Today’s norm is remote work. Whether it’s loved or hated, it’s here. Corporations have adopted. Workers are expecting remote work privileges. It’s the present as much as the future in many different business and technology categories. Managing remote employees requires a combination of things, including a strong team lead, expert-level strategies, and easy-to-use team collaboration software.
Here are the best tips and strategies on how to manage remote teams.
How to Manage a Remote Team
As a team leader, you manage the project you’re given and the team members under you. This can require some flexibility. Different team members will need different approaches to succeed. Even if you’re experienced in managing remote work, it’s important to be open to new strategies and ways to motivate the people on your team.
Here are some responsibilities when managing a remote team:
Define Each Team Member’s Role
Your entire team should know not only what they, individually, are responsible for but what others are tasked with. They should know who to go to for assistance, where to submit work, and what time frame you expect work to be done in. Each team member should have clear directives on what’s expected of them.
Trust Your Team Members to Perform
Someone working remotely does not want to be micro-managed, and, for a team lead, it would be a waste of one’s time to try. Trust your remote team. Give them the space to work.
At the same time, have clear metrics to judge whether the work is getting done. Hold remote workers accountable. If they perform well, let them keep at it the way they are and focus on macro-management strategies across a project.
Encourage Team Members to Collaborate
Remote teams can sometimes feel like you have a bunch of individuals working independently rather than as a team. Whenever possible, have team members work together. Have them cross-pollinate their work by sharing ideas and collaborating on tasks.
You don’t want to undercut productivity by having a task done by two people when one will do it. That said, encourage communicating back and forth through project management software. Keep things open and friendly.
Remote Team Technology
When someone is working remotely, they may sometimes get lost, have questions, or you may need to get an update from them. All communications should be routed through digital workplace software. This way, you have a hub from which you can trade instant messages, video conference, assign tasks, and manage projects.
Here are some best practices with remote team technology:
Email & Other Tools
You don’t need every team member to have their email window open any more. Team collaboration or project management software can be done via these channels. Eliminate email. Eliminate any programs you don’t need. Having everything under the same software banner makes information easier to find and makes remote work efficient.
Training & Resources
A sure way to reduce productivity is to keep your remote team from the tools and training they need to complete their work. Make sure your teams have what they need. If you are being asked for certain tools or resources regularly from team members, that’s a sign that perhaps additional training is needed on software, hardware, and more.
The best thing a team lead can do is support, support, and support. Empower your team! They will thrive if you have the right people.
Remote Team Evaluation
You won’t be able to look across the floor and see all your workers doing their work. What you do have, however, are metrics. This may be deadlines, how much work a team member is expected to average per hour, specific project tasks that can be assigned several hours, or something similar. A remote team needs to understand what you measure to judge performance.
Here are some communication tips with your remote team:
Questions and Updates
Let’s say, once weekly or bi-weekly, have a video call with all team members. This is where you outline how a project’s going, acknowledge the hard work of certain individuals in the group, provide updates, and assign tasks. It’s also a place where team members can ask questions, provide updates to the other group members, and make suggestions or exchange ideas.
Reward Team Members for Good Work
Working remotely can occasionally feel isolating, especially with new team members. Be sure to publicly recognize good work. This can be done on regular check-ins or by sending a group message through team collaboration software. Doing so will keep team members engaged and motivated to continue their work. Public recognition is very, very important in remote work.
Respect in Your Communications
Your team is made up of human beings. You don’t want them feeling like they’re just a number. In all of your communication with your team members, make them feel like they’re respected, always be kind, and don’t hesitate to build a personal connection with them when an opportunity presents itself.