If you’re wondering how to manage a remote team successfully, you have to know where to start. Maybe you want to take a preventative approach and put structures in place for employees and colleagues to help them feel seen and heard. On the other hand, you might already be able to pinpoint signs of distress in your team. Either way, both are excellent opportunities to do better in a remote situation.
Read on for 11 tips on how to manage a remote team without sacrificing how you do work.
Let’s face it, there’s always going to be a challenge when dealing with a dispersed team. Consider some of the most common challenges you might currently be facing:
- Not enough face to face interaction, supervision or management
- Limited accessibility to information
- Social isolation and minimal exposure to office culture
- Lack of access to the proper tools (home office supplies, device, wifi, office, etc.)
- Pre-existing issues that have become magnified
If you want to be a manager who leads the way for your team to work collaboratively and excel at not only their jobs but as a cohesive unit, here are a few tips to bridge the gap:
1. Touch Base – Daily
At first, it might feel like overkill but for managers overseeing a remote team, this is an important habit. It can be as simple as an email, message via text or Slack, or a phone call. Video conferencing is also taking over as the preferred method of communication. Try a 15-minute face-to-face interaction and see how that works to establish easy trust and connection.
(alt-tag: Woman diligently working on laptop in contemporary-styled workspace with stylish touches, and plant in background.)
2. Communicate Then Communicate Some More
These daily check-ins are great for simple up-to-date information exchanges but when it comes to delegating tasks and checking in on responsibilities, top notch communication is critical. Especially if employees are remote and there’s new information, clear concise communication needs to take precedence. This could look like sending an email when the project management tool has been updated with an urgent task or setting up an online meeting when the client’s brief changes and the team will undoubtedly have questions.
3. Rely On Technology
Going digital means choosing technology that empowers how you manage a remote team with communication. Tools like project management and video conferencing might have a learning curve and take a little time to adapt, but the benefits down the line outweigh the initial “getting used to” phase. Choose a video conferencing platform that is easy to set up and browser-based, and comes with multiple features and integrations.
4. Agree On The Terms
Establishing communication rules and best practices early and often lets managers lead with confidence and gives employees a container to work within. Get clear on expectations regarding frequency, time availability, and mode of communication. For example, emails work well for introductions and follow ups, meanwhile instant messaging works better for time sensitive issues.
5. Prioritize Outcomes Over Activity
When people aren’t convening in the same office or location, each individual is contained within their own environment and conditions. By handing over the reins in regards to achieving desired results, it’s about providing the clearly defined goals that allow them to do so without your micromanagement. A plan of execution can be defined by the employee as long as everyone agrees on the end result!
6. Determine The WHY
While it might seem like a justification or explanation, the “why” actually emotionally charges the ask and connects employees to their mission. Just keep this in mind when the project changes, the team transforms, the feedback isn’t positive. Always have the “why” at everyone’s top of mind awareness.
7. Include Necessary Resources
Is your team outfitted with the best tools and resources possible? Critical tools include wifi, a desk chair, office supplies. But take it a step further and provide other resources that could benefit everyone like better headphones for video conferences or a speaker for louder, clearer sound.
8. Identify And Remove Barriers
Physical and emotional isolation are real. So too are at home distractions, deliveries, fire alarms, kids at home, etc. As a manager, you can help to identify what obstacles are starting to come up by having a good hard look to predict what might get in the way of an employee’s productivity and responsibilities, like restructuring, lack of support or resources, the need for more interaction and facetime.
9. Engage In Social Activities
Virtual pizza parties, online “show and tell,” happy hours, lunches and coffee breaks spent using video chat might seem forced but these hangout sessions have proven to be very helpful. Don’t underestimate the value of small talk and exchanging simple pleasantries. They can go a long way to establishing trust, improving teamwork and creating connections.
(alt-tag: Woman checking her phone seated at table in modern white kitchen working in front of laptop beside fridge and close to wall)
10. Promote Flexibility
As we continue to work from home, it’s important for managers to practice patience and understanding. Every employee’s working environment is not only different than it once was, there are now other factors and different allowances that have to be accounted for. Things like kids running around, pets that need to go out for a walk midday, taking a call with a crib in the background or roommates walking through.
Flexibility also refers to time management and time shifting. If meetings can be recorded or if hours can be made up later to accommodate an employee’s situation then why not be a little more lenient?
11. Show You Care
In the grand scheme of things, working from home is still a process everyone is still getting used to. Some of the workforce might head back to the office, while others may take on a hybrid approach. In the meantime, acknowledge what’s real for the employee in regards to their stress. Invite conversation and maintain a sense of calm when things get chaotic.
With Callbridge, the possibilities to stay in touch with your team near or far are plenty and it starts with video conferencing that creates connections. Use Callbridge to provide your team sophisticated technology that unites employees and gives them a solution to expedite quality work. Successfully manage your team remotely when you instil a culture of collaboration.