The Covid-19 virus has disrupted and rearranged the workplace with breathtaking speed. In the span of a week, organizations across every sector have sent millions of employees home to work remotely. Without warning — and in many cases, without preparation of any kind — managers have been thrust into the position of leading virtual teams, many for the first time.
It’s challenging enough to manage yourself in quarantine without face-to-face human interaction and the structure of a typical workday. Now add to that the task of managing a team under those conditions, especially when you’ve never done it before. It’s daunting.
Pressurized conditions, heightened uncertainty, and an overall sense of dislocation make it even more difficult. Under quarantine, every aspect of the manager’s role is magnified and complicated. You’ll need to reset expectations for how work gets done and adapt your management style to a new context.
To help managers who are new to this — or even experienced managers who need additional guidance in these trying times — here are the best recommendations for supporting continued learning and the emotional well-being of your employees.
Reset your expectations. Most teams are socialized and accustomed to synchronous work and standardization. They work together, located in the same office, under the same working conditions, with the same work schedule. In a quarantined environment, managers must help their teams shift immediately to asynchronous work and personalization. You’ll need to reset expectations for how work gets done, letting go of when and how tasks are accomplished, allowing team members to accomplish their responsibilities on their own terms. This means focusing on results and offering more flexibility.