How to Successfully Manage Remote Teams

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How to Successfully Manage Remote Teams

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Building a remote team may benefit your business in multiple ways, from cutting down business expenses to boosting employees’ morale and hiring top-notch players from all around the globe. 

However, there are many challenges of managing a remote team, including distractions at home, the feeling of detachment from other team members, poor communication, different time zones, and poor time management skills. These factors may harm your remote employees’ satisfaction and compromise their performance.

Here are a few simple tips on how to manage remote teams.

Set Clear Expectations

No matter if your employees’ offices are down the hall or they are working from the comfort of their homes, the rules should be the same for everyone. 

Let your staff know how often you want them to check in, when they need to be available, what meetings they need to attend, when to ask for vacation days, etc. While some remote team managers expect daily updates from their employees, others prefer a weekly briefing. Your employees should know what you expect them to do so they can perform better.

Encourage Employee Communication

With the rise of video conferencing tools, your employees can now communicate effectively across multiple devices, irrespective of their location. No matter if you want to schedule a 1:1 meeting or host a conference for 1000 people, virtual event tools will boost event attendance and help you save on travel and accommodation costs.

Here are a few ideas on how to use video conferencing software to boost employee communication:

  • Create interactive recruiting experiences Virtual conference platforms can serve as a recruiting tool for your remote HR team. With their help, your HR professionals will be able to schedule interviews with candidates, deliver online onboarding experiences, and perform assessment events. Most importantly, they will improve collaboration with remote team members and encourage in-person communication.
  • Make ideating remote-friendly Move your brainstorming processes to the cloud to let all employees take part in it. Choose virtual event software that lets you live stream videos, as well as share recorded content, run live polls, and host Q&A sessions for your remote staff. Your goal is to provide them with an immersive and fully interactive experience, no matter where they are.
  • Promote team building activities Use video chatting tools to build stronger relationships among your employees. For example, GitLab encourages remote staff members to take virtual coffee breaks together and talk via video conferencing software.

Use video chatting tools to build stronger relationships among your employees. For example, GitLab encourages remote staff members to take virtual coffee breaks together and talk via video conferencing software.

Always Make Time for In-Person Communication

Never neglect the power of building rapport with every member of your team. Ask them for feedback, understand their needs and emotions, and help them work through any problem. 

Your goal is to build trust with your employees and demonstrate that you care about them. Above all, keep learning about them – their families, goals, accomplishments, and frustration. That way, you will keep them satisfied and retain them in the long-run.

Use a Project Management Tool

Project management tools, like Basecamp, Asana, or Trello, allow you to organize tasks and manage staff members more effectively. Instead of using chaotic email inboxes to collaborate, employees can now collaborate from a simple, decluttered interface. 

As a remote team manager, you will be able to create multiple projects and to-do lists, add tasks, and assign them to the right people. All project stakeholders will receive notifications about their tasks and be able to communicate and share files in real-time. Above all, all team members will have 24/7 access to the same documentation.

Balance Different Time Zones

One of the major perks of hiring remote staff is access to global talent. However, managing people across multiple time zones is not always easy. Say most of your employees live in New York, but you also have a few employees based in Sydney and Berlin. When it is nice 1 PM in New York, it is 3 AM in Sydney and 7 PM in Berlin.  Always plan your video meetings thoroughly to avoid calling your remote staff at awkward times. Your goal is to boost their attendance and prevent them from feeling left out.

Get Together Face-To-Face

One of the most effective ways to encourage team bonding is to get everyone together face-to-face at least once a year. 

For example, Buffer’s entire remote team meets up every five months at various exotic locations across the globe, such as Australia or South Africa. They create a Google Spreadsheets document, where they set dates and make a list of location nominations for remote employees to vote. That way, their employees get a chance to work together and participate in exciting team building activities.

While organizing a company retreat is pricey, it is an investment in the long-run. By bringing your distributed team together, you will be able to create a unique company culture and break down any cultural barriers.

Over to You

Remote work is no longer an option. It has become a norm for any growing business that wants to reduce costs and hire top talent. However, before you start hiring remote staff, remember that they experience unique problems. To manage them effectively, you need to understand those challenges and address them effectively. I hope these tips will help you!

How do you manage a remote team? We are listening!

Feature image from Freepik

Updated 03:30 PM UTC+8, 21 Oct 2020
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Keith Coppersmith
Keith Coppersmith
Contributor
 
Keith Coppersmith is a business and marketing expert who has experienced both the rise and fall of many businesses. As a regular contributor at BizzmarkBlog, he enjoys writing and providing insight of the marketing industry based on both practice and theory.
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