03 May, 2021

How to create the ideal virtual management process in the WFH era

By: Cesilia Faustina

Working from home
As a manager, the working from home (WFH) protocol may be a bit of a challenge, especially if managing through the online sphere is not something you are used to. Fair enough, managing a team in person is hard enough, let alone remotely. Thus, the great dependency for online video calls these days (to the point where it gets annoying). Many teams forget that there is more to the work-from-home management than simply having video calls. Creating a healthy and comfortable work environment is crucial in making sure employees are doing the best to their abilities. And creating that environment is definitely possible, even remotely. Here are some tips to try and achieve it.

Utilize the organization tools available

If this were centuries ago, trying to track down an employee’s work progress may be quite difficult, but we now have a plethora of online and digital tools to help us get by. Zoom and other video call services are one of those tools. Since we are obviously utilizing those, we can always take it to another level. Many software tools out there support remote workflow that will make it easy for all organization to track and monitor their team. From things like clocking in to work to tracking projects, if all activities are recorded in the system, workflow would be more organized, and managers can stress a little less.

Software systems are definitely the best tools to utilize during these times. However, I understand that not all organizations have the capacity to use management software. This is where utilizing online tools come in. There are many free online tools that can be utilized to help out. Obviously, it will not be the same as utilizing business management systems and it will require more manual labour, but it will also be much better than nothing. Tools like online chat services (Skype, Zoom, etc.), spreadsheets (Google spreadsheets, Zoho, Numbers, etc.), and team management sites can help to pull the business forward.

Once the right tool has been chosen, it’s just a matter of integrating and having the team get used to it.

Try out time sheets

Now, as a WFH employee myself, not going to lie, time sheets can be so annoying to fill out, nonetheless it is needed. I would definitely recommend trying out time sheets for those WFH managers out there as it allows you to keep track of employee work progress and tasks. If you have software that can do this already, then great, but it is still better to have employees fill out a timesheet just so you and the employees themselves are aware of their progress. It helps to know what team members have been working on, on a daily basis. For employees, time sheets can be a great tool to monitor productivity levels within the week, as well as keeping track of the progress of tasks. While for managers, it is a great way to keep track of the employee’s task lists, see how they are progressing, and ensuring they are not under or overworked.

I suggest doing this on a weekly basis, where time sheets should be submitted at the end of the week with details of tasks within that week’s working hours; the same concept as what most freelancers do. I would even recommend the managers themselves fill in their own time sheets to monitor their own progress as well.

Building trust and comfort

Putting in the effort for team building exercises is also something to think about. Just because everybody is working remotely, does not mean people can not still make connections. Create online teambuilding activities and events, from games to skill sharing sessions, there are plenty of online activities to do with the workmates. By still maintaining a bond with the team, they will surely be able to work better and feel comfortable to work together, even in a remote situation. Perhaps try having one every month or something of that nature, depending on the company’s work progress of course, but it is very important to have these non-work-related moments with the team.

While we are on the note of building trust and comfort, I also believe that in times of WFH, it is important to have team meetings when necessary, but make sure not to overdo it. Many companies starting WFH are under the impression that they need to constantly have team meetings to keep employees connected with one another and monitor each other. However, that may actually have the opposite effect. In order to build trust amongst the team, everybody actually need to trust each other, which means not bothering the team with useless meetings. Have team meetings when necessary, as you would do when working in-person. As long as everybody are submitting tasks and deadlines, why hold them back with unimportant meetings?

Creating online support

Being on lockdown may be a hard situation to be in and it will affect everybody’s mental health. Make sure that you are aware of the teams’ mental health and if any are going through hard times. Try individually checking up on them once in a while and create an online support initiative, whether by yourself to your team or suggesting it to HR. If some people do not have a conducive working space from home, perhaps suggesting opening up the office only for limited people or for those having a hard time working from home. Ensuring the team is mentally safe is also a priority.

Of course, everything is easier said than done, but trust and connection can still be achieved through technology. Even though people are forced to work from home these days, the digital sphere can help us get through it, and managing a team should have the same quality directly or indirectly with some initiative and creativity.

Check out some of ESKADENIA’s enterprise management software for some handy WFH tools.

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