Some suggestion for working with your remote team (they apply to your onsite team as well)

It is far more valuable to track results.

Organizations have found many ways to record and track people’s time while working. From having your team fill out an Excel Spreadsheet, using online time tracking software, using programs that randomly capture screenshots or mouse movements. There is now a cottage industry for getting around these systems. You may feel like you are tracking the hours’ someone is online and where they are going while online but not really. The more advance a system is to track time the more a remote worker can find ways to get past that. Additionally, you must give a fair amount of your time to check their time activities.

What you can do instead:

You can measure productivity based on task completion and quality. As you measure the quality of the task to be completed each day, week, or month, your staff will find it difficult to do anything but deliver the work on time and with quality. If you do require hourly reports for billing, research the average hours it takes to complete a task and inform your team of your expectations. As a Leader, you should look for ways to improve productivity and not how much time has passed.

Create a clear communication plan.

You will need to set up a strict communication plan that must be followed. For example: have a 30-minute team meeting every Tuesday from 11:30 to 12. (stick to it) Have a 15 minute one on one meeting with individual employees weekly. (stick to it) Remote workforces require better and sometimes more frequent communication with the organization. Make sure that you always have an agenda written for your meetings. Finally, make sure your communication plans work for all involved. Especially yourself.

Further suggestions:

Set up a rule around response time to a meeting request, chats, and email during business hours.
Employees need to warn their supervisors if they are going to step away from their desk for family emergencies.
 Remember those same rules apply to you.

Be understanding

Everyone needs to be understanding especially you as a leader. Working at home especially in this environment means kids are at home instead of in school, demanding your direct reports time and attention. At the time of this writing, more than 45,000 people have died in the United States alone. A leader must understand that these issues and more will create problems with the quality of work. As we have said in many workshops you should always remember that there is positive intent behind the actions of your direct reports.

Use the right tools.

What is the best tool for your organization? You have a large range of choices, Microsoft Teams, Slack, Google Hangouts, Zoom, and many more options. You must decide what is the best tool for your team. Tools that provide your organization with the security it needs. Tools that provide the opportunity for your team to connect.

Your tools must be intuitive, secure, scalable, and not overwhelming in terms of features. They must be easy to use.

One last note for all Leaders:

Do not forget to breathe.