The manager’s guide to leading a remote team

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The manager’s guide to leading a remote team
Managers need to create a holistic strategy when it comes to empowering their employees in a remote setting.
Photo by Redd on Unsplash

Australians have grown accustomed to living throughout various government lockdowns.

And with over a year and a half of living in a pandemic, Aussies have familiarised themselves with remote working and its associated challenges, such as lack of motivation, increased stress levels, and the inability to navigate their work systems.

According the NSW Remote Working Insights report, 18 per cent of employees feel less productive when working remotely. Yet the same report found remote work is here to stay, with a 69 per cent increase from pre-pandemic levels, and with the ever-changing government lockdowns, business need to prepare for the future of this new way of work. Therefore, it is critical for business leaders to find ways to empower their employees to adjust to this new work environment.

While this new normal can cause feelings of isolation and diminish the ease of workplace collaboration, it creates an opportunity for managers to effectively lead their teams by adopting the right tools and technology to enhance productivity and boost collaboration.

How to adjust IT to enhance productivity and collaboration

Technology is the foundation of remote working. Therefore, implementing the right solutions assures better collaboration amongst employees, and ultimately increases productivity levels.

Video conferencing equipment is essential in providing colleagues with face-to-face interactions during meetings, with 59 per cent of Australians spending significantly more time on video calls over the past twelve months according to recent Uniphore research. It’s therefore crucial to provide best quality video and audio to enable productive, easy communications.

By utilising AI-enhanced, high quality personal video, your team can always be seen, regardless of where their meeting takes place. Advances in video technology have enabled features like intelligent zoom to ensure best framing, Picture-in-Picture capabilities to improve presentations, and automatic image enhancement and intelligent lighting optimisation to compensate for different environments.

Meanwhile, ensuring your employees are using professional-grade headsets instead of their internal laptop microphone or consumer grade earbuds enables them to be the best communicators they can be. Poor audio quality leads to miscommunication, disengagement, and reduced productivity. By equipping your team with the right tools for the job, they can spend less time repeating themselves and ensure they are heard first time, every time.

The correct technology enables better presentations, brainstorms, and conversations, easing many of the pain points Australians feel when using video communications. It can also provide a sustainable substitute for the lack of workplace banter that 77 per cent of Australians miss due to remote working as revealed in a recent report from Atlassian Research.             

Business leaders also need to be aware of their employees’ ideal collaborative working space, which is why humanising virtual collaboration is essential in creating an open environment for employees to feel that they have a way to make their voice heard. Yet, this is only half the battle when it comes to empowering remote working employees.

Time is of the essence

According to the same Atlassian report, Aussies find themselves working longer days from home compared to when they are in the office. Therefore, to achieve a better work life balance, business leaders need to consider the time gains offered by immersive collaboration technologies that are easy to use.

Providing employees with plug and play devices rather than complicated multi-step technology, allows for teams to congregate and collaborate efficiently and effectively. Not only will this support employee well-being, but also boost employee engagement and fulfil business leaders’ expectations of a strong working team.   

How to keep workplace culture alive

Creating an inclusive virtual collaborative space for employees is a manager’s responsibility. Establishing inclusive channels of communication enables employees to spend less time doubting their skills and more time delivering results and sharing innovative ideas.

There are several strategies business leaders can utilise to foster strong employee productivity to generate high performance:

1. Establishing multiple channels for open communication and involvement, such as virtual meetings and audio-only calls

2. Ensuring share of voice is equally distributed throughout meetings by actively guiding discussions.

3. Addressing the team dynamic by holding meetings where employees can speak openly

4. Using regular, anonymous surveys to gather insights into employees’ headspaces

Managers need to create a holistic strategy when it comes to empowering their employees in a remote setting. Enabling open communication and adopting immersive technology for an employee’s everyday work life makes for an engaged worker that ultimately has business leaders reaping the benefits.

Michael Downey is Country Marketing Director A/NZ at Jabra.

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