Covid-19 promoted many businesses to speed up remote working plans which have been challenging. A lot of businesses may have already started to think about remote working in the future, but have now had to speed up the process. This means that many managers face the challenge of managing and supporting a remote team for the first time, and are having to learn as they go. It can be daunting to navigate and ensure your employees are engaged, thriving, and productive when working from home.
It’s not just about providing them with a computer and video platform and assuming everything else will fall in place, it’s far more than that. Managers also need to be aware that remote working can create a different feeling about work such as isolation within teams, compared to what you would find in an office.
Let’s have a look at some of the tips you should be looking at when managing a team of remote workers:
Set Expectations Often And Early
Some of the most essential steps for any project are for you to provide guidelines, set boundaries, and review the basics. There are bound to be different working hours, deadlines, and more flexibility, therefore managers should be setting expectations as early as possible but also frequently. Setting a weekly meeting to discuss projects and targets can be combined with talking about plans for the future for the next few months. Doing this will help your team be prepared and expect their future workload so, they can plan their time better.
Managers should also think about providing somewhere that their team members can access at all times and see the priorities, projects, milestones, performance, and more. Outlining each team member’s availability is also a great way of understanding the resources compared to workload. It also creates a way for your employees to think about and plan their home working hours. Using the right IT Support Company to help you set up your remote working capabilities such as setting up cloud storage or assisting with any IT issues for your remote team is a good idea. Especially if you don’t have an in-house IT support team.
Be Flexible And Organised
When it comes to working with and managing a remote team, the key is to maintain consistency but also allow flexibility. Although you need to have a plan, you should be open to adjustments. Whether your employees choose to put their hours in first thing or the evening, it shouldn’t matter, as long as the work still gets completed to a high standard.
Communication Is Important
Managers must communicate with a remote team, it keeps employees aware of deadlines, the available resources, any challenges, expectations, and other work schedules. You should also think about which communication tool fits best with the team for example, does the teamwork better with email, texts, phone calls, intranet channels, or video chats, or even a mixture of them all? You need to make sure there are a good solid platform and consistent way to communicate with all employees. Managers also need to understand that communication frequency may be different from person to person. One person may like to email once a day to communicate their work and deadlines, another may be happy to continue working until they come across an issue. Either way, it is important to make sure you keep in contact with your employees, whether it’s a daily or weekly check-in email, or a monthly 1:1 to talk through any issues or achievements, make sure there is a line of communication and understanding both ways.
Try Not To Micromanage
No matter how tempting it may be, as a manager, you should resist the urge to micromanage your teams. No one works well when they have someone working over their shoulder, and you wouldn’t do it when in the office, so you shouldn’t have the need to do it when your team is working remotely either. The regular check-ins and 1:1’s should be enough to help to avoid micromanagement as they provide you and your team to share any updates. Make sure the feedback goes both ways too. You need to trust that if they are communicating sufficiently and well, meeting goals and deadlines, and seeking help when they need it, that your employees are remaining productive and completing their jobs to a high standard.
These four tips should help you to manage a remote team. Have you started to manage a new remote team recently? What have you found challenging or found that works well? Please share some of your feedback in the comments below.