In this 5-minute read:
- 9 tips for managing your remote teams
Moving your team to work remotely, or even starting your business with a remote team is a tough decision to make. There’s a lot to consider, but once you’ve made that choice, there’s a lot that you can do to help your remote team find success.
The following tips can help you and your team members connect, maintain productivity, and ultimately become the successful remote workforce that you envision.
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As you are moving your team to a remote working situation, or as you hire remote team members, it is important to set expectations. Working remotely opens up a number of possibilities (and maybe even unrealistic expectations) for employees, like varied work hours, fewer meetings, a more comfortable appearance, longer lunches, etc.
Of course you want your employees to have the benefits that come with working remotely, but there are expectations that you need to set with them in order to stay on task with your vision for the business.
Here’s a list of what some of those expectations might look like:
- Working during business hours (8-5 or whatever your open hours are) to be available when customers call
- Weekly meetings with the team to know what everyone is working on (or as frequently as you need to have these meetings, just make sure your team knows how often you want to do this)
- Wear professional clothing during video calls with clients (that includes pants!)
Talk to your employees about their expectations for remote working too. What are they hoping to gain out of working from home? What are they looking forward to? And how can you help them meet their own expectations while maintaining yours?
Establish regular check-ins
It’s more difficult to check in with team members when you aren’t seeing them everyday. Before, you probably didn’t have to plan this, you could just stop by an employee’s desk and chat with them for a minute to see how they’re doing.
With a remote team, it’s important to schedule those check-ins with your team so you can stay connected and give each employee the opportunity to talk to you openly if they are struggling with a particular project or deadline.
You can determine what that “regular” check-in entails and how frequently it occurs, but just try to get something on the calendar every now and then.
When people work remotely, it’s generally because they want that flexibility that working from home offers them, whether that’s spending more time with their family, having the freedom to run errands during work hours, or something else entirely.
Keep this in mind as you do move to a remote workforce. Know that there is an expectation from your employees to have a little more flexibility as they work from home and talk to them about it. Try to help them achieve the flexibility that they want while also maintaining your expectations.
Emphasize good communication
This may be the most important tip on this list. Communication is important no matter what your working situation looks like, but it becomes more difficult with a remote workforce. Miscommunication can easily occur when all contact is occurring via email or messaging apps.
Emphasize good communication with your team. Encourage them to call or set up video chats with one another when they are collaborating on a project. Set up regular meetings with your team to help encourage them to do the same as needed.
Provide several options for good communication
To help with your team’s communication, provide them with the technology to effectively communicate while working remotely. If you need to subscribe to a video conferencing app or a more advanced messaging app like Slack or Chatwork, then do that.
Talk to your team to see if they have a preference for specific tools and what will help them communicate better with one another and your customers.
Connect with your team members
Beyond your regular meetings with the entire team, and even occasional one-on-ones, you should be trying to build genuine connections with each team member. During your regular meetings, don’t just get updates on their tasks, really inquire into how they are doing. Ask about their weekend and have small talk with them.
This helps build trust and lets them get to know you as a person so they don’t just see you as the person who signs their paycheck.
Listen to your employees
This goes across all of your communication with employees. Whether you are just chitchatting with small talk, or discussing an important company project, listen to your team members. This is another trust-building technique. You’ll learn more about them and may gain valuable insights into a better way to run a project.
Provide opportunities for remote social interaction
We’re not talking about company meetings here. Go beyond that. Set up virtual interactions for your team where they can get to know each other better and bond as a team in relaxed and fun virtual environment.
Need some ideas? Check this out: 10 fun and creative virtual team building activities to boost morale
Get the right tools in your belt
Don’t forget about all of the technological capabilities (even options that you can get for free) when it comes to managing your remote team. There are tons of solutions out there for project management, video calls, file sharing, etc. Whatever you need, there’s probably an online solution for it.
Check out some of these guides to get started:
- Helpful tools to support your long-term remote workforce
- Best time tracking tools for your remote workforce: features and pricing
- Why use a virtual private network and which VPN solutions you should consider
- 5 best project management solutions for small businesses
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