The shift from face-to-face meetings to conference and video calling has also seen an increased dependency on trust and accountability in the project team landscape. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, many project managers traveled a lot for meetings and events but now join conference calls and social gatherings from their computers.
For some teams who are spread out in different cities or time zones, the change might not have been so drastic, but it’s important when managing projects remotely to communicate with your team effectively. Here are simple, useful tips for better remote project management.
The world of project management is constantly changing, and the way we work has dramatically changed in the last few months due to the coronavirus pandemic. If you’re a project manager who has been thinking about upskilling, now is the best time to do it. There are many courses available, such as the Project Management Professional Certification or refresher courses for those who have already taken it. Upskilling is a manager benefit not only yourself but also your team, as it will teach you new strategies and collaboration methods that you can implement with others.
Encourage your employees to learn something new too. According to a study conducted by Degreed, 55 percent of workers wanting to learn a new skill turn to their peers first. To motivate your team to learn from their colleagues who may have expertise in computer programming or graphic design. Half an hour a week can make a difference and is an excellent way to increase socialization between team members.
When working remotely, more frequent communication as well as creative ways to stay in touch with the project team and customer will be required of the project manager. While regular meetings and emails are a must, project managers need to find other ways to communicate with employees, such as team discussions that aren’t necessarily directly related to work but could be about what’s happening in your area or region, sharing isolation activities or company updates. Quick status updates with customers are vital, so they know how projects are tracking and whether any delays have occurred.
It’s vital during this period of uncertainty that management is as transparent as possible with staff to build trust. Working environments that are transparent have been found to make teams happier and work more cohesively.
Trust the people you hire
Transitioning to remote work is easy when project managers already have trust in their team. If you already have a robust and dedicated team, then half the battle is already won.
Project managers should take the time to get to know each of their team members individually, especially if someone has started at the company recently. Find out their goals, personalities, work habits, and work preferences so that when you assign tasks, you have a good grasp of what their strengths and weaknesses are. Additionally, find out what skills they want to develop, as upskilling is far more efficient than recruiting.
Encourage team morale
Remote teams are comprised of people from different backgrounds and experiences, so it’s management’s job to create the right kind of atmosphere for them to thrive. Reward and recognition are one way – when someone does something well, put out a message to the team!
Teams that celebrate each other’s successes have a much better team culture, and as a result, work better together. Project managers can also arrange for team members to have one-on-one calls as a way to build camaraderie.
Be open to feedback
Give employees opportunities to provide useful feedback to the company and be willing to take it on board. Some staff might not feel comfortable giving honest feedback for fear of reprisal, so allow responses to be anonymous.
Given that some people aren’t used to working remotely or might not feel as motivated due to lack of social interaction or other reasons, even performing a survey to see if staff need someone to talk to makes employees to feel cared for and valued.
Annie-Mei Forster is a Communications Specialist at Anywise. Anywise is a Certified B Corporation consulting firm that offers an alternative to large multinational consulting ethically and sustainably.