Today the question of managing a remote team is, for many, a must. Even though the current pandemic won’t, with any luck, last forever, the realities of an increasingly remote workplace are likely here to stay.
Luckily, there are simple ways to effectively manage remote teams that can lead to more productivity while maintaining high morale and group camaraderie.
We’ve been living the experience of employees working remotely (that is, workforces that are physically separated) and managing remote teams. This is what we’ve found.
How to manage remote employees
Remote employees face a plethora of problems that traditional in-office employees simply don’t.
For one, remote employees often face more pressure to perform. Though studies show that the remote workplace is, in many cases, more productive, it can also feel unsustainable.
Challenges of managing remote employees
Remote employees, stuck at home, often face the problem of isolation. They may feel they are unable to escape the workplace and find there is no support from others.
Furthermore, the question of how much work to ask for and when to ask for it can lead many employees to feel overworked. This, again, can result in burnout.
Finally, remote employees will face a good deal more distractions, which is one of the main factors that affect productivity. Working parents, especially, have a lot going on.
Tips for managing remote teams
When you manage a remote team, communication is critical.
Your team needs to feel seen and heard: if they think they have support from you and their colleagues, their work will inevitably improve.
Remember the 5 C’s of team management and encourage team members within the cohort that is your team. For the uninitiated, the 5 C’s are:
Especially in a world of disembodied zoom communication, being highly conscientious about adherence to the 5 C’s can make the difference between a burnt-out and highly inspired team.
Here are other ways you can manage remote workers in a remote environment:
Establish clear expectations and goals
Ensure everyone is on the same page and understands what is expected of them. This will help ensure everyone is working towards the same objectives and completing tasks on time.
Stay in touch with your remote team
Regular communication is critical to keeping everyone on the same page and promptly completing tasks.
Utilize weekly team meetings, email, and other communication tools to stay connected with your remote team.
Recognize your leading remote teams
Make sure to provide timely feedback on tasks and recognize team members for their hard work. This will motivate your remote team and ensure everyone works towards the same goals.
Provide the right tools and resources
Everyone must have access to the right tools and resources to complete their tasks.
This will help ensure that tasks are completed on time and that everyone works towards the same objectives.
Finally, creating a sense of community among your remote team is crucial. Make sure to provide opportunities for team members to connect and build relationships.
This will create a sense of camaraderie and ensure that everyone is working towards the same goals.
How do you collaborate effectively if your team is remote?
It’s important enough that we’ll say it again: the number one most crucial element in remote team collaboration is communication.
Every team member of your firm needs to be on the same page at the same time. After the whole corporate world went virtual in March of 2020, reports found that successful teams spent 10% more time in conferences.
In a traditional business, conversations happen in the hallways; you can pop over to your subordinate’s desk if you forgot something.
This isn’t possible in a remote workplace. You’ll need to have highly organized meetings in a remote workplace, use any number of the many remote team management tools, and have plenty of emails.
Performance management for remote workers
If you’re more of a hands-off team leader, you may need to become more hands-on. Because of the isolation that can come with remote work, feeling seen and heard can be important for individual employees.
Gauge morale through one-on-one zoom calls. If your subordinate feels their team leader watches with care and understanding, their work will inevitably improve.
Remote team management tools
As we’ve hinted at above, you’ll need to up your team-wide communication skills. Use Google Docs and Google Sheets. Try Google Jamboard as well: this is a very effective team management tool.
Furthermore, be sure to check in with your employees via email and Zoom regularly. Aim to be more flexible with deadlines to give your employees a chance to adjust to remote work.
More importantly, promote a work-life-balance in your virtual environment.
Building your own remote team
Managing a remote team is difficult, but it doesn’t need to be akin to inventing the wheel. Even though the remote work arrangement has been going on for a while, it is still considered a new territory for most companies.
There’s no secret formula to perfectly managing and collaborating with a remote team. It takes more effort to handle a team that is miles apart from each other compared to handling one inside an office.
Several challenges arise in remote working that could greatly affect the performance of the remote team members, such as distractions and poor connection. In some cases, the equipment they use can also become a burden.
To be four steps closer to effectively managing remote teams, remote managers should prioritize:
- Better communication
- A bit of flexibility
- Good tools
- Resilient workforce
Moreover, developing empathy and teamwork is essential in strengthening the relationship of the team, so they will be ready to face tougher challenges ahead.