Supporting Teams Near And Far by Cindy Stradling CSL, CPC
In addition to the challenge of remote work, there is also the challenge of remote management and caring for workers. Project managers, department managers, business leaders, and team leaders not only have to do their jobs, but they also have the added challenge of supporting their remote team.
Support for remote teams, or even for local teams working from home, is a critical aspect of leadership in these very difficult times. It is a mistake to assume that working from home is easy or convenient for some team members. For some individuals, it may add significant stress, challenge, and difficulties. Having the necessary support in place to assist these individuals and to provide the services they need in these unusual times goes a long way in building your business’s brand and reputation.
Types of Support
Take a minute and think about the type of support your teams may require. A quick email asking for information on what remote workers need can be insightful and can provide invaluable information in focusing resources on the immediate needs of the workforce.
Most employers find remote workers benefit from:
- Tech support – online or phone tech support is essential throughout a work from home requirement. Tech support that is accessible and provides step-by-step help in getting into virtual meetings, managing access to apps and programs, and even in setting up hardware and software helps to reduce stress and frustration.
- Coaching support – providing coaching services to assist people in decision making, prioritizing tasks, managing stress, addressing fears and isolation issues, working through challenges, and in wellness and well-being aspects of life. Coaching can be offered by phone or through online programs, apps, or services such as Skype, Zoom, GoToMeeting, or similar programs. Coaching can be done on an individual basis or provided to the entire team to boost morale, the ability to work together towards common goals, and in helping people on the team to continue to feel connected.
- Counseling support – EPA programs or teletherapy options can be offered to team members experiencing emotional and mental health issues. Counselors provide online or by phone sessions to treat grief, depression, anxiety, addiction, or other issues that are very common in a crisis.
- Flexibility – team members may be working in homes with elderly family members, kids, and even family members with coronavirus. Finding ways to accommodate for various scheduling needs, including asynchronous communication, helps to reduce stress and anxiety in meeting the same deadlines and timelines as possible when people are at work and out of the home.
Responsiveness, understanding, transparency, and an open communication policy are also effective forms of support leadership can offer. In providing these options, a business demonstrates that they care for their employees, and this information becomes a part of the branding for the company moving forward. This can result in more employment engagement and loyalty for the long term.