Essential Tips for Successfully Managing Remote Teams
This has been an unprecedented work year for businesses big or small. Every team leader, manager, and director had to figure out how to manage their team remotely. The good news is that you have some leeway. From parents to Premier League athletes to government services, and more, we’ve all had to navigate working remotely. Most books and articles you’ve read on managing and most of the training you’ve received have likely focused on in-person, office life. The switch to working remotely has been a long time coming, and it took a pandemic to figure out that most businesses have not prepared themselves for this contingency. Here are some tips for getting your team to do their best from a remote work environment.
Communication is Key
One of the biggest challenges to managing remotely is feeling like you can’t supervise your team as thoroughly when you’re not physically in the same space. You don’t want to micromanage a group of hardworking adults, but what you can do is encourage conversation.
Communicate thoroughly with your staff. Create a space where your coworkers can talk and text message easily. There are a variety of apps and websites where you can efficiently organize and assign tasks, as well as check-in and chat with your team.
If you notice that staff members are hesitant to communicate, you must set an example by reaching out. Check-in with each person on your team at least once a day. Assign tasks and hold individuals accountable by speaking to them daily. Ask for status updates, and have a space where they can easily come to you with questions and collaborate with each other. This will be the key to staying productive.
Continue to Team Build
Communication will also help continue team building. In order for your business to operate like a well-oiled machine, your staff members must continue to work together. As the manager, you will have to foster and grow this relationship. Let your team “get together” virtually by having a video meeting once a week or every two weeks. Meet with each member of your staff over video periodically, if possible. When you’re not able to video chat, keep the conversation going using the app you’ve designated for communication. Create a separate threat or chat, and ask your team how they’re doing today, what they’re working on, and anything else you’d normally talk about in the office.
Chatting and communication is the best way to stay in control, but all of this has to stay structured and organized. Find the apps or programs you need to keep work tasks and assignments organized. Designate a daily time that you will check in on these assignments. Your staff will know what their deadlines are and what is expected of them. Schedule those weekly calls or daily check-ins just like you would in a physical office. Schedules and structure will keep everyone working hard.
Celebrate Your Successes
It is harder to make your team members feel recognized when you’re not all together. It is up to you to celebrate your staff’s success. Shout people out, compliment employees on their strategies for tackling certain assignments, and give credit where credit is due. This will encourage everyone on the staff to continue to do their best.
Undoubtedly, there will be a lot of changes to how we approach management now that going remote is so accessible. As long as you stay flexible, communicative, and encourage your staff, your business will continue to be as productive as always.
There is no perfect recipe to handle things perfectly in such an unusual situation, but people in management positions, regardless of industry, need to try and adapt as best as possible in order to minimize damage from the pandemic to both businesses and staff. The points mentioned may be easy and fall into the common sense category but they are essential and if executed properly, can prove greatly beneficial to any organization, no matter the size or industry.