Tips For Successfully Managing Remote Teams

There is no doubt that remote working has moved from being a trend to being more than just one at the moment. Companies across the world are now experiencing remote working as a necessity. The result of this development is that there are thousands of managers and team leaders who suddenly find themselves having to manage a completely remote team. It’s possible to be scared when you’re forced to do this for the first time. This is especially true if there was little time to prepare for it.

Here is a list of a few tips that will help you and your team to succeed if you are in that position:

Have Daily Check-In’s

It is advisable to arrange this one-to-one and to do it via video whenever possible. Talking on the phone, emailing, or using Slack is a bit limited in its effectiveness. If you want to engage your team properly, you need to be available. I am happy to say, however, that tools like Zoom or Google’s Team Hangouts make this relatively simple. The first time you do this, this should be every day for you. In order to achieve your goal, set an agenda and provide your team members with all the resources they need in order to complete their tasks.

Communication Needs To Happen All The Time 

Communication is something you should be doing with your team on a regular basis, it should go without saying. One of the most challenging aspects of working from home, especially if you’re used to an office environment, is that you can become lonely and isolated if you’re not used to it. That’s especially true when you consider the amount of social distancing that people practice these days. Whether it’s talking about the holiday party for remote teams or talking about the weekly targets, communication is key. 

Make The Most Of Technology

Your job as a manager is to ensure that your team is connected with one another. One of the easiest ways to accomplish this is using communication tools. Although using email and text messages as a short-term solution is possible, collaborating and communicating using tools like Slack or Microsoft Teams may be far more effective. Many of these tools are initially free, and some are so good they can be considered free.

Manage Expectations

Provide your team with realistic expectations regarding their work, and make sure they understand what they should do. By the way, you as a manager also have a responsibility to manage expectations. By clearly stating the tasks and explaining the reasons behind them, you will set yourself and your team up for success, and your team will understand how you will measure success as well.

Each task or project your team works on should have a defined scope, deadlines, and deliverables. If you don’t do this, you might be left wondering what everyone was doing in a few weeks’ time. 

Don’t Focus On Figures, Focus On Activity

It is impossible for a remote team to handle all the aspects of the job in the same way as a local team. In fairness to you, you shouldn’t be trying to manage every aspect of a team’s work, but that statement holds especially true when you’ve got an international team working remotely. Focus instead on measuring the outcomes of your team’s work and not the activity itself or the number of hours worked.

Resource Your Team

If you want your team to be successful, make sure they have the tools they need to succeed. You may find that you suddenly have a team of remote workers, which means that you have to provide them with tools such as laptops, software, or mobile devices, as well as high-speed internet. We cannot assume that everyone will possess all of those characteristics, and as a manager, it is your responsibility to encourage and ensure their presence. 

Be Flexible

It is crucial that you realize that your team is incredibly busy, especially in the current environment. The fact that you might not get things done isn’t an excuse, but rather a reason to rethink what productivity means in the first place. The eight-hour workday is a thing of the past. It is also highly unlikely that many people will be working regular hours in the future. Allow your team to get the work done when it helps them be most productive by giving them the freedom and flexibility to do so. They’ll be better off long-term that way.

This short guide should help you to successfully manage your remote teams. Do you have any other tips that you could share in the comments section below? 

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