COVID-19 has completely transformed the idea of working, as it has increased the number of people working remotely. With a continuously growing number of remote employees, team leaders are having a hard time managing their remote teams.
Switching from a traditional work environment to an entirely new way of working has created a lot of challenges – both for employees and employers and particularly for those employees who are technologically naive. However, humanizing the whole process, giving your employees enough training, and tools can improve productivity and business results.
Effective remote team management is essential for better team productivity. Employee onboarding and managing virtual teams is not easy as it seems. However, this has to be done in a specific way to enhance the productivity of the workers.
Without further ado, let’s dig deeper into the best practices for remote team management.
1. Create Work Structures
It’s not easy to connect with employees in different time zones and meet project deadlines. Bring your team together by creating work structures. There should be a clear timetable for employees for meetings, reporting, and presenting their work. This timetable should be aligned equally with the employees.
Here’s what you can do to create a better workflow for any specific project:
- Describe the project statement in detail and share it with your employees through team management software.
- Make sure every employee is familiar with the timeline and necessary phases of the project.
- Create a list of deliverables and mention deadlines.
- Make sure you divide the project into smaller phases to make the delivery seamless.
- Conduct frequent team meetings. Keep meetings to the point, and it should be your responsibility to connect with every participant. This increases productivity!
2. Be Transparent
Transparency and trust always keep a team bound together when working in a virtual environment. Employers need to be transparent, it leads to better employee productivity and high morale.
Stay transparent as you communicate any organizational change. Explicitly explain to your team the rationale behind any change that you have made. Give your employees freedom to come up with any suggestions or feedback. Doing so will help you to put all your team members on the same page.
3. Provide Emotional Support
In isolation, people meet complex emotional challenges. Loneliness and frequent change in routine cause people to struggle with work-life balance and managing their time. Your task is to manage and connect with your remote team both technically and emotionally.
Communicate with them and ask if there is anything you can do for them to improve their productivity. Ask them if they need any things to create a better work environment at their homes. Make them feel valued by sending them a gift hamper or a poster on their birthdays, or work anniversaries. It can give them huge emotional support and improve their morale.
As a manager, you need to understand your employees are not necessarily available 24/7 if they are working remotely. It’s not a good approach to contact them and ask them to do work at an unreasonable hour. However, you can contact the team member during their working hours to get work done.
Photo by Tim Gouw from Pexels
4. Constantly Give Constructive Feedback
Always give feedback, it does wonder! Whether it be praise or criticism, feedback always helps employees grow both professionally and as a person. To manage your remote team, you need to understand that they don’t share the same office building with you. Therefore, they don’t know how other employees are doing. They may think that they are doing their best, even if they are not, and vice versa.
It’s your responsibility to act as a great leader and give honest feedback to your employees to work on their abilities so they can grow as a person. Avoid destructive feedback, because it doesn’t add any practical value.
5. Focus On Results, Not the Procedure
It’s not easy to execute remote team management. Guess what’s more difficult? Micro-management of every team member. However, you can outrun this hectic task by introducing a new process of working. You clearly define the goals and expected result of the task and leave the rest to your team members.
Employees can follow whatever procedure they want to execute the task. There’s only one condition that the results should be the same as defined. This approach enhances one’s creativity and productivity. The sense of ownership also brings joy!
6. Communicate Frequently
Frequent communication is the key to effective remote team management. For many people, remote work is not easy. They want a person-to-person interaction, socialization with co-workers, and meeting with seniors. However, if you communicate with them daily, they feel valued and appreciated.
In your daily communications, you can provide feedback, solve queries, and assist your employees in their tasks.
7. Give Your Team Flexible Hours to Work
In remote team management, allowing employees to work flexible hours will bring better results for your company. When your team member works with a fresh mind, he can be more productive and get his job done without stress.
Remote working provides an opportunity to work whenever you feel like doing it with keen interest. 76% of the people are more likely to stay with their current employer if they could get flexible hours to work remotely.
8. Collect Employee Feedback
Apart from giving feedback, it is essential to request feedback from your employees. The feedback could be on how you assign tasks, how you manage interns, and how you handle the extreme workload – whatever it is, it always improves the work process and team management. You must be open to employee feedback. Listen and comprehend what was said.
It is essential to look for patterns in feedback. This could include issues raised by multiple members of the team. If these are identified, they may need to be addressed as a priority. Because people are more likely to feel valued when their feedback is addressed.
9. Provide the Right Software/Tools
Provide the right software to your employees. Make sure everyone is equipped with the software that the rest of the members are using. To ensure good remote team management, you need to decide on which software to use. Well, this depends on what kind of company you are in.
Use software with the best User Interface (UI). Some of the easy-to-access tools are Zoom, TeamViewer, MS Office, Google Workspace, and more.
To avoid potential compatibility issues, ensure that all team members use the same version of the software. Make sure to arrange an online workshop on how to use the software before starting using it.
10. Serve as a Mentor to Your Team
Manage & mentor!
Share your knowledge and life experiences with your team and personally take an interest in their jobs. Show them that they have potential and they can do better by making an impact. show them how to take risks so they can become better as a person and a professional.
To manage your remote team, support them emotionally and make every effort to lead them on the right path. You will be serving as a role model by encouraging and supporting your employees in the hard times!
11. Encourage Social Interaction
Remote work gives you location independence, time independence and saves you a lot of money. Unfortunately, there is this one drawback that comes with remote work is social isolation. Your employees cannot socialize with their co-workers and other staff. Isolation can ruin one’s mental health. Eventually, it results in low or no motivation, reduced productivity, and massive staff turnover. Total nightmare!
There are a few things you can do. Arrange a virtual party and ask everyone to bring their favorite drink and interact with others. Set up social media channels and interact with your teammates on the platform. Just like Buffer is doing:
Image Source: Twitter
They are encouraging their employees to talk and share their experiences.
12. Micro-manage Your Team Effectively
While managing your remote team, you need to be clear as crystal! Micromanaging can be a hectic thing to do. But you need to find the stability to manage your team effectively.
Make everything clear, like when you expect work, files, updates, reports, and summaries. Set a deadline for each task so the whole team can move forward to the next task.
However, you should know when to take things into your hands and when you can rely on your employees to complete the job. It creates a sense of trust. Whatever steps you can make sure they are aligned with your brand voice.
Managing a remote team can take time and effort, but it has its benefits too. Fortunately, technology has made everything so easy to handle. You can use multiple management tools to get through this working from home during a pandemic.
However, people are not easy to manage, especially in a virtual world. So, if you are a manager, you need to adopt the above best practices of remote team management to ensure better business results, and team productivity.