Leading remote teams is a love and hate relationship that many experience. On one hand, it is a great way to attract and retain top talents regardless of their location worldwide but on the other hand, it can become quite complex to manage remote employees due to challenges in maintaining effective communication, easy collaboration across the different time zones and locations, creating great workflows and choosing the right team members for your projects not to mention the time taken to understand your technology.
However, while the challenges can frustrate the process of working, it is easy to overcome them with the right tips and techniques. This consequently leads to a beautiful collaboration with people all over the world which exposes everyone to new cultures and top talent and finally, a fresh way of thinking that can result in amazing results. This is even more important right now during the pandemic when remote working is a necessity instead of a trend.
It is likely that as a team leader, you will find yourself managing a completely remote team which may seem unfamiliar and strange. Therefore, if you are feeling a bit overwhelmed when manage remote teams, here are top 10 tips you can use to effectively run remote teams:
1. Daily Check-In
To maintain the working relationship and make your team members feel like they are connected to each other and their work is an important part of managing a remote team. The purpose of daily check-ins can range from just reviewing progress of a projecting, setting tasks and agendas and providing resources and feedback that your team may need to carry out their tasks. Besides conversations through phoned, email and Slack, it is imperative that your team sees you and you see them as this fosters connection and collaboration. Therefore, make use of Zoom and other video conferencing apps to touch base with them every workday.
2. Regular Communication
When it comes to remote working, the more the communication, the less the misunderstandings. To achieve regular communication, follow the following tips:
· Set an agenda for team meetings as well as expectations for one on one meeting while also having the goal to provide valuable feedback and guidance.
· Provide clear action items for all meetings to ensure that team members derive value from the conversations.
· Also incorporate asking about your team’s wellbeing for remote working can make one feel isolated and lonely at times. Regular communication is one of the ways to beat such feelings.
3. Have One-on-One Meetings
Besides having team meetings, you need to check in with each member to find out how they are doing, find out what challenges they may be facing while carrying out their duties. Remote working can make it difficult to spot the signs that someone s falling behind on their tasks or even when someone is experiencing burnout. Therefore, dedicating time for one on one meetings besides whole team meetings can help boost productivity among your members and solve issues before they grow too big.
4. Invest in the Right Technology
It is impossible to communicate a lot and effectively if you lack the right communication tools. Therefore, technology can be the difference between you having problems managing your team and you running it smoothly. Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Zoom among others are way better than email and texts for communication and collaboration. In fact, some are even available for free or for a reduced price.
5. Manage and Collaborate Across Different Time Zones and Locations
Unlike an office setting where you can just walk over to your colleague’s desk to communicate and collaborate, remote working requires some planning to enable flawless collaboration. This means platforms for file sharing, project management software and communication tools are absolutely crucial to get around the different locations and time zones of the team members. Organizing a system where you can communicate during overlapping times in different time zones will help improve communication and collaboration. During these overlapping times, that’s when it is best to organize tour meetings. This will help maintain real time communication without the need for any of the members to work odd hours.
6. Have all Team Members Set Up a Dedicated Workspace
One thing that does wonders for productivity while working from home is having a dedicated work area that will give the illusion that each day they are getting up to go to work. This means that you can either have the employee take home their work computer or help them purchase office supplies. In fact, having employees have an office setup they can showcase during video meetings or slack channels is a fun way to ensure everyone creates a workspace. This will encourage them to have boundaries between work and leisure time, something that can easily become blurred otherwise.
7. Manage Expectations
Working remotely can become overwhelming very fast. The worst thing to do is overburden your team with unrealistic expectations. This can be avoided by defining scope, deliverables and deadlines for each task or project to manage you and your team’s expectations.
8. Focus on Outcomes
Outcomes are more important than ideas and activities. This also applies in running remote teams. Focusing on outcomes is a better way to measure performance than looking at activities.
9. Be Flexible
Trusting your team to offer guidance and support while still giving them the freedom to get the work done is a great way to boost productivity.
10. Set Time for Reviews and Celebration
Just because you are all working away from the office does not mean that you cannot celebrate successes and evaluate failures. Reviewing the team’s efforts is a great way to reset.