Tips for Managing Remote Teams
For the past few months, most of us are working from home. And I’ve got my home office set up in my house. In fact, about 80% of all Americans nationwide are now sheltering at home, and flexible work has become the new norm. It’s kind of nice lots of employees really like it for several reasons. Just a few are not commuting to work, so we’re saving money around gas and eating out. A lot of employees like working in an environment of their own creation for managers and supervisors.
It can be another story. It can be a little daunting to manage remotely, and sometimes the belief that gets in the way is that you can’t manage what you can’t see. However, the leadership experts say that’s not true. In fact, employees with the proper state of mind can work anywhere and produce great results. Which is a great thing to remember. In fact, if they’re motivated, they can be even more productive in a remote environment.
So managers really need to nurture that state of mind. So you may be wondering how do I do that well. Let me first share three key leadership traits that the experts say are really needed for managing remote teams.
One is to be naturally proactive. The second one is to communicate powerfully. That’s a really, really important one that I’ve heard over and over is just crucial. And the third is to be comfortable with ambiguity, those things that you can’t control. And that can definitely apply to a remote environment.
Below, I will share five recommendations from the experts that will help you manage remote teams successfully.
1. Have Clear Expectations
The first one is to have clear expectations. This is mostly a poor important now that work rules have changed because we’re now in a remote environment. Never leave your folks in the dark about projects and roles, and deadlines. And all those things that you’re all responsible for.
So some guidelines for creating those expectations. Include things like if you have project work, make sure that you have a master plan designed. And then to make sure that everybody who is assigned a task has an exact deadline. Also, make sure that the team agrees on some core hours where everybody will be available. That’s really, really important with remote work. And then inform the groom group whenever you’re offline.
For example, my group makes sure that we always email each other when we’re taking lunch. We’re going to be offline for any reason. A final one is if you decide that flexible work is ok. Let’s say, for example, you want to take a couple of extra hours in the afternoon for a personal errand or whatever that the agreement is that you make up that time later in the day. So that helps create clear expectations.
2. Have Some Face Time
The second tip is to check in frequently and regularly with your group and insist on some face time. That’s really important because your folks really need to connect with each other. And they need to hear each other’s voices and see each other’s faces. There are all kinds of video conferencing technology out there that you can use here at the county.
We have Microsoft teams, so you can use that. There’s skype. Many folks use that, so that’s just to name a few and hold virtual team meetings consistently and regularly. And in those meetings, make sure that everybody’s reporting out. Three things- one is, whatever they did yesterday’s results previously, for example. And then whatever they’re working on today and then any obstacles that they may be foreseeing and so that way everybody knows where everybody stands. And they can volunteer to support each other.
3. You Need to Communicate
The third tip is to communicate, so there it is again communicate communicate communicate. You’re gonna have to communicate ten times more than you think. You’re gonna have to about what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. So there’s really no such thing as over-communication in a remote environment. Also, be a great listener and communicate trust and respect to your folks. Ask about their workload and their progress. But don’t be a micromanager.
4. Respond Quickly
And then fourthly be available quickly and through multiple means of technology. Instant messaging, email video conferencing, phone texting, and whatever modes of communication you and your group decide on. Because remote teams should count on you to respond quickly to any pressing concerns they have. Because you’re not there in the office where they can knock on the door.
5. Build a Connection
And then finally, don’t forget this one camaraderie in team building. You know that doesn’t you know just because your remote doesn’t mean that you can just let that go.
By the wayside, it’s another excellent way to keep your team connecting, so don’t let those rituals of connection go. By the wayside, as you know, remembering birthdays and work anniversaries and signs of such things. And make sure in your virtual team meetings that you’re allowing time for personal discussion, water-cooler talk, just anything to help foster those connections.
Those are the five tips, so hopefully, you will be on your way to fostering excellence among your virtual team if you follow these.