The mass transition to remote work came about early stages of the Covid pandemic and is here to stay. However, while employees associate remote work with increased productivity, improved work-life balance and decreased stress levels, business leaders remain sceptical about successful remote team management. They believe that employees working out of the office are less productive than their on-site colleagues. However, is remote work really a problem, or maybe it’s all about managers who don’t know how to manage a remote team and keep it productive and engaged?
In this blog post, we go through everything you ought to know to manage a successful remote team to boost performance, inspiration, and engagement of your remote workers.
Table of Contents
Give Extra Attention to New Employees
Paying special attention to new hires involves giving them more assistance, direction, and advice in their first few weeks and months on the job. This can be done through things like providing more opportunities for the employee to ask questions and receive feedback, giving more in-depth training and onboarding, assigning a mentor or buddy to help them navigate the workplace, and scheduling regular check-ins with their supervisor to discuss progress and address any concerns.
Paying particular attention to new hires prepares them for success in their new position making them feel welcome, respected, and supported. Employers may improve retention and productivity by investing in developing and onboarding remote employees, strengthening the bonds between workers and the company.
Work on Team Bonding
Developing team bonding for successful remote work can be difficult, but rewarding. If fact, employees who had an opportunity to chat and socialise with colleagues showed a 20% productivity increase. Here are some ways to help you break the ice between remote coworkers.
Organise Offline Meetings
Bonding a remote team with video conferencing tools is common but makes you miss out on the numerous benefits of real human-to-human interaction. The ability to get out of the digital comfort zone, meet colleagues in person and watch their body language change the whole experience of working together.
Just because your employees work from different locations and even time zones, bringing them together at least once a year is only a matter of little organisational effort. It’s up to you to gather your remote team for work purposes or time off.
Add Human Touch to Communication
Adding a human touch to communication helps in fostering connection and trust among team members. Consider organising online gatherings, such as virtual coffee breaks or book clubs, where team members can learn more about each other and discuss their views and opinions. These gatherings allow for building a sense of community and camaraderie, leading to improved trust and comprehension among team members.
Celebrate team achievements with virtual methods such as online badges of honor or electronic presents to help reinforce a positive team culture. To make the most of these opportunities, provide guidance on how to structure discussions, ensure everyone has a chance to participate and encourage team members to share their experiences.
Embrace Regular Communication
Consistent communication facilitates connection, engagement, and the pursuit of shared objectives among team members. By prioritizing regular communication, managers and team leaders can enjoy the following advantages.
Enhanced teamwork: Regular communication helps team members feel more connected and work together more effectively.
Efficiency gains: By communicating regularly, team members can avoid misunderstandings and work more efficiently.
Improved problem-solving: When team members communicate openly and frequently, they can more easily identify and solve problems.
Higher standard of responsibility: Consistent communication helps team members understand their roles and responsibilities, which can lead to higher accountability.
Reduced isolation: By communicating regularly, team members can combat the feelings of isolation and disconnection that can arise when working remotely.
Give Path to Technologies
By opening the door to modern tools for communication, collaboration, and management, you can be sure that your team will have access to the resources it needs to do its job well. The following are some of the most important resources that a remote team may require:
- Tools for communication. Tools like video conferencing (Zoom, Google Meet), instant messaging (Google Chat), and email are important for effective remote work.
- Remote project management tools. Apps like Trello, Zoho, and Wrike help remote teams to keep track of their progress and complete their work on time
- Online solutions for storing and sharing files. Tools like Dropbox and Google Drive can provide global file sharing and let’s adjust permissions to view and edit documentation only to those employees who need it.
- Timekeeping apps. With time-tracking software like Toggl Track, Timely, and Time Doctor distributed teams may monitor their productivity and remain on schedule.
Depending on the tasks at hand and individual preferences, different other resources like a password manager (LastPass, Zoho Vault) and tools for cybersecurity for remote teams (Wireshark, Defendify) might be necessary.
The concept of a flexible work environment has evolved from the simple option of working from home. But today, as an increasing percentage of companies adopt and expand remote and mixed work arrangements, it is up to businesses to figure out how to make their environments and cultures more accommodating to flexible schedules. Employers should think about the following low-cost, high-impact approaches to enable flexibility for their staff:
- Adjustable working hours. Providing workers with the option to choose their own work schedules goes a long way toward encouraging a relaxed attitude.
- Weekends will be switched to weekdays. It may make sense to allow people to swap their work and rest days, since many tasks may be completed just as well on the weekend as during the week.
Even modest adjustments to how you handle employee flexibility may have a profound impact on how you manage a remote team and the results they show.
As work and personal life of remote employees are happening in the same place, they may have trouble switching gears and switching on/off from work. Family members, pets, housework, and other non-job-related activities at home may all make it difficult to focus on remote work. As a supervisor, you need to make sure your employees are aware of some of the strategies to successfully detach from distractions. Suggest the following:
- Switch phones to “non disturb” mode;
- Separate your working place with a curtain or create any other barrier;
- Let distractions happen occasionally
- Negotiate signs to signal your cohabitants that you’re busy
- Turn off the TV and shut off news alerts and other pop-ups
While leading a remote team, it’s crucial to cultivate a sense of empathy since it may aid in connection-building, problem-solving, conflict management, productivity enhancement, and talent retention. Empathy might be hard to demonstrate, but it’s one of the best strategies for building trust in a remote team. Empathy in a distributed team needs conscious effort and clear communication. It can be achieved by:
- maintaining frequent check-ins;
- showing flexibility;
- engaging in active listening;
- recognising and accepting responsibility for any obstacles.
A manager’s ability to empathise with those affected by a problem gives employees a sense of value and increases the likelihood that it will be resolved in a way that benefits everyone.
Wrapping Up on How to Manage a Remote Team
Remote team management requires a distinct set of skills and strategies. Organised properly, remote employees show better productivity and engagement rate. By following the tips outlined in this guide, managers can create a successful cohesive remote team that works together effectively, communicates regularly, and shows better performance.