for a majority of businesses. In fact, a recent survey of around 1,000 companies conducted by the Institute of Directors shows that a huge 74% plan to maintain the increase in home working.

With this in mind, it’s never been more important for managers to ensure they have the skills to lead a team remotely. So, here are my top 5 tips for effectively leading a remote team.

1. Check in Regularly

It’s easy to check in with your direct reports when you’re in the same office, and much easier to pick up on their need for extra support and guidance. Regular one to one check-ins are really important for remote workers; where you can check in on their priorities, professional development, motivation and potential challenges.

2. Keep up the Communication

When your team is working from home, communicating news about the business is key. Whether it’s a new initiative from the management team, or an update from HR, keeping your remote team updated is a must.

3. Trust your Team

Managing a remote team undoubtedly means taking some risks. But trusting your team to navigate the uncertainty is key. Give your team the latitude to embrace new ways of working; you’ll be surprised at the adaptiveness of employees during times of uncertainty and change. Members of your team may have children at home, or other member of the family. These new stresses and concerns are real and important, and as a manager it’s important to be able to have candid conversations about the new challenges your employees are facing.

4. Set Some Ground Rules

It’s hard to set expectations when everyone is working remotely. But making sure everyone on your team is on the same page is possible. Keeping your team clear on the expected approach, including their own roles and responsibilities, will help.

5. Maintain a Social Connection

Many people miss the ‘water cooler’ chat when they are adjusting to working from home. We spend many hours a week with our colleagues when we’re in the same office, so it’s not surprising that the lack of social connection can take its toll. Include an online social activity in your week, but make sure you keep them optional. This might be a virtual coffee hour, an online game, or a social channel on Slack.

If you would like to learn more about the best way to manage your team remotely, I can help. Book your free 30-minute 1-2-1 coaching session, or join me for a free half day group session where you’ll get a head start in the critical fundamentals to business success, giving you the opportunity to assess your business to highlight areas for improvement, including managing teams. Book your session online today, or you can call 07388 019 663 or email markself@actioncoach.com.