In today’s business world, the question of how managers should handle their remote teams is one of the hot topics.
You’d think that it can’t be more difficult than managing an on-site team, however, the virtual world has its own nuances that one should keep in mind.
When it comes to remote work, it may not always be possible to establish clear policies. But there are a few universal steps that could be employed to ensure that everyone is engaged, motivated, and productive.
- How do you manage a fully remote team?
- What are the challenges of managing a remote team?
- What are the 6 best ways to manage remote workers?
- A summary of all we’ve said so far
How do you manage a fully remote team?
We believe that the foundation of good management lies within the realm of efficient communication.
As a result, remote managers have to focus on various communication techniques to make sure that the workflow is uninterrupted and the level of productivity is high.
For instance, one of the musts is including everyone in the conversation.
The digital era has made it even easier for introverts or shy people to remain silent but their input could be of great use.
That’s why managers should provide a safe space and encourage everyone to speak up.
Remote leaders also need to remember that employees who feel recognized by their superiors are more likely to be motivated for the next task.
Giving credit when it’s due is a simple act of gratitude that could do wonders for the overall productivity of the team.
But what else can a manager do to organize the perfect digital work environment?
The HBR has identified a few crucial problems that most remote teams are experiencing.
They could be overseen by management because sometimes they might seem difficult to resolve.
The team’s objective could be no longer relevant or useful considering the current state of the business.
The leader should be repurposing the team’s functions in order to render an account of productivity instead of an activity.
The interpersonal foundation between co-workers could be compromised.
The virtual world often depersonalizes people which makes it easier for misunderstandings and blame-shifting to occur.
Such tensions should be eliminated.
Disproportionate task assignment to different team members is also a no-no because it could lead some people to burnout and others to disengagement.
However, if the right prevention (or intervention) measures are taken, the quality of work will be notably improved.
What are the 6 best ways to manage remote workers?
The 6 steps towards good management that we’ve enumerated in the following paragraphs touch upon every aspect of remote work.
From scheduling meetings and setting a goal to team buildings and social activities. From the automation of some processes to the cultural diversification of the team.
Furthermore, these tips encompass all departments of virtual work – the technical and organizational aspects as well as the human factor.
Schedule daily virtual stand-ups
Stand-up meetings used to be appropriated by organizations to make meetings shorter (up to 30 minutes) and prompt people to speak straight up to the point.
The participants used to stand up during the meeting which made them feel uncomfortable and thus everyone wanted to conclude the meeting as fast as possible.
In the digital world, stand-up meetings turn out to be virtual sit-downs and are perfect for a brief chat with co-workers and team leaders.
They could be a nice way to kick off the working day if implemented in the morning.
This way everyone on the team will be on the same page about today’s tasks and priorities.
As a consequence, the teamwork will be smoother since any misunderstandings or issues will be resolved in advance.
💡 Pro tip
To easily manage your remote team, consider using 3veta – the best meeting management tool for hybrid and remote teams. It covers all aspects of the remote workflow – video calls, scheduling with your team and external collaborators, calendars, automatic reminders, and much more.
Develop a self-management project system
The idea of self-management is a combination of self-awareness and self-regulation.
It’s the ability to manage our behaviors, thoughts, and feelings consciously and productively.
The lack of it among most employees would result in a chaotic working environment, unproductive practices, and an inability to complete projects efficiently.
On the other hand, different workers might rely on different self-management techniques to get the job done.
Therefore, managers need to empower their remote workforce to be innovative and resourceful to the best of their capabilities.
This could be achieved by giving everyone a clear goal to pursue and granting them the freedom of completing a task in their own style.
Once the goal is determined, the priorities are set, and there is strategic planning in action, team members will know what is expected of them and will be able to choose the best way to achieve it.
Here’s an example: If you manage a sales team, let them decide which audience to target, what strategy to use, and who’s responsible for what. That way each person on the team contributes to achieving the goal equally.
Embrace cultural differences
Most remote teams are composed of people coming from different cultural backgrounds.
Thanks to that managers can benefit from different perspectives during discussions.
However, internationals can sometimes feel isolated due to different time zones or the inability to meet their colleagues in person.
It is of utmost importance to allow new recruits to present themselves to the team and form a bonding with the others.
Additionally, different nationalities might be used to working in a certain way and it would take time to adjust to your team culture.
Feeling welcomed is crucial for the performance of every new addition to the team.
Encourage social interactions
Undoubtedly, working from home has many benefits and most workers would prefer if their company employs the hybrid work model or the remote one.
But when the team meets only virtually, co-workers find it more difficult to form friendships and interact informally with each other.
To fix that, team leaders should consider organizing in-person or virtual team-building events.
Some examples could be pizza Fridays, virtual happy hours, coffee or lunch breaks, playing games or watching a movie together, and so on.
There are plenty of team-building apps and web tools designed to boost engagement and build team bonds.
Sharing common interests and hobbies means that the level of communication won’t be strictly professional and people will feel more comfortable with each other.
Use tools to automate management tasks
Automation is the Holy Grail of remote work because it hugely impacts the level of productivity in every team.
Platforms deal with insignificant but time-consuming tasks and allow employees to focus on the bigger picture and deal with more important and urgent matters.
There are so many remote work tools that handle different aspects of your virtual business.
You can easily create meeting rooms, a booking page, or a website. And you’ll be able to organize all of your to-dos in one calendar.
Trello handles your project management. The app provides you with a clear board with different sections that you can title and use to distribute work among employers and follow how’s everyone doing.
Google Docs is about seamlessly managing files and documents. Work on them, share them, edit them, and store them in one place with anyone you want.
Provide mentorship instead of management
Being a good remote manager or team leader means that you understand all the nuances of your employees’ work.
As a leader, you’ll find out that it’s way more beneficial to first be a mentor and then a manager.
Management also consists of coaching and guiding remote and hybrid working employees in the right direction, helping them with their career development, and providing them with additional training.
All of these mentorship tactics work in favor not only of the individuals but also of the company itself – the teams become saturated by highly qualified and trained staff.
A manager’s aspirations will fall short if they rely on giving orders, setting rules, and expecting excellent results without providing team members with the needed help and resources.
A summary of all we’ve said so far
Remote work is an excellent new way of doing business and is perfect for those looking for more flexibility and freedom.
As anything in this world, it has some downsides such as depersonalization of people, the feeling of loneliness, difficult task management and organization, as well as communication struggles.
However, there are simple tricks that business owners have already tried out and deemed efficient.
If you are just starting your remote management journey, make sure to be well-informed and follow our advice.