Remote jobs were not that popular just a few years ago. Mostly, freelancers could afford one, or the savviest experts valued by their companies a lot. Those were exceptions, though. These days, companies tend to hire entire remote teams to avoid rental payments or to cut expenses by addressing foreign professionals.
As a team lead or an HR responsible for tracking a remote team’s progress, you probably already know that despite the fact that remote positions are widespread, there are numerous difficulties. And not everyone has figured out the solutions yet. So, we are here to help you! Here are the 6 tips on how to manage a remote team and keep the work efficient.
Every Member of the Team Has a Life, Remember It
It’s easy to forget about the human part of your co-workers’ lives. Finally, all you see are pictures and messages in Slack and, sometimes, live meetings in Zoom. Online communication is definitely helpful in solving many problems, but there are also drawbacks. Both sides have more opportunities to ignore each other and less of those to understand one’s real attitude to the situation and their vision of it.
Face-to-face communication is a much better reminder of the humane part of each co-worker. The short comments you can hear during the workday are full of details that make others remember that there is more than just work.
Some are about to go on maternity leave or have a wedding. Others may still study and can’t manage it all without an essay writing services help, leave alone attending all online meetings or start working every day at 9 AM because of ongoing exams. If those have not started yet, it means the student is in the middle of revising a lot of information or submitting some last assignments, hence the stress.
That’s why, if you notice decreasing performance that hasn’t been evident before, remind yourself that there are also external factors, and you might need to adjust to them. The more attention you pay to these aspects, the higher chance you’ll understand your team members’ actions, the way they think, and how to help them.
Promote Flexible Schedules Whenever It’s Possible
To ensure that all of your workers have time for the job you’ve got for them, try to meet them halfway. The jobs requiring time trackers and all that control-freak stuff are not that many, in reality. More often, there’s no need to check whether the team members work 5 or 8 hours.
If you manage it right, you’ll be able to track the actual progress on their tasks instead of looking at how many minutes less or more they have worked yesterday. You won’t have to establish strict working days either. Besides, there must be cases when you won’t lose much if you let some members of your team start working a couple of hours later. Many such things are taught in MBA courses, but if you are already taking such a course and want to free up some time for practice, mba essay writing service will help you to cope with the task.
Don’t Give Up on Team Buildings
To reduce the chances of staying out of touch and forgetting what was described above, promote regular meetings to discuss something other than working processes or one’s performance. It’s perfect if held offline – meeting each other in person is a good chance to connect, – but online will work too. That’s better than nothing if you’ve got no other options because your team is scattered around the world.
You may include some quizzes or fun games. Consider choosing a theme or even a quest. If split into several competing groups, your colleagues will also learn how to be a better team. In addition, some special exercises designed specifically for team building exist, for instance:
- Ethical dilemmas exercise
- Convergent vs. divergent thinking, etc.
Employees love feedback and communication (in moderate amounts, of course). At least, the absence of those is detrimental to a team. So, it’s definitely better to engage in a kind of dialogue from time to time or sum up the results and share them with your colleagues. Make it a habit to compile digests with:
- updates and news
- some food for thought
- brainstorming topics
- highlights of the week/month, and so on.
You can also share some information that will improve employees’ soft skills. For instance, information about the best-written communication patterns, tips on networking, or useful books (or excerpts from those). Make sure you include only relevant info though. Otherwise, the team will stop reading the digests with time. Look for the topics that will excite most of the team members.
This Could Be an Email
For instance, if there is a custom to hold monthly meetings on employees’ performance, it’s important to admit the situations when a meeting as it is isn’t really required. Long discussions according to a checklist that repeat over and over again with no significant information provided to workers may, in the end, desensitize them to what the team lead says.
The same refers to emails as well. No one likes long-reads, except for maybe their authors. And even authors may not feel like writing that much. Sure, there may be no choice ‘cause a persuasive speech may need to be detailed. So, your aim is to distinguish when you should be concise and efficient in regard to your team’s time and when you need them to be all eyes and ears.
Set Ground Rules
Clear rules are the foundation of an adequate working relationship. To lead a team, you should not only be nice and understanding but also firm. It’s especially crucial in managing a remote team since you can’t control it as well as in the offline mode. That’s why you should establish:
- basic principles of communication
- must-follow rules
- what is appreciated and what’s not
- what won’t be tolerated
- the values your team should adhere to
If you have these in your head and if you communicate them to your team, you can be 99% sure that there won’t be any major misunderstandings.
Sure, there are exceptions to some of the tips above. Some specific industries need their remote teams to be as regular as clockwork. Yet, it doesn’t change the fact that the human factor should go first. If your team’s basic needs are addressed, you have more chances to motivate them and, thus, provide excellent results. So, do your homework!