With the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, businesses worldwide are being forced to jump on the remote work bandwagon. Remote working had already begun to gain prominence, thanks to technological advancements, so some companies already had remote workers and were quite equipped for it. Others might not be so lucky and may find themselves scrambling to put structure in place to accommodate what is “the new normal”.
Running a company remotely has its peculiar challenges especially as the immediacy of face-to-face interactions is largely off the table. In this post, we’ll explore effective strategies for managing your teams remotely with ease.
1. Create a remote work policy
Creating a remote work policy works the same way that an in-house policy does. It helps set a standard that every employee should adhere to. It ensures that everyone knows what is expected of them and what to expect from the company. Setting up a remote working policy prevents confusion or surprises.
2. Communicate regularly
With technology, you can communicate with your team in different ways. It’s important to make the most of this. Some of the means of communication you can use are:
· Phone calls
· Video calls
· Instant messaging
It’s important to reach out to your team as often as possible, and not just when you want to make a demand or correct a mistake. Set daily and weekly check-ins with your team. Checking in regularly keeps the team motivated and on track. These communication rules should be outlined in your remote working policy. Regular video calls keeps rapport going.
3. Make collaboration and communication simple.
Clear communication is crucial for a remote team to function effectively. Set up clear processes and expectations, communicate this clearly and make sure to follow-up. It’s best to send tasks, reminders and deadlines via project management tools, that way it can be referred back to. Some tools you can use are Trello, Slack, Asana, BaseCamp, etc.
4. Set the right expectations
From the get-go, set expectations regarding work hours, meeting schedules, email correspondence, availability, deliverables, deadlines, and so on, so you can avoid miscommunication and ensure a seamless flow of work.
5. Effective collaboration on documents
Managing a remote team means a number of documents would be shared between employees. Using tools such as Google Drive or Dropbox would make it easy to share documents, especially those that need to be worked on by multiple people.
6. Build the right tech stack.
Working remotely means you and your team are going to be depending a lot on online tools. As such, choosing the right tool is crucial to the ease at which you would be able to manage your team. It’s important that you know which works well for your business and team, and that you train and educate the team on how to properly use them. Tools such as communication tools, file sharing tools, online collaboration tools are important to bridge the physical gap between you and your team members.
7. Use one centralized project management tool
Using the right tool would help you as a manager keep track of your teams, what they are supposed to do to meet their deadline. You can drop notes for projects on the platform. Choose a project management tool that all members of your team are comfortable using; it would be counter-productive picking a tool that nobody understands. It’s important to be consistent and use the platform regularly so that essential details don’t start to fall through the cracks.
8. Always give kudos
Recognise the work being done and appreciate the effort put into it; this goes a long way to boost the team’s morale. Taking the time to thank team members for their work makes them feel like a part of the team. You can do this by sending simple emails or creating a section on your project management platform just for this.
9. Have fun in between work hours
Come up with ways to create fun among your team. You can set aside a time to discuss non-work related topics, share jokes, etc.
10. Use feedback to motivate
Schedule meetings via chat with the team members to check their work, get and give feedback as well as constructive criticism. This would give you an edge when dealing with each member of the team, saying the right thing at the right time, can make a world of difference to a team member.
It’s definitely not easy to manage any group of people with diverse personalities and different points of view , more so when it’s being done remotely. Remember, communication, patience and respect are the most important ingredients you’ll need to successfully manage your team from a distance.