Successfully Managing Remote Teams

ALEX MELNICHUK

Published: 30 Mar 2020

Building Virtual Teams

Remote teams are not the easiest groups to manage, but it doesn’t have to feel like an impossible chore. With the right systems in place and the right outlook, it can be significantly easier than it otherwise would be. This is exactly what we will be discussing today with these 10 awesome methods of running a more efficient remote team.

Organized Reports

It is very important that you establish beforehand a reporting system that is organized to a fault and will give your remote teams plenty of opportunities to provide accurate details on whatever they are working on.

If you have ever wondered how to manage remote teams in the most expedient manner, this is one of the most effective. You certainly do not want to end up with sloppy, disorganized, and incomplete reports. If you do, though, this would be a good indication that you have someone on your team that might need to go.

A good and accurate reporting system will not only allow you to keep track of the progress of various projects, but it will also help you get better control over your team. You will know who is fast, who is detailed, who is organized, and who needs extra attention.

The more you know, the better the results are going to be. So make this a priority when you can.

Constant Communication

Remote Teams -Constant Communication

Although it is not advised that you keep messaging or calling your workers every five minutes, it is encouraged that you speak to them on a regular basis. Just checking up on their progress and making sure that any remote team collaboration is going smoothly is very important. This goes doubly true for huge group projects.

There needs to be a clear line of communication between all of the people involved and all of the departments involved. This means using all of the necessary platforms and messaging tools to give each other the right level of contact.

It is also advised to keep all of the relevant chats secure. This means that with all of the communication software that will be used, a certain level of encryption should be emphasized. This will then lead to more secure exchanges of messages, especially those that contain sensitive information that others would want to get.

Use Tools

It is very important that you make use of tools as much as you can so that you can organize, streamline, and modernize your remote team management as much as possible. You want to make sure that no matter what challenges your team may face, you have already given them the tools necessary to get those things done.

This includes training software, licensed videos, subscription services, webinars, and so many others. It would also help if you give them access to any kind of planning platform that you may have on hand so that they will actually be able to give you the kind of performance you may be looking for.

Being able to manage a remote team is mostly about surrounding them with all of the conveniences that you can offer. This will then result in much better productivity since you have already given them the ability to actually achieve the desired outcomes.

It also makes sense that you use tools for checking up on their work or giving them the ability to send things like custom screenshots or imager so that everyone will be on the same page. Naturally, tools extend to reports and communication, as well.

Adapt

You need to be more flexible if you are going to manage a team remotely. If you think that working in an office requires you to adapt to different personalities, outlooks, and work ethics, this is double the case when dealing with remote teams. You absolutely have to put in more effort into the task or risk alienating your workers.

The most important point that you need to keep in mind is that your remote workers are effectively in their most comfortable environments. This is doubly the case if they are working from home. You have to expect that there are going to be some differences in how the job is going to be done.

As such, you have to remember that you will need to be the one to make adjustments all of the time. You can certainly ask your workers to work with you and maybe even do a little psychological warfare. However, the job of managing these people will ultimately be up to you.

We have found that managers who are able to adapt to these kinds of working conditions are the ones who thrive the most when dealing with teams at work. Just keep that in mind.

Read also: https://ncube.com/blog/working-with-remote-teams-a-guide-on-transitioning-from-office-to-remote-work

Results

Based on our findings, it would be infinitely better for managers to focus on results rather than methods or personal preferences that the remote team is using to produce those outcomes. There are those who simply have their own ways of doing things and if you try to control every aspect of their jobs, you are only inviting disaster.

If you want your remote workers to work as a team, you need to let them figure things out on their own. You can’t be expected to micromanage everything simply because you are not there to do that. So give them obligations, responsibilities, and whatnot, and allow them to do their jobs as they see fit.

You hired them for a reason and so you should let them do what they are paid to do. You are not supposed to be there to do their jobs for them by creating hyper-restrictive rules.

