It looks as though flexible work arrangements and remote work is here to stay. In fact, new studies show that nearly 66% of workers operate out of their homes at least part of the time and close to 74% of organizations are allowing employees to work remotely. This begs the question- how can you manage remote teams and maintain cohesion and morale? Today’s managers need innovative ways to bond teams together, collaborate, and provide employees with the support they need. While it’s true that there are a number of project management tools that can help with supervising duties, real success requires a fundamentally different approach to management. It takes the right balance of trust and accountability to successfully manage remote teams. Here are a few tips for effectively managing remote employees.
1. Set Clear Expectations
The first thing managers should do is establish clear expectations with everyone involved. These expectations cover everything from virtual work hours to project scheduling and timelines. Let your team know that you will be managing them from afar and performing random check-ins to ensure everyone is on the same page. Though it is important to discuss these expectations, it is also recommended that you provide documentation for your expectations so employees will have something material that they can reference to be reminded of expectations and changes.
2. Conduct Individual Check-Ins
It is important that you still provide one-on-one face time with all of your team members. Not only is this a great way to check in to ensure your team members are on task, but it also helps reinforce the fact that support is there if they need it. It is also a great opportunity to discuss any concerns or challenges that either you or your team members are facing. Consider setting up a short one-on-one meeting for about 10-15 minutes once or twice a week with everyone on your team.
3. Schedule Weekly Team Meetings
In addition to weekly one-on-one meetings, it is also critical that you bring your entire team together at least once a week for a virtual meeting. Let these meetings serve as an opportunity to address the entire team, answer any questions, provide feedback, and allow for in-person chats. Not only will these meetings provide much needed clarification, but they will also help foster unity among team members.
4. Have a Communication Strategy in Place
Communication is a vital workplace component and it can be even more challenging in a remote setting. To support regular communication, start with utilizing a company-wide communication tool such as Slack or Google chat to allow for quick and easy communication with the organization. Furthermore, define when a group video chat might be more effective than a Slack message as well as details regarding timing and responsiveness to emails and phone calls.
5. Use Various Management Tools
There are a number of tools available today that help manage remote employees, facilitate communication, foster collaboration, share files, and keep projects and tasks organized. Consider using some of the following tools:
- Google Drive
6. Focus on the Outcome
Part of the appeal for remote workers is autonomy, though this can be one of the most stressful aspects of remote work for managers. It can be difficult to trust your employees when you’re not sitting right next to them watching their efforts. However, micromanaging remote workers can be stressful and exhausting for both parties. Instead of micromanaging your employees’ responsibilities, focus on outcomes and goals rather than visible activity and hours worked. As long as the employee is completing their work well and on time, the rest is irrelevant.
If you are interested in learning more, contact us today at 1-800-501-1245 to request information about training courses from the Management Training Institute as well as other corporate training programs offered through our parent company Bold New Directions.