According to Global Workplace Analytics, Offering to work remotely can bring more productivity. The future of work lies in the remote. While this may sound exciting to most of you but often it becomes difficult for many managers to come to grips with. As a manager, you may have trust issues with your team, but you need to evolve with time and adapt themselves according to the dynamic working trends.
Not just creativity and open-mindedness, managing a remote team requires a different skill set altogether. I’m enumerating 8 tried and tested tips to manage a remote team effectively.
- Communicate often and openly
Numerous remote work problems stem from poor communication. Well, it’s easy to let the communication part take a back seat, but it will hamper your productivity in the longer run. Even if you trust your team, being a manager, you need to communicate with them frequently. It doesn’t matter how many continents or oceans are between you or how erratic working in your subordinate’s time zone is, an honest, friendly, and open communication is vital to every healthy remote work culture.
You must update your remote workers about their progress and pitfalls regularly. This not only helps them stay on track but also enables you to monitor their work effectively. Set up one on one meeting through skype, slack, or any other communication tools. Invest time and efforts in bringing out friendly and unpressured communication which streamlines the process and at the same time keeps things subtle and human.
- Treat your remote team as local
Treat remote people as local. Let them access you. Remember, your remote team doesn’t engage with you physically— they aren’t playing darts or going on office lunches with you. You must do what it takes to bridge the communication gap. Respond to them as quickly as you can. Share your feedback and seek advice from them.
- Set expectations and boundaries right from the beginning
Remote work offers flexibility, but at the same time, it doubles your work in terms of setting boundaries. Make it a point to explain your team’s workflows, daily availability, and key contacts for each project. To utilize remote workers in the best possible manner, you need to establish clearly defined procedures and project management systems.
Consider the following things:
- Which collaboration tools will you use, or will you prefer instant messaging, video calling, or email?
- If your remote team is overwhelmed with work, how will you keep them motivated and engaged?
- How often do you want to communicate? Do you want to catch up regularly or at the end of the week?
- How can you better support a remote team?
- Focus on video coaching
In a lot of instances, your team might get stuck at a particular point in the project. In such a scenario, you need to educate them. Carry out training sessions through Zoom or any other such platforms. If you don’t do so, the remote employees might end up feeling clueless about their work.
- Inculcate mission, vision, and values
Since remote employees don’t get a chance to interact with you or other subordinates, they often lack the regular-office interaction. You need to help them get aligned with the organization’s vision, mission, and values as well as make them aware of the expected outcomes. This will help you maintain harmony and keep them motivated to work towards the common goal.
- Track team progress
Tracking employees is the key to sustainable and productive work, especially while working with remote teams. Time tracking is a simple and effective way of stabilizing and workflow of remote units. It enables you to find who needs more guidance and who are performing exceptionally well.
Time tracking is pretty useful for remote workers as well. By understanding how they use their time, they can avoid roadblocks, bottleneck workflow, and be in sync with other team members.
The best part-time tracking doesn’t add an extra hassle to your key responsibility area. There are automatic time trackers that help you follow what is on your plate and create timesheets for you in the backend.
- Remember their career paths as well
It’s easy to fall for the ideas of thinking your remote team as mercenaries to get things done. They are hired as employees and expect the same treatment. Just like the regular office-goers in the team, your remote employees also have goals and aspirations.
As a manager, you need to understand and help them achieve it. If you talk to them on a one on one basis, you’ll have a lot of time to talk about their development.
- Plan a get together at least once a year
Nothing beats getting everyone together in one place at one time. It builds rapport within a few days, which isn’t otherwise possible with people spread around the world. The exercise is pricey, but the ROI is pretty high. Such in-person team meetings energize people and widen up their thought process. It also invokes them to have discussions about the company’s culture.
Remote is going to change the future of work— Are you ready?
Managing a remote team is overwhelming but a pretty rewarding process. It helps you become a better as well as a future-ready manager. Remote employees come with their own set of challenges are problems. By understanding their issues and resolving them, you’ll not only inculcate empathy in your behavior but can also lead by example. Do your best to encourage your employees towards the common goal. Embrace remote!
This is Sharon Winget, Staff Writer with GoodFirms, a review and rating platform of top IT companies & software. A tech geek at heart, I firmly believe technology can transform societies. I enjoy blogging about web design, email marketing, and content marketing.