6 Ways to Successfully Manage Your Remote Teams
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written by Bash Sarmiento
Remote teams can help organizations reduce expenses, increase productivity, and adapt quickly to changing business conditions. However, this new approach introduces new obstacles for managers previously trained inside the confines of the traditional workplace.
Remote work is different from regular, on-site work in some significant ways. While working remotely offers many compelling advantages, it also has certain drawbacks, such as a lack of clear expectations, poor communication, the absence of face-to-face supervision, and social isolation.
You can overcome these challenges by implementing effective remote work management strategies. Continue reading to discover six ways to effectively manage your remote teams.
Set Clear Expectations
Setting clear expectations is the first step in managing any team, remote or traditional. While each employee may have specific responsibilities based on their function, the entire team needs a set of rules to keep everyone on track.
Learning to manage a remote team begins with establishing clear boundaries and work standards that your employees must follow when working from home. Clearly communicate your expectations to your team. These expectations can be in the form of company culture, procedures, project guidelines, communication guidelines, and more.
Additionally, managers are expected to keep employees informed of changes within the business, policies, initiatives, and project progress, just as they would in a typical office environment. Keep in mind that while it’s important to monitor how successfully team members meet expectations, overly scrutinizing their activities may breed distrust.
Set Clear Communication Guidelines and Channels
Communication is critical for any form of team management, but it takes on a whole new meaning when managing a remote workforce spread around the world. All crucial conversations and decisions must be conducted online and shared with the right individuals.
Establish a reliable line of communication for managing remote teams. This is where you will notify your remote workers of important items such as project updates, schedules, deadlines, and resources. It’s vital to choose the right tools suited to your organizational needs. Consider if video conferences, phone calls, voice messages, emails, or texts are most appropriate.
Another effective management practice for remote teams is structuring work activities around your employees’ work hours. Be mindful of different time zones and work hours. When organizing a virtual meeting, make sure it’s announced far in advance and scheduled at a time that works for most participants.
Establish Processes to Manage Projects
While remote work requires each team member to manage their own tasks, this does not eliminate the need for a shared structure and process.
The best way to get optimum performance from each individual is to give them a goal and then the freedom to work in their own style. Trust your remote employees-assign them the task and hold them accountable for their results.
You don’t have to subject your remote workers to daily time or productivity trackers. If you find yourself micromanaging, there may be a bigger issue at hand. Keep your attention on results rather than the day-to-day activities. And make sure to recognize exceptional performance and contributions.
It is important to establish effective methods and task platforms early on. This does not only help in the management of projects involving several team members, but it also provides insight into task and project progress.
Project management tools like Asana, Basecamp, Monday.com, or Trello can help you manage tasks and larger projects more efficiently. Apart from process management, project management tools can help you with people management and workforce analysis.
It is also your responsibility to prevent employee burnout and promote a healthy work-life balance. Implement an effective leave management system that manages employee time-off requests with complete visibility and accuracy. Leave management also lets you prepare for absences in advance, ensuring that work is not disrupted.
Provide Resources and Training
Remote workers play a significant role in the success of any company-despite performing their tasks from different locations. Therefore, businesses should invest in their training and development as they do with regular employees.
Companies must provide their remote employees with adequate tools, be it learning content or training software. Offer essential resources to advance your employees’ careers, such as online training programs, upskilling courses, webinars, and eBooks. You can also provide self-paced modules through a Learning Management System (LMS), giving your employees the freedom and flexibility to complete training on their own time.
Embrace Cultural Differences and Encourage Interaction
A multicultural team broadens your perspective on the world and teaches you how to work together to solve challenges. To manage an international workforce with diverse ideas and attitudes toward work, the entire organization must welcome cultural diversity and refrain from attempting to mold individuals into their way of working and thinking.
Also, regardless of the physical distance between your employees, social interaction is an efficient approach to managing a remote workforce. To foster strong interpersonal workplace relationships, you can host virtual parties, online coffee get-togethers, video brainstorming sessions, and more.
Managing remote teams entails creating time for your remote employees to connect and collaborate. This contributes to teamwork and productivity, as they build positive work relationships and look out for each other.
Managing team members in various locations or countries may present several obstacles. But, with the strategies actions and tools, effectively managing remote teams should not be too different from managing in-person teams.
The key to success is clearly communicating what you expect from your team and giving them the freedom and flexibility to get the job done. Simply follow up with team members to learn what challenges they face, optimize processes and operations where needed, and lead by example.
About the Author - Bash Sarmiento
Bash Sarmiento is a writer and an educator from Manila. He writes laconic pieces in the education, lifestyle, and health realms. His academic background and extensive experience in teaching, textbook evaluation, business management, and traveling are translated in his works.
I'm a staff data engineer working to advance data-driven cultures by wrangling disparate data sources and empowering end users to uncover key insights that tell a bigger story. LEARN MORE >>
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