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EBA: Mastering the distance management in the new reality of doing business

29 Sep, 2020
EBA: Mastering the distance management in the new reality of doing business

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What is a new reality of doing business and how it can help to make work processes more flexible with the use of digital instruments? How does the long-distance leadership look like? And what makes an ideal employee for distance management? Find the answers in the Blog of Kateryna Morozova, EBA Southern Ukrainian Office Team Lead. 

Today, all the companies faced a new reality of doing business that requires quick changes and flexibility. So, first of all, the business encountered the necessity to organize remote workplaces for their employees. Creating additional motivation for team members appears to be the second important component of the transformation process in the new reality. But how can you be sure that the employees are able to maintain their efficiency and productivity in the physical absence of a manager nearby? How to understand that you are ready to lead a remote team? And how to organize effective and coordinated work of the team outside the office?

So, to understand the dynamics of HR policies within the businesses in Ukraine, the European Business Association (EBA) conducted an express survey during the quarantine. According to the EBA member companies, 59% are ready to resume their work in compliance with all the rules of personal protection if the restrictive measures in the country are lifted. At the same time, 41% would still like to work remotely, even if it means a decrease in income. 

Also, according to Gallup research (USA), 59% of employees prefer to continue working remotely, 41% — want to return to work, 55% of employers — will allow their employees to work remotely more often than before COVID-19, and 54% — ready to change their current job to the one that will allow them to work remotely. The explanation for this is obvious as the remote mode include such advantages as time and cost efficiency, convenience, flexibility in choosing a schedule, and place of work. However, some disadvantages still come along the way. For instance, the business may lack some technical or managerial preparedness for such a shift as its staff lacks proper qualifications. Moreover, the corporate culture, as well as customer expectations may suffer in this case. 

In fact, the decisive role in the work of a remote team depends on the motivation and the ability to self-organization which stems not only from the personal and professional goals of the employee, but also from a well-constructed system of motivation and encouragement. Thus, before you decide how to get remote employees to work harder and better, you need to have a clear understanding of their goals, values, and incentives. It can be the dream of recognition, financial well-being, or professional advancement, and so on. Use inquirers such as M. Landsberg, E. Shane, E. Milman, Sopov and Karpushina, etc. for this purpose, or involve assessment centers like Harrison Assessments, Office 360, and others alike to get profound research. After all, only an individual approach can be key to the success of the remote team. 

Therefore, there is a set of qualities and competencies that identify the ideal ‘’distance candidates’’. These are disciplined, ambitious, result-oriented people who have high motivation to achieve goals. They can offer solutions, as well as work and make decisions independently. Besides, the ideal candidates are eager to learn modern programs and tools for online work. 

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After forming your virtual dream team, we recommend that managers test themselves on the managerial and other professional qualities (competencies) to work with their employees online. To this end, we have prepared a readiness checklist for remote team management: 

You are result-oriented. It does not matter to you how much time the employee worked - 7 hours, 6 hours, or 2 hours. The main thing is the productivity and the completion of all tasks upon the defined deadlines. 

You know how to unite, praise, and inspire. Every employee is an individual, therefore the approach to each person should be also individual. Someone needs to be directed more often, some needs for more control while other need to be given complete freedom. Try to be flexible because it is impossible to apply one style of management. 

You have a cool mission & you know how to lead. And you are happy to share your vision and involve team members in the strategic planning of the company. 

Ready to automate and change everything. You will need to learn how to organize differently, all the planners and meetings that you previously held only in the office, for example, online. Everything should be transparent, clear, and well-documented. 

Besides, one of the important issues when organizing a remote team is to increase the level of motivation and responsibility of its members. That is why try to apply the effective tips mentioned below: 

Involvement. A clear understanding of the company's goals and priorities helps form a strategic vision and broaden the team's vision. Therefore, employees should focus on key issues, and thus you need to form in them the idea that their work contributes to the great goal of the organization so that your team begins to work as a single solid unit. 

Fixation of processes in time. Clear workflow management begins with defining the day and time of regular checkpoints and internal communication. Also, be sure to set clear deadlines for your current tasks, prioritize them, and stay in touch. 

Autonomy. Give employees the opportunity to offer their ideas. In this way you will help each member of the team to feel involved in the implementation of major strategic tasks of the company and increase the responsibility of the employee for the quality of work and focus on results. 

Open results monitoring. Reporting will help capture all processes and analyze the work of each team member. Reports can be daily, weekly, personal, etc. 

Take care... about the team, even while staying online. Particularly, care about their state of mind and mood. This role can be taken over by the internal HR, as well as the lead manager or business owner. 

Weekly thanksgiving plans. It is important to focus your people's attention on the best moments and express gratitude for specific actions or knowledge that the employee has learned this week. After all, it is important for each team member to feel their value. Especially in conditions of physical absence nearby. 

Personal employee development plans. This tool may be more strategic but use personal plans to understand who is in front of you, what goals the person is setting for himself, and track the progress. 

Informal communication. Try to meet with your team informally at least once a week. It can be a culinary master class, a coffee party, or dancing online. Informal communication will help fill gaps in communication and reboot your relations. What is more, you may find a lot in common between you and your team. 

Trust and responsibility. These are supportive pillars of any team, especially the remote one. A high level of trust is usually formed if the employee is sufficiently self-motivated and responsible. And the responsibility stems from the understanding of the goals of the organization, deadlines, etc. 

As you can see, if you want to build a productive and motivated remote team, you should pay attention to its strategic planning. Also, do not forget that this transformation is the area of your responsibility as a Team Lead. 

Anyway, we wish you to use this challenge as a possibility to build your Dream Team while keeping up with the modern online tendencies without giving up the habitual and usual offline rituals. We know for sure that the work life out-of-the-office can bring to you a new life experience and widen your horizons! 

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Kateryna Morozova, Team Lead of EBA Southern Ukrainian Office

EBA Odesa

EBA Odesa

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