A Managers Guide To Manage Remote Team


If you micromanage, these are issues you may not overcome without changing your own management style. You need to know how to maintain employee engagement—no matter where they’re located. There are a few primary issues you may want to consider right at the start.

Managing a Remote Team

With the Covid-19 epidemic, many employees — and their managers — are finding themselves working out of the office and separated from each other for the first time. First, it’s important to understand the common challenges, from isolation to distractions to lack of face-to-face supervision. When you’re busy, it’s easy to cancel or postpone seemingly non-essential events such as one-on-one conversations. However, these meetings are crucial for effectively managing remote teams.

Veteran telecommuters may not need as much support as those new to it. People may feel particularly disjointed or uneasy when they first start to work remotely if they haven’t really done so before — and those experienced with it might be able to help. After all, the value of collaboration and teamwork in the workplace still applies to remote employees. While many challenges might come up while managing team members in different cities or countries, managing remote teams is a breeze with the right actions and tools.

Setting A Course For Remote Work Success: Dos And Donts

Working hours is a metric that many managers use to measure productivity. An employee spending less time on a task isn’t necessarily a cause for concern. After all, they may have more subject-matter experience than others. We’ve prepared this comprehensive guide that outlines eight essential strategies that not only would help you manage your remote team effectively but even let it become more productive.

And just because we are in the midst of volatility, complexity and ambiguity, that doesn’t mean we halt any and all efforts in developing our teams – and ourselves. Sometimes that requires outside help, new initiatives, and making the time. Hiring employees in more time zones to improve Managing a Remote Team our support coverage and development cycle. Although we’ve tackled a lot of the hardest challenges of working as a remote team, and reaped many big rewards from it, I’d hesitate to call us a remote success story… yet. At the end of the day, culture is about shared values and goals.

The whole process involves connecting solopreneurs and project teams living in different countries or continents. Every individual is looking forward to endearing the culture of remote working. It becomes a tough gig to empower the teams to thrive when, for instance, an Indian sitting in Banglore is working for an American company and so on. You can also build personal time into meetings, allowing for 5-10 minutes at the beginning or end of meetings for everyone to give a personal update.

Switching to an office-based team would mean either a) moving everyone to one place, or b) laying off the team and starting over. Outside of our weekly call, our team primarily uses Slack to talk, as it keeps everything in one place and saves chat messages for when a user gets back online. With team members in different time zones and on different schedules, there are very few times when everyone is available. But having everyone in one place makes it a lot easier to build that culture. We had some early hires—very talented people—not work out, only because they had never worked remotely before and we were unsuccessful at helping them develop that skill.

With the technology evolving, where the information and resources have become accessible to everyone from every nook and cranny, face-to-face working is becoming less popular. Whether you’re managing a remote team of 10 or an entire company moving to remote or hybrid work, there’s a way to make your home office less lonely—while making sure it’s just as productive. You may be worried about shifting to manage your remote teams.

Managing a Remote Team

As much as remote work can be fraught with challenges, there are also relatively quick and inexpensive things that managers can do to ease the transition. Don’t miss out on the latest tips, tools, and tactics at the forefront of customer support. He loves to help other entrepreneurs build startups by sharing his own experiences from the trenches. Retreats to bring the whole team together in person (it’s crazy to me that I’ve never actually met a couple of the people I work with). While I think there’s a net positive impact on productivity from working remote, the communication barrier can, and sometimes does throw a wrench in the gears. In an office, if someone isn’t responding to an email, it’s easy enough to stop by their desk and get what you need.

A Guide To Managing Your Newly Remote Workers

Amidst changes to place and space, the heart of managerial success lies in communication. This is especially true when the move to offsite work was unexpected. Lister notes that when managing remote workers, it’s important to communicate more, not less—whether it’s by email, text, or jumping on a quick video call.

You can applaud the pandemic to some extent for this movement, but the remote trend was already on the up and up before COVID-19. Yes, your company will probably spend less on physical office space, but those savings are likely to be spent elsewhere, depending on the remote work that needs to be done. As mentioned earlier, casual workplace interactions foster collegiality and teamwork. While some managers may see documentation of productivity standards as extra effort, it may help you spot trends that need to be addressed.

Managing a Remote Team

But being a remote team helped us restore service when we did—and not hours later. Working remotely has a lot of advantages, but it’s far from perfect. This benefits agents by ensuring that coaching insights or areas of feedback are directly accessible to agents, granting them a sense of ownership over their performance and increasing engagement. Feedback is also housed in one place, ensuring that nothing gets lost in the shuffle of day-to-day work.

Put Your Communication Efforts On Overdrive

When done, step out of the way and entertain questions and comments. But technology can’t supply the leadership and real unifying force your remote employees need. If you are that person who says “I don’t use task management apps because getting into them takes too much time”, chances are, you simply haven’t found a platform that fits your team’s needs. Team collaboration is important for a reason – it delivers results.

