How to master managing flexible teams
This time last year many organisations started moving to remote working models as a result of the pandemic and we recommended some tips to help managers keep a remote team motivated. One year on, with more flexible working options potentially on offer, will this advice still stand?
Flexible Working Options
One of the biggest outcomes of the past few years is the shift in perception of remote working and the desire for flexible working options. With many online polls and surveys asking similar questions around what people would prefer, from being fully remote to half and half or back into the office, ultimately the responses all seem to say the same thing - people want to be able to choose.
There are many approaches to flexible working currently being considered across businesses, from hybrid approaches to staggered or compressed hours, to fully remote ways of working. Some companies have already declared their stance, but many are still weighing up the options and impact. Regardless of whatever route is taken, it is becoming one of the deciding factors in a candidate choosing to work with you over a competitor.
Managing Flexible Teams
So, how will managing flexible teams be different from remote teams?
With your team potentially being in different locations on different days, unless stated as part of your policy or preferred method as a manager, you will need to ensure your team is clear on both their own objectives and the teams’ objectives.
Soft skills will remain essential in a flexible model to ensure you foster a positive team culture and help your team develop and achieve their goals.
An option could be having your team attend the office on a Monday morning, to set your objectives/goals for the week and for any company updates. Alternatively, virtual team meetings worked very well during the peak of home working, and this is something that could continue as restrictions ease and offices open.
2. Trust and autonomy are key
This remains a crucial piece of the management puzzle in today’s world. If your team prefers to work from home and you prefer to work in the office, you will need to be able to trust them to be able to decide on where they want to work. Distrusting or trying to micromanage your employees could have a detrimental effect on team morale and your employee’s happiness.
3. Team spirit
As the world begins to re-open, the ability to meet your team in person becomes more likely. Being prepared and taking your team’s feelings into consideration is key, as some may not feel comfortable meeting or socialising in busy environments. So, a one-size fits all approach won’t work, and instead, instilling a sense of closeness and fairness to all team members will boost the wellbeing of and confidence within the team.
Where you can, opting for virtual solutions like video calls for your home-based colleagues will help build a healthy team culture. However, if your team is all going to be in the office and are comfortable doing so, coffee breaks and restaurant lunches could be the perfect team bonding activities!
As we mentioned in our remote management article, while team communication is vital, the communication you have with team members one-to-one is just as important. Everyone needs to feel that you are personally involved, giving of your time, and invested in their progress and achievements.
4. Recognition for a job well done
Recognition is a key factor in the motivation and commitment of a team. Whether by creating an incentive, a collective challenge, or exceeding targets, make sure to congratulate and recognise the hard work of your employees.
Adapting to new ways of working
Managing remotely is a difficult exercise, but people and companies had to adapt to survive, and with multiple flexible options available now, managers will have to work even harder to create strong team units. However, we hope that these tips will help you to feel more confident in building a motivated and successful team wherever they are based.
For any other advice from our expert consultants, please contact us!