Quarantine. Over the last couple of months this word became key when it comes to our lives and our work. SupportYourApp, just like millions of other businesses across the world, has come to a decision to leave our cozy and beloved offices and start working from home, until the world pandemic dies down.
And we acted without any hesitation. We moved most of our consultants and management team to remote, all the while keeping the same level of service for our clients. Those who were not able to start working from home due to NDAs agreements, were covered their taxi fees and provided comfortable, safe and clean office environment to work in.
And at this time we were faced with another question — how to provide effective management to the teams that are working remotely from the office.
In this article, we'll cover:
Being an effective remote manager
There are several approaches on how to effectively manage the teams. But there is only a handful of them who are working with remote teams, which means that in order not to lose the quality of communication and to stay in tune with each other, we needed to get creative.
Although here it is worth mentioning that SupportYourApp are no strangers to remote mode. We have been working with remote consultants for years, which means that we didn’t come face to face with something we previously had no expertise in. We just had to spread what we have already been implementing onto almost all our consultants and managers.
⁉️ How to be an effective leader and manager? There are several practices and steps that we took in order to provide our consultants with the best environment to work in. They are:
- smooth communication flow;
- approachability and friendly attitude;
- willingness to help and support;
- strong principles and customer centricity.
And we didn’t really see quarantine as the stray away from these points as this would prevent us from being effective managers, which could result in the drop in the quality of our services. And that is not something that we would ever be okay with.
What are the best remote management practices?
1. Value personal contacts
Working remotely means that there is no possibility to communicate with your team face to face. And through this time of social distancing we have learned to value personal contacts and personal communication. After all, they are at the core of effective team management.
Here we have come to rely on:
- Asana — gives us the possibility to follow and track the progress of every task of every remote team member.
- Slack — instant messaging for smooth communication flow and light-hearted conversations.
- Google Hangouts and Zoom — these provide us with the possibility not only to see one another and conduct daily meetings, but also to do sports, meditate and discuss books we have read.
2. Some meetings can (and frankly should) be emails
Now it seems like eternal wisdom and it is weird that we have lived without it in the past. Even though constant meetings can help us better understand day-to-day flows and processes of every member of the team, it is better for our time to differentiate between what is really important and worth the meeting and what can be said via email.
🌟 Side note: it might be a bit hard to let go of the habit of meetings, but it is a crucial part of establishing effective time schedules and motivating your teams to take ownership of their work.
3. There is a need to track the time
No matter how well and long the remote teams have been working, there is still a need to supervise the performance and the time management of everyone in the team. For that we have been using Zoomshift. It is a clock-in and -out system that we have implemented in our everyday processes long before the quarantine.
What lessons are we going to carry out into post-quarantine processes?
1. 🕰️ Daily catch-ups
During this period, even though we have come to embrace emails even more, we fell in love with our morning catch-up routine. Every day SupportYourApp teams connect via Google Hangouts and talk about their professional and personal plans for the day. It helps us stay in touch with each other and it proved to be on the most efficient team building tools while working on remote.
2. 💬 Getting rid of communication barriers
How can one manage an office effectively if there are communication barriers and no smooth communication flow between the teams and is individual members? Even though we have never had this question before, now we know for sure — we are never going to come across it, as working remotely has helped us fully understand how to talk to each other in order to be on the same page and to get rid of communication barriers altogether.
3. 📚 We will go on with our personal development
While being self-isolated is not an easy task, we have come to embrace it. And yes, it is true, we have always been pro-personal development (how else could we improve our customer support skills?), but during quarantine our thirst for knowledge and improvement has tripled! And it is very unlikely that this yearning is going to go away any time soon.
Yes, we are going to go on with reading the books, watching seminars and webinars and listening to various podcasts. The more we develop, the better services we will provide and that is really our goal.
What does being an effective manager mean?
Can one really give it a definition? Well, an effective manager is a manager who listens and knows all the answers. It is the one who, even while working remotely from the office, can spot signs of burnout and prevent it. Not only they are driven to develop themselves, but they also push others to get new skills and new knowledge. Effective management always reflects in the performance of the support teams, which raises the overall level of UX and can influence the entire life of the organization.
Developing and building an effective management team is a crucial step, but it is important to understand that it is just one of many on the way of becoming the best customer support service in the market.