Remote work or work from home has become more than a desire or a trend. It has become a necessity and a part of a new normal for most organizations around the world. As a result, hundreds of thousands of managers and team leaders have all of a sudden started to manage a remote or virtual team. For most of them, it is their baptism of fire. If you are one of them, then this is the right article for you. Continue reading to learn key tactics pros use when managing remote teams.
Before the remote work era, managers could leave their desks at any time and check in on their staff. During remote work, that is no longer possible. Nonetheless, managers like yourself can find ways to interact with individual members of their team. For example, you can organize weekly one-on-one meetings and dedicate at least half an hour, if not more, to every team member. One-on-ones are the perfect opportunity for getting to know each other. Moreover, you can give and receive suggestions and feedback, and share opinions and information with employees. However, you should avoid doing one thing — regularly canceling the meeting. Otherwise, team members won’t take them seriously. Instead of canceling, try rescheduling if possible.
Prioritize Employees’ Career Paths
When managing a remote team, it is easy to put their individual professional needs and wants aside. Remote work is challenging. However, that doesn’t mean you should treat your team members like freelancers not caring about their career paths. Like all other employees, yours too have aspirations and ambitions, especially now when the digital era enables them to see possibilities everywhere. For this reason, encourage your employees to work towards accomplishing their goals and give them plenty of opportunities for professional development. In prioritizing employees’ career paths, one-on-one meetings can be of great use because you will gain a greater insight into their ambitions. As a result, you will be able to help them reach their potential.
Overuse Video Calls and Conferences
Studies show most human interaction is nonverbal. We say more with our body language than we think. When working remotely, employees can’t really see their coworker’s or managers’ reactions to the message since internal communication is usually written. Hence, remote teams experience more misunderstandings and conflicts than traditional office working ones. To overcome this challenge, all you have to do is overuse video calls. Whenever you can, hop on a video call with your staff and communicate directly. You and your employees will quickly realize how effective internal communication can be once you add some real-time face-to-face interaction. More importantly, you will be able to notice how everyone is holding up and help them out if you notice something is wrong with any team member.
Make Internal Communication Efficient
Remote teams usually have issues with communication and conveying messages in an intended way. Since internal communication lacks non-verbal cues, employees can easily misinterpret coworkers’ messages. Furthermore, they overlook the most information and updates. That is why making internal communication more efficient should be one of your priorities. This means you should dive into the pool of numerous communication channels and find the one that works out the best for you and your team. In particular, seek alternatives to Teams and keep trying until you find the best fit. Also, consult with employees since they are the ones who will be using the communication channel the most. Together, select the most efficient channel and make it a part of the work routine.
Focus on Results
One of the golden rules in management says under no circumstances should a manager breathe down employees’ necks. Yet, it doesn’t seem like most managers around the world have got the memo. Great managers understand keeping every aspect of the team’s effort and work under control is not only pointless but also impossible. All the more so when you are managing a remote team. Having team members scattered at different locations prevents you from monitoring their work. For this reason, remote work is the perfect opportunity for shifting your focus from working hours and activity to actual business results. In no time will you realize the positive effect this shift has on employee engagement and productivity. Since the two aspects are common problems of remote work, enhancing them will mean a lot for your team and business overall.
Let us be honest. Employees like it when the management recognizes their efforts and rewards their hard work. Recognition and rewards make them feel valued. Additionally, it increases efficiency and healthy competition on a team level leading to better results and solutions. Given that productivity is a growing pain for every remote team, you should do what you can to keep its levels high as long as possible. Incentivizing employees will help your team achieve outstanding results. Meanwhile, there is one thing you should keep in mind when offering rewards to employees. The reward has to be something that attracts their attention. Otherwise, they won’t be up for the challenge.
Request Daily Reports
Getting used to managing a remote team takes time and patience. The same goes for building trust with the employees. Until that happens, you have to believe every team member will perform the right way and deliver at the end of every workday. One thing that can help you get insight into their completed to-do lists is daily reports. You can ask all team members to fill out and send to you reports at the end of workdays. The report should contain a list of all assignments they completed during a specific workday. This way, you can measure their productivity, while employees can gain a sense of accomplishment just by looking at everything they have done during their shift at work.
For a long time, remote work has been only a distant dream for most employees. In 2020, the dream has finally become a reality. While most employees were looking forward to the transition, thousands of managers weren’t ready to take on this challenge. However, with our key tactics, any manager can take the bull by the horns and become a pro in managing remote teams.
Author – Morgan Rose Elliott graduated in marketing from The University of Sydney. Hobbies include yoga, reading, and home renovation. A rookie blogger who loves writing about business and lifestyle equally. She is a happily married, stay-at-home mother of three.
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