In the wake of COVID-19 the way teams are working is changing—fast. IT leaders are quickly amassing their remote workforce—all while some are managing their IT teams remotely for the first time. And IT teams and leaders have new priorities with a fresh sense of urgency on the front-of-lines in their response to help employers protect the health of employees and business continuity.
There’s a lot to manage between mobilizing and protecting your workforce, while focusing on digital transformation to meet this moment of disruption with future-ready innovation for whatever comes next. Now, how you lead your IT team remotely is mission-critical to keep your organization and your clients moving forward together past this pandemic.
And while working remote may be new to some organizations, according to Global Workplace Analytics, it’s saving employers over $30 billion a day in what would have otherwise been lost productivity and office closures. In the short term, it will help organizations through anticipated waves of the virus and social distancing. In the long term it could also prove some benefits for disaster preparation, sustainability and employee satisfaction.
Leading remotely is going to be a skill set IT directors and CIOs are expected to have moving forward. These five best practices can keep you ahead of the curve while giving your team members edge and purpose—wherever they are.
1. Use the right communication tools.
We get it—you’re in IT—so this might seem obvious. But keeping your IT team connected, motivated and making progress hinges on having the right collaboration technology in play to stay connected. That means video conferencing tools like Teams and Zoom for face-to-face interactions, a Unified Communications (UCaaS) platform that eliminates any disconnects, and convenient, flexible calling on cloud-based communications platforms like Ring Central.
2. Keep goals and deadlines clear.
Having clear, defined goals and direction is mission-critical to keeping your IT team performing in alignment and on target. Crush silos and maintain transparency around team goals with shared files and project management tools. Leveraging your unified communications platform can make it easy to collaborate and share project files—on and off conference calls—from anywhere.
Regular check-ins on the team with a focus on your overall strategy keep members engaged and prevent them from feeling isolated or losing momentum.
3. Engage your team members across mediums.
Keep in touch with your team throughout the work day and work week across mediums. Reach past their inbox. Start a group chat, create teams, groups or channels for file and messaging notifications using your integrated UCaaS platform. Message team members individually for separate touch points that let them know you see and value their work.
4. Meet on call, online and face-to-face.
Meeting on the team direction, shared goals and what’s coming next is important. Regular meetings keep team members engaged and interacting—not just with you—with each other. Make a point of scheduling regular one-on-one meetings with your direct reports—get team members on camera when you can to get in some meaningful face-to-face conversations.
Some team members may be resistant to regular meetings, but they’re important to keeping your department collaborative, responsive and agile. Encourage these types of engagement not just on your team, but cross-department from your IT department with others.
5. Ask for feedback—often.
Keep asking your team for feedback. Ask about their recent achievements, what they’re working on now and how you can help. What projects are they enjoying most?
Ask if they are encountering any roadblocks connecting with the right stakeholders or resources. Ask them how dynamics are between team members and members of other departments. Ask what challenges they see or are anticipating along the way—so you can proactively address issues before they become obstacles.
Ask about what they want to work on more and if they have ideas for digital transformation to support your organization. And finally, ask them how they are and how things are going in their world. There’s a human element that can get lost when you go remote—don’t let it.
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