As staff who can work from home continue to do so across Malaysia, managers may find it challenging to continue ensuring their team’s wellbeing is cared for and productivity maintained. Tom Osborne, Managing Director at Hays in Malaysia, believes that a few changes in management style are enough to keep a team connected and motivated through this time. He offers six best practice tips that could help them better manage their teams remotely for now and the near future:

  1. Account for personality

“Some individuals need constant access to their boss to feel secure and satisfied,” says Tom. “This is a concern which can be more difficult to alleviate when working remotely, which is why managers should try to encourage such employees to be more self-motivated and independent.”

“It’s not about leaving them to fend for themselves, they just need to know that support is there for them when they need it and be encouraged to initiate more two-way communication.”

“There are also individuals who will be more likely to struggle when managing their time effectively and are less likely to check in with their manager. If this is the case, follow up with the individual, see why they may be struggling to manage their time and arrange a plan or check-in schedule to help them adapt to working from home for an extended period.”

  1. Use the right tools to communicate

“Good communication is even more key when working from home and having the right tools is important to ensure that everyone can stay in touch easily and get the information they need,” advises Tom.

“This means using tools such as Skype, Microsoft Teams and any video messaging apps to help with more open and face-to-face communications.”

“Remember to make sure everyone has access to and knows how to use the tools, which you can ensure with proper onboarding and training when an employee first joins the business, or through additional training and simple tutorials for existing workers.”

  1. Plug your knowledge gap

“When people are working outside of the office environment, they can lose sight of the wider business goals and aims, says Tom.

“They also lose a valuable point of reference in their colleagues for finding out what else is happening in the organisation. It goes without saying that it’s important your team fully understands what the business aims are. This is one of your key responsibilities as team leader.”

“Encourage communication as much as possible, whether it be between teams, between yourself and them or even between other departments or teams. Also advise your team to pay attention to any internal communications they are receiving, and make sure they are reading them.”

  1. There’s a time for work and play

“When communicating with your team remotely, you risk falling into the trap of only talking about work which can be de-motivating,” warns Tom.

“Imagine you were still in the office and think about all the things you would talk about with your team – make sure you are still continuing to do this. Keep things light wherever possible, arrange tasks and team building exercises making use of the technology at your disposal. Just because you’re all working from home, doesn’t mean you can’t have fun.”

  1. Delegate and trust your teams

“If you’re managing multiple remote workers or teams, it’s going to be impossible to infiltrate every aspect of their working day, says Tom.

That’s why delegation – although an integral tool for all leaders – is especially important to those whose employees are remote working. Try to delegate responsibility as much as possible and make sure you’re demonstrating trust in your workforce to get the job done between them, without too much oversight.”

  1. Be sensitive to schedules

“Right now, it’s important to make allowances for workers where possible, says Tom.

With only a brief window in the day for exercise or shopping, you must give your employees the freedom to decide when their breaks will be, how they will spend them and when they get back to work. Offer support wherever possible while also making deadlines clear.”

Tom concludes by saying, “As organisations in Malaysia slowly return to work, the lingering uncertainty still has many employees working from home. Learning how to effectively manage a team when working remotely will not only help managers tide through this difficult time but also adapt to new ways of working that may become the norm post the crisis.”


For more information and tips on working or job hunting from home or managing teams remotely, please visit our Inspire Me Remotely content hubs or sign up for Hays Thrive, a free online training portal designed to help employers and teams in Singapore grow the skills they need to function effectively and thrive in the face of Covid-19.