A large portion of the world has been turned upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic. People started practicing social distancing, as well as other methods, to help flatten the curve.
It’s indeed an effective way to slow down the spread of the virus. However, this is also taking a huge toll on the economy. Many businesses are experiencing a downturn in business, and some have even had to close down. Other companies have asked employees to work from home.
We live in a world of remote work, but keeping remote teams engaged and managing remote teams can be challenging for even the best managers. Although this unique environment presents an array of opportunities for team leaders to grow, you can also take advantage of it.
Leadership requires that you care for your team as individuals, not just as members of the team. Telecommuting can adversely affect a team’s culture, causing anxiety regarding future projects and collaborations. Additionally, online communication helps support kids at home, caretakers, and leadership.
Supporting and staying connected with their remote teams can present new challenges for managers. Don’t fret if this sounds familiar to you. Here are a few things to consider for successfully transitioning your company from in-house to remote working.
Things To Consider While Managing Business Remotely
Managing remote workers requires a strategy and specific skills. Even though there are various tools to help manage virtual teams, supervisors need to fundamentally shift their vision statement, work reports, and general approach.
Establishing a sense of trust while holding people accountable and understanding will be critical when managing people remotely. Team leaders might have a few challenges regarding remote work, even though it provides numerous benefits.
Following are some tips that will help you manage virtual employees effectively and adopt new communication strategies in order to overcome these obstacles.
1. Set Clear Expectations
Having clear objectives at the beginning of remote work is one of the best tips for leading remote teams. You must set shared expectations with your team when you are remotely managing them.
These expectations cover a wide range of topics, from virtual work hours to timeline adjustments. Your team needs to know how you will manage them remotely. Unexpected video calls, for example, may be quite upsetting to employees.
It is likely best to set expectations with one mass call and reinforcement through one-to-one conversations or small group outreach. As a manager of a cross-functional team, it is critical to discuss nuanced expectations with each member during that one-on-one time.
You should enlist a few members of your team to help you document any changes needed to your normal project management process and share it with employees and other core functions so they can easily reference them.
Streamlining your processes and embracing automation wherever possible are two key strategies to manage your remote workers effectively.
Process automation can be used to streamline multi-stage administrative tasks, such as scheduling leave, processing software requests, and even onboarding and offboarding.
You can modernize your operations and detach your administrative tasks from outdated practices by using different types of software available in the market. There are different types of work from home tools available in the market which helps you to automate the work process.
You should have a system to keep track of everything via email or conversation if you want to stay on top of things. When working on multiple projects, it is crucial to use a project management software system to keep track of who is responsible for what and when deadlines are due.
Communication is crucial to success in any role, but it is especially crucial when it comes to remote work. You need to schedule and check-ins with your coworkers and your manager every week to stay in touch on your goals and upcoming projects.
It’s important to communicate regularly with your teams, but you should make it a two-way street to make it as effective as possible. A strong level of trust is built by encouraging open and honest communication with your teams.
You will increase employee engagement and productivity by listening to their needs, looking after their interests, and acting in their best interests. As a remote manager, it can be easy just to talk about what needs to get done, jump off the call, end the chat, and get back to execution.
4. Hire Right People
Ensure that the remote staff you hire are self-motivated and hold the same values and vision as your company. It’s crucial to set clear expectations from the start when managing a remote team.
Ensure everyone understands the company’s goals and creates a consistent onboarding process. Organize a training session on performance indicators, expectations, team member duties, and job descriptions as part of the onboarding process.
Providing training opportunities for remote teams is another useful tip for managing them. You may choose to train your team members on new platforms used by your organization or look for opportunities that will enable them to develop professionally as a whole.
5. Collaborate and listen
In order to learn from each other and grow as a workplace, frequent collaboration sessions are essential. They also ensure that virtual employees understand their tasks. Additionally, having participants repeat back what they heard in their own words can be helpful for ensuring focus and understanding of assignments.
When everyone is on the same page from the start, the classic ‘measure twice, cut once’ approach produces quality results. Relationships between team members are strengthened, and trust is built through face-to-face meetings.
The most important aspect of working on a remote team is to communicate clearly. Your team can perform better if you set clear expectations and processes. Keep in touch with your team, follow up, and repeat – make sure nothing slips through the cracks.
6. Establish work-life balance
Employees who work remotely are just as susceptible to burnout since they do not balance work and personal life. Take into consideration team meetings and the time difference between different time zones.
When scheduling meetings, make sure to include dial-in numbers or video conferencing links. Remote employees should be respected when taking time off – just because they aren’t always physically at the office doesn’t mean they should be bothered when on vacation.
You cannot even tell if your employees can achieve this balance unless you are aware of all they do and how much time they spend doing it.
7. Schedule regular team meetings
Your entire remote team needs to meet virtually at least once every week in addition to weekly one-on-one meetings. It’s likely you already meet weekly or daily in a team, and working remotely shouldn’t change that.
Professionalism and productivity should be the goal in these meetings, but humor and empathy should also seep in occasionally. It is not a problem if a dog barks or a child runs through the room occasionally.
You can make your weekly meetings more personal by incorporating messaging avatars to humanize the work and the in-person meetings. The best way to facilitate a sense of unity and help employees bond with each other in an environment where employees are partly or entirely remote is to hold regular group meetings and host virtual events.
Employees who attend such meetings can build connections, become better acquainted, and be more open to regularly cooperating and communicating with each other. As well as providing remote workers with a chance to contribute ideas, team meetings also help to clarify miscommunications about project details, deadlines, and expectations.
8. Be transparent
It is common for workers to look up to their leaders as examples of how to behave at work. For instance, they are likely to be open and honest with you when you are open and honest with them.
If you make transparency part of your organization’s culture, it is easier to build trust with your employees. This will ensure they feel comfortable talking to you about any concerns they might have.
Transparency should be extended equally to all members of your team. Make sure you tell every team member what you have to share at the same time, for example. Thus, your remote employees won’t feel like they’re the last to hear about office happenings, nor will they feel like they’re deliberately being left out of the loop.
Professionally and personally, remote work offers many benefits. Work remotely and share the benefits with your teammates. Every person will respond to remote work differently, whether they are new to it or have been doing it for some time.
Managing remote employees is similar to managing them on-site in many ways. There is, however, a mistake in assuming that a remote worker is the same as one who works in the same building as you.
When working with remote employees, you have to understand the challenges they face in order to manage them effectively. It is quite a balancing act to create a productive workplace that addresses the needs of various individuals.
You as a manager will benefit from implementing these tips as well as your team. As you gain a deeper understanding of the needs and challenges of managing remote workers, you’ll be a better manager – and better prepared for a world where remote work rapidly becomes the norm.
About the Author
Sujan Thapaliya is the CEO and Co-founder of KrispCall. He has a wealth of computer, communications, and security experience. As well as years of experience in the industry, Sujan has also conducted investigative research into issues such as privacy and fraud. Through KrispCall, he aspires to make business communication safer, reliable, and more affordable.