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6 Tips for Successfully Managing a Remote Team

Published August 03, 2020 (last updated February 18, 2021) Author: Employsure
manager working with remote employees team

No doubt, the new coronavirus has impacted the working environment in numerous ways; thanks to the global pandemic, the number of people working from home increased three-fold within the first month of the outbreak. Unlike working from an office, working remotely comes with its fair share of challenges not only to employees but also managers who have to keep things running to ensure continued productivity.   

Managing a remote team is not an easy task as it requires you to adopt a different set of working policies and effective methods of enforcing them. As Harvard Business School Professor Anthony Mayo contends in regard to working with a remote team, “The leader must ensure ongoing communication, reinforce team norms, encourage collaboration, and actively solicit the input and perspectives of everyone on the team, especially those who aren’t co-located.”   

Here we discuss six tips to enhance engagement and productivity with your remote team to ensure success amid the global pandemic. 

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Establish Team Norms and Expectations 

Working remotely comes with new challenges and expectations, especially for workers who are not used to this kind of setup. As such, it is critical to establish guidelines that dictate how employees should go about working from home and how they can continue to make progress. In a nutshell, having a set of rules enhances collaboration with the whole team, thus ensuring there is a definitive way of doing things. 

Experts argue that one way to establish norms and expectations is to engage in a formal launch where all involved parties take part. This helps the team to collectively agree on the rules put in place, which in turn fosters a good working relationship in the future.  

Communicate Constantly

Creating a communication strategy is paramount in managing, guiding, and motivating your remote team. As research shows, communication is one of the most important skills that team leaders should focus on developing to facilitate working remotely. Essentially, constant communication helps managers to provide employees with the perspective and guidance that employees need to be productive. 

An effective communication strategy should include two main components; weekly formal reports and guidelines addressing daily needs. More importantly, team leaders ought to be able to communicate matters of urgency as they come up to ensure the ultimate success of the workforce. 

Leverage Technology   

The success of your remote workers depends on the technology they have at their disposal. Ensuring that employees have access to modern technology can greatly work to enhance collaboration and communication. Some reliable technology you need here include but are not limited to; 

  • Productivity software suite (i.e. a suite word-processing, spreadsheet, and email applications, etc)
  • Cloud computing
  • Project management tools
  • Cybersecurity tools
  • Video conferencing and chat platforms

Besides checking on the progress of employees, technology is essential in building a community, which serves to foster togetherness and a sense of corporate culture. This can go a long way in eliminating loneliness that comes with being isolated from colleagues. 

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Focus on Outcome and Not Activity 

Managing every aspect of employees in different locations can be a daunting task. For easier management and running of your team, focus on the results and not on issues such as when and how they do their work. This can save you the trouble of having to micromanage your workers, which in most cases, can be counterproductive. 

Create a culture where people emphasize accomplishments as opposed to daily actions. This offers your workers autonomy to work with their schedules as long as they achieve the ultimate goals and objectives.   

Manage Expectations

As a team leader, you have an obligation to create realistic expectations for your team. This means laying out the tasks, scope, deadlines, and deliverables for every project they work on. Ideally, you should help them align their personal goals with the values and missions of the organization. In the end, it helps them to understand their specific roles and how to execute them to achieve success. By managing employees’ expectations, you help build a work frame that they can always consult and refer to.

Trust, Empower, and Support

No doubt, employee empowerment is a requisite for successful and productive teams. Research has shown that organizations that have a culture based on trust and employee support record higher levels of customer satisfaction, innovation, agility, and employee engagement. As a leader, you can empower employees by involving them in major projects and letting them take part in decision-making. 

Equally important is to support the professional development of workers along the way. This way, you contribute to enhancing their growth both in their professional and personal lives. A remote team that is empowered and supported is motivated to be successful. 

Managing a remote team has its own share of challenges. However, employing the right tools, having a hands-on role, and engaging the entire team can guarantee continued productivity, and ultimately, individual and organizational success.     

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