Loosening up and focusings on the eventual results are something that we recommend to managers all of the time. Obviously, there are times when you need to lay down the hammer, but you certainly are not supposed to do that all of the time. Otherwise, you end up with extremely unproductive people.

Equip

In our opinion, remote teams who are not given the right tools for the job are not going to be able to do their jobs well. As such, it is always for the best if you can provide your teams with as many of the tools that they need to accomplish the task that you have set forth. No, this does not necessarily mean that you buy them computers, though, that would certainly work.

Rather, it is about giving them specialized software whenever needed. Microsoft Office would be a good place to start, though, there are also a ton of other software tools out there that will require money to use. If they are necessary to get the job done, though, then it might be worth it to simply cough up the cash.

More than that, it would be worth it to send them to an online class, if there is a need to refine their skills. There is no point in having home teams if those teams are not given the kind of training or specialized skills that you need from them. So, be sure to equip your teams as best you can so that they will be as effective as possible.

Schedules

Remote Teams -Schedules

According to the data that we have, it would be of utmost benefit to team managers and remote teams to have clear schedules that they can stick to. It helps keep everyone on track, especially of those schedules are right in everyone’s faces every single day. This will give people extra motivation to accomplish the things that they need to accomplish so that they can meet deadlines.

Just because they are not working in an office environment, this does not mean that they are no longer subjected to pressures. These pressures will simply change in form, giving them plenty of reasons to keep pushing themselves without you having to do it for them. At some point, your workers need to realize that their own productivity rests on their own efforts.

This is made possible when they are given a specific target to aim for. When they have a schedule, it also becomes easier for your remote teams to manage their lives. After all, being able to work at home basically means that they have a lot more freedom to do what they want. You are just giving them a reason not to waste too much time.

Involve

To make sure that everyone is invested in what you are trying to accomplish with your remote team, it is our view that you need to involve everyone in pretty much everything you are trying to do. This does not mean that every single worker should be given access to sensitive information or that they will even know everyone involved.

This simply means to give everyone the opportunity to actually know what the goal is, what the point of their efforts is, and what they are meant to accomplish. This will then allow them to have that sense of accomplishment that everyone craves so much. All the remote collaboration tools will not help if your team is not motivated to give their all.

By basically making them feel like they are doing something to make a difference, they will be extra motivated to produce the right results and achieve targets. We have seen this time and time again in multiple studies done all over the world.

Treating a team like a family works and every member should have a general idea of the direction that you are taking. This is also a normal part of being a manager of a remote team.

Clarify

Market research has shown time and again that when the goal of a company is clear to its employees, the easier it is to accomplish those goals. This is why it also makes sense to provide the results of what the company has already achieved at any given time to the people who are actually making them happen.

Part of what makes managing a remote team successful is by being as clear with them as possible. You can never handle remote team management as easily as you should when your team is stumbling around in the dark. When you do, you are only going to hold them back from actually shining in their respective roles.

For example, if you have a set of team members who are responsible for producing content, it would help to let them see the metrics for themselves. This way, they can make the appropriate changes when necessary, put in more effort, or even make some suggestions.

Ultimately, this does not have to be an isolationist condition. Being in a remote team can still be as involved as any other but this only works if everyone is on the same page. In case it needs to be said, instructions need to be provided clearly, as well.

Pair Up

Remote Teams - Pair Up

Finally, it would be to your benefit to pairing your respective team members up with others in a sort of buddy system. This way, they will be able to count on each other if things go wrong. This method has been tested many times in multiple settings and it is one method that we have seen work.

Naturally, it would help if the pairs actually belong in the same department or team, as well as having roles that complement each other. One of the most important parts of remote worker management is figuring out which roles are meant for which members so that they can then support one another.

Through this buddy system, it is basically possible to create a feedback loop where your workers will help those they are paired with and then those they helped will return the favor. This then leads to a more harmonious working relationship.

Of course, this does not always work, especially when personalities simply clash. This is why we recommend taking the personalities of the workers into consideration first before you start pairing them with each other.

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