How To Manage A Newly Remote Team

How To Manage A Newly Remote Team

What’s one of the top benefits people look for when job hunting? Flexibility. People desire to work from home at least on a part-time basis.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, about one-quarter of the US population worked remotely at least part time in 2018. An analysis performed by Flexjobs and Global Workplace Analytics showed that remote work has exploded by 159 percent over the past twelve years.

And then there’s telemedicine. A Global Market Insights report found telemedicine was a $38.3 billion industry in 2018, with expectations to swell to $130 billion by 2025.

Think those numbers have changed much after the recent coronavirus made stay-in-place mandatory throughout the world? Us too.

Prior to 2020, two things stood in the way of telemedicine moving faster into acceptance than it was:

  • Patients embracing the process
  • Technology to make it all work

Suddenly, both are falling into place rapidly. As people learn to navigate this new frontier from all angles, it will be in demand like never before.

That means the work from home team you’ve put together on the fly may no longer be just for a few weeks. If they love it, and patients love it, maybe there’s a way to make this work on a more permanent basis.

There’s a lot about this process that very few of us were ready for. While it’s always preferable to spend time establishing clear policies, and creating advanced training to keep teams on track, sometimes life has other plans. If you’re suddenly managing a remote team, where do you start?

Look for guidance

This is new to everyone on the team. The good news is the rest of the team knows you’re making up the rules as you go along. Be transparent, and ask for feedback. The question “What do you need now?” can go a long way in keeping your team productive. Then hunt for the right level of guidance. Be prepared to hire experts who can help you develop every level of policy you need.

Develop interaction

One of the biggest complaints remote workers have is feeling isolated and alone. Without face to face interactions regularly, they begin to lose motivation, and slow production. This isn’t the time to assume the team can get their jobs done without a little push from you. Set times for regular meetings. Touch base both at the team and individual level. Make sure to ask what each team member needs, and respond accordingly.

Be ready to change to meet needs

When you’re in an office, you can read body language. If a team member comes in with a problem on their mind, you can usually sense it within the first few moments. You lose that when working remotely. What could be stopped with simple communication can now fester and build. Let everyone on your team know you’re available for both professional and emotional support, and be there when they need it most.

Know what your team is doing

When working from home, people look for easy ways to get things done. Easy doesn’t always equate with safest. That can quickly open up your practice to a whole host of security risks and violations. Pay attention to the tools your team is using. Be on the constant lookout for strategies that work - and those that don’t. Integrate new tools, especially security strategies, that can help everyone on the team stay safe. And avoid opening up your practice to unscrupulous behavior too.

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