How to Effectively Manage Remote Teams
The efficacy of remote working is now a settled debate. It’s good for employees because it allows higher flexibility in their day-to-day and is even better for employers due to lower costs and access to better talent. Overall, remote working is a win-win.
The fact that almost half the US employees work remotely at some point is a testimony to its wide adoption and appreciation. Yet, similar to dating, long-distance relationships can create hurdles in communication and collaboration. How you manage this gap ultimately determines the success of your remote teams.
If you are a manager scrambling to work with and operate remote teams, here is your quick guide for effective management.
Recognize the challenges
The first step to solving any problem is to understand it. Take an objective view of your remote team and recognize gaps that are creating bottlenecks, inefficiencies, or taking a toll on productivity. If you aren’t sure where to start, some of the most common challenges include:
- Lack of proper communication tools
- Problems in tracking employee performance
- Time-zone differences
- Lack of cohesion in the team
- No clear roles/tasks or missing accountability
Depending on how mature your remote team environment is, you might be facing one or more (or even all) of these challenges.
Get the Right Tools
Adopting the right tools is the foundational element of enabling a remote workforce. When deployed properly, the right tools can solve three problems:
The communication gap is the most common challenge for remote teams - and the one that can best be solved by using the appropriate tools. This not only includes messaging and video conferencing apps like Slack or Zoom but also productivity tools like G Suite where teams can seamlessly collaborate on any given task.
Another challenge for managers is to accurately track and assess productivity of each of their remote employees. Have you ever had an employee with no results, but tons of activity? Or another you feel is slacking on activity but somehow meeting their goals? You can get better insight and answers into why these things happen by deploying performance tracking tools like Prodoscore: a business tool that integrates with all of your apps and offers real-time engagement reports.
If you are struggling to define specific roles and tasks for your remote teams (and make them accountable for it), you need project management tools like Jira or Trello. This enables you to define and assign any tasks, set deadlines, and track progress to ensure your project always remains on track.
Respect Others’ Time
Remote teams often operate on different time zones that make collaboration and meetings tough to schedule. The most important rule here is to strike a balance between you and your remote employee’s time. We all work together and need to be courteous of each other’s time. If 10 AM in your time zone corresponds to 10 PM in their time zone, the best approach would be to meet at the middle ground where both parties are comfortable.
Regular Group and One-to-One Meetings
Since remote employees work in silos, it is important to create an environment where they feel connected to the larger process. This, by extension, makes the team more cohesive. This is why having regular group meetings on video conferences is a must - they help the team get to know one another and build communication channels.
On a similar note, it is important as a project manager or employer to maintain personal communication through regular one-to-one sessions. These meetings allow a space where both parties can speak about the successes or struggles they are facing on their ends.
To wrap up our discussion, remote working isn’t just a passing phase. It’s here to stay. So the sooner you adopt and adapt to its best practices, the more benefits you can extract out of it. To put in a nutshell, all you need to successfully run remote teams is the right tools and the right temperament. We at Prodoscore play a small but crucial part of that process and want your remote team and business to be successful! Contact us now to learn more.