Although the entire world has been on quarantine only for a couple of months, businesses around the world have already noticed the detrimental effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the end of March, 29% of businesses noticed the decrease in sales, 25% reported problems with supply chains, and 16% claimed they experienced staff shortages due to illness:
Most notably, at the end of March, 38% of businesses already had their workers work from home. But as the situation progresses and the end of this pandemic is nowhere near to be seen, more and more workers have to switch to telework just to save their jobs.
For businesses, these are undoubtedly trying times.
The drop in sales, which is connected to the absence of customers, also has a lot to do with the change in team management. Marketers are responsible for keeping sales up, and during the times of crisis, when they cannot physically get together to discuss changes in product representation, it can affect your sales and make your business less competitive.
So, what should you do to effectively manage your team, which is forced to work remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic?
We have a few good tips for you.
1. Create Guidelines and Assign a Remote Team Mentor
Your team will likely feel lost during the first months of telework. Every freelancer will tell you that among the biggest struggles they experienced in the first couple of months was work organization.
That is why it is important to create a plan of gradual transformation to telework to guide your team through this difficult transition.
Having ready-to-go remote work guidelines helped 10Up, a web design and development company, to transition their IT and marketing teams to telework. In a PressNomics podcast episode, Jake Goldman, a CEO of 10Up, shares a few steps that helped the company effectively switch their teams to remote work:
Step #1: Establish a daily routine
A working day should start with every team member drafting their daily routine and sharing it with other team members. This can be done through a team management program or during a brief morning catch-up meeting.
Step #2: Schedule the necessary meetings right away
It is also important to remember that different channels exist for different communication purposes. For instance, if you have a single question to ask, use Slack or email. However, if the discussion of a content strategy for your next marketing campaign turns into a whole thread, it is better to switch to Zoom or Google Hangouts for a quick meeting.
Step #3: Single out time to deal with urgent issues
The fact that your team goes remote for a while doesn’t mean that they won’t have fires to put out. Many businesses now have to deal with dropping organic traffic, and if your business experiences it, your marketing team will have to work on fixing it. To make sure that your team is prepared for events like this, make sure every team member has at least an hour singled out for dealing with emergencies.
In the podcast interview, Jake Goldman also mentions that it is good to have a person in a team, who is responsible for optimizing the team’s remote work.
Assigning a remote work mentor can also be helpful in case your team acquires a new member during the crisis, who can walk the newcomers through the remote work guidelines and help integrate them into the team.
2. Track Your Team’s Productivity
When you are working at home, there are too many things to distract you. You can ask every freelancer about that, and they will confirm their struggle remaining productive while working at home.
To help your marketing team avoid losing productivity, you might have to assign a meeting to teach them some time management associated with remote work.
It can be a kind of a workshop, where you and your team can discuss the ways how to effectively allocate time and touch upon the spheres of your work, which often cause missed deadlines.
While a workshop is a good way to help your team manage their time while working at home, you also need a few tools to track their productivity.
You can use team management software that will help you automatically assign and track tasks. However, you can also utilize the following approaches to track your team’s productivity on a daily basis:
- Daily wrap-up meetings. The intention of these meetings is similar to the daily check-ups, during which your team would discuss what they accomplished and what they didn’t finish during the day. This is a good way to find weak spots in your team’s work and also set work priorities for the next working day.
- Have your team report about their daily accomplishments. You can create a reviews page, where your team will update their daily progress.
Indeed, telework has a lot of benefits, but it’s hard to get used to, as you are surrounded by so many distractions. That is why it is important to hold your team accountable for the work they have to finish during the day. By tracking their productivity, you remind them of their responsibilities, as they will have to report about their achievements on a daily basis.
3. Don’t Be Afraid to Over-Communicate
You may associate over-communication with micromanagement, thus, it is something that you should avoid by all means in remote team management.
However, over-communication helped Zapier, a web integration company, effectively manage their teams, when they completely switched their entire staff to remote work.
In an interview with YouTeam, Bryan Helmig, the CTO of Zapier, shared that one of the challenges was to get their marketing done right when they switched to the full remote mode. To make sure that they don’t make detrimental mistakes, they had to over-communicate the same issues several times a day.
How not to confuse over-communication with micromanagement?
Here, you need to keep in mind the following:
- Micromanagement indicates a lack of freedom. This means that management strips their staff of the right to make decisions.
- Over-communication is an approach to help your entire team track progress. It doesn’t mean that you will take the responsibilities of a team member and assign it to somebody else. You simply check in to see how they deal with the issue.
- Over-communication, unlike micromanagement, can be initiated by any team member if they feel the need to check the progress.
As you transition your team to telework, you will find that over-communication is unavoidable. You will probably have 4-6 meetings a day to check up on other team members.
At this stage, it is important to explain the necessity of over-communication to your team, indicating that it is important to make sure that the whole team remains productive. Over time, you will need less of over-communication, but it is an important step to organizing effective remote work.
Telework has become one of the challenges that businesses have to face during the coronavirus pandemic. Many of the companies found themselves completely unprepared to manage the whole teams that were forced to work remotely.
When it comes to managing a team remotely, it is crucial to have your team follow a precise schedule.
Teams have a lot of deadlines to keep up with, from content creation to managing data analytics. That is why, to make sure that your team keeps up with the workflow, you can arrange daily morning meetings to schedule your team’s day, as well as daily check-ups to track their progress.
Don’t be afraid to over-communicate at the initial stages of transitioning to remote work. Make sure that your colleagues understand the complexity of telework and are on board with you to make remote work as effective and productive as possible for the entire team.
About the Author
Daniela McVicker is a passionate digital marketer. Daniela is interested in everything related to SEO and blogging. She collaborates with many authoritative websites where she shares her experience and helps marketers make their names in the online world. You can check her last Topessaywriting review.
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