  • The success of this strategy lies in creating a supportive setting and finding out something that everybody would like to join in.
  • As a manager, before you can hope to determine what is expected of others within a changing environment, you will need to start by looking at what is expected of you.
  • But not spending two hours per day commuting, and having the flexibility to work when you prefer sure does make it easier.
  • Do you have an employee who always shows up to meetings on time with a positive can-do attitude?

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Help your team prioritize what is possible—and not possible— to achieve from offsite. Empower your employees by asking what assignments they would like to translate into virtual work. Meet with each employee to review what they specifically will be working on, both short- and long- term, and discuss realistic metrics, milestones and how and when your communication will happen. At Knoll we pride ourselves on offering specific guidance and solutions for clients across diverse industries.

Collaborating On Projects

Instead of telling your team not to check their messages after hours (which they probably won’t do), use Gmail’s scheduling feature or Slack’s Gator plugin to only send messages during business hours. Go out of your way to give them an opportunity to speak https://globalcloudteam.com/ up and voice their opinions. It might spotlight them for a minute, but it’ll help them contribute and feel more connected with the overall team. Use features like chat, polls, and even emojis to get everyone involved in the way they’re most comfortable.

In that case, having one-to-one sessions and acknowledging the individual limits of your team members would be a prudent decision to help them overcome the constraints. It’s also extremely important to set realistic expectations according to the ability of your team members. You can always directly ask for feedback from someone who might feel uncomfortable in discussing things in a group meeting. It’d help the person to relieve anxieties while letting you develop a constructive relationship. Also, try to have verbal communication instead of written communication which sometimes becomes hard to interpret.

Managing a Remote Team

In addition, it improves time management while managing remote teams. Another effective practice of managing remote teams is modeling work activities around your employees’ working hours. Keep in mind, team updates may vary based on time zones and preferred work hours, so set expectations for team members in regards to communication. Although frequent communication is paramount, avoid going too far and micromanaging. Employees need to feel confident that you believe they’re working as hard as they would in a regular office, including keeping similar hours and maintaining productivity even if they aren’t visible. If you’re unnecessarily checking in several times a day with remote employees just to see how things are going, those workers may feel like you don’t trust them.

Although doing a team meeting over video might not be exactly the same thing as being in-person, it does enable bonds to form faster during those times when everyone is in one place. When people who work together over video conferencing meet in person for the first time, they’re often amazed at how familiar their co-workers seem. So find ways to bring your remote team face-to-face as often as possible, whether in-person or using video.

If your team is unexpectedly spread out in various home office or offsite locations, there is bound to be a disruption of routines and social interaction. Your team will be looking to you for guidance—and the good news is that you can help them thrive! Succeeding in a changing environment is all about communication and flexibility. In these difficult times, being able to manage a remote team effectively has probably become the most important skill that every team lead and manager needs to develop. It’s hard to show leadership or empathy when you have no idea what your team is doing.

Keep Your Payroll On Time, All The Time

Figures from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics show that 23.8% of full-time employees worked an average of 3.40 hours at home per day in 2019 . If your company doesn’t have technology tools already in place, there are inexpensive ways to obtain simple versions of these tools for your team, as a short-term fix. Consult with your organization’s IT department to ensure there is an appropriate level of data security before using any of these tools. There are other circumstances when quick collaboration is more important than visual detail.

Tips For Managing A Remote Team

Remote work was already fairly common even before the pandemic. But not all companies had such policies in place that allowed employees to work from home. As a result, managers with no experience managing remote teams were caught completely by surprise. In a remote work environment, it is quite easy for you and your team members to get distracted and feel burdened by the increasing length of their to-do lists. With the help of time blocking, you can distribute the working time into controlled units.

There should be a clear timetable for meetings, and employees should know what different people are doing so that they have an idea of where they fit in the process. In a remote setting, the interactions between team members may no longer be as much as those of a co-located team. Therefore, one of your most important jobs is to provide a solid understanding of what is required of others. This will ensure that each employee is clear about what is expected of them, and how they are connected. Susan R. Vroman is a lecturer of management at Bentley University.

Instead, leverage the tech that the team is familiar with, whether it’s a popular project management app like Asana, a collaborative tool like Slack, or even a simple shared Google sheet. Lister suggests that whatever tools your team is using, encourage them to make use of all of the tool’s capabilities, such as virtual commenting boxes during group calls or presentations. Similar to what you’d do in an office environment, you need to focus on streamlining the workflow when managing a remote team. The use of a project management system would help you to keep everything in a project documented. It’d let you organize the workflow and standardize your team members’ output through transparent systems. Using document collaboration tools such as Dropbox or Google Drive would also be an easy yet highly effective idea to keep track of your team members’ work.

Be Supportive And Patient

When she’s not wearing her marketing hat, you’ll find Joanne lost in the world of Japanese music and art, or just being a dog mom. Establishing goals and communicating them to your team is also a good idea, as it gives them objectives to work towards. Set goals that are SMART or Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.