If you are a manager or business leader, you may not have been prepared for this sudden and unexpected shift to managing remote teams. Procedures and practices that work when you are in close proximity to your team may not be as effective or productive when your team is spread out. Consistency, communication, and organization are key elements in helping your team shift to this new way of working. To help, here’s a guide on how to manage a remote team effectively.
Equip Your Team with the Resources They Need
If your team is not used to working from home, chances are they may not have all of the equipment or resources they need to do their job effectively from home. As a business owner or manager, it is your responsibility to equip your team with the resources they need to be successful when working remotely.
Don’t just assume everyone has a laptop, reliable internet service, or the software needed to do their jobs from home. Take an inventory of what your team has and what they need, then do your best to provide them with the tools they need to be successful.
Set Clear & Realistic Expectations
The methodologies that work and make sense in the workplace may not be realistic for remote teams. It is important to set clear and realistic expectations upfront so your team knows what they can expect from you and what you should expect from them. It is not realistic to expect people to be in front of their computers or in “work-mode” for 8 hours a day, especially if they have added responsibilities such as caring for children who are home from school.
Your expectations will have to adjust to make your remote teams successful. Some expectations you can set to manage your team effectively may include:
- Everyone is dressed professionally for daily meetings and conferences
- Everyone is expected to check-in at 9 am and submit their work goals for the day
- Team members are expected to be available and responsive during pre-determined work time
- Team members should adhere to email deadlines that align with traditional office hours
You may also ask your team what they think they will need from you to do their jobs effectively. Listen carefully to their input and put practices into place that will help them be successful and maximize the productivity of your remote team.;
Limit the Number of Platforms You’re Using
If you’re all used to working in the same location, chances are you’ve developed a way to keep communication and tasks organized. Now that you’re all spread out, keeping track of messages and correspondence can be a little more challenging. Research some of the best remote collaboration solutions and teach your team how to use them.
That said, it can be helpful to limit the number of different platforms you’re using, giving your team adequate time to get acclimated to each new system you add. Be consistent in the way you send and receive information. This reduces the amount of time you spend looking through emails, texts, voicemails and physical documents to find the information that you need.
You put this team together because you were confident in their abilities. It can be tempting to check-in more now that you’re not in the same location. But just because your team is not right under your nose does not mean they are not working. If they did a good job before, chances are they will continue to work hard, meet goals, and meet your expectations when working remotely as well.
You’ll quickly feel overwhelmed if you try to manage every aspect of every task for every person on your team. Tell them what they need to do, be available for questions and clarifications, and check in periodically. Micromanaging your team makes them think you don’t trust their ability to do their jobs, and it causes extra work for you.
One of the drawbacks of working remotely is that it can be lonely, especially during a time when we are limited in what we can do and where we can go. People who are used to working face to face with clients and other team members may be discouraged with the lack of interaction and community that comes with remote teams.
Depending on the size of your company and your remote teams, brainstorm ways you can engage and still feel like a cohesive unit instead of multiple individual units. This could be a group video conference once a week to check in with everyone or a virtual happy hour on Friday evenings.
If you were a tight-knit team before the switch to working from home, find ways to foster that bond and stay connected as a team. If you weren't very close before this, this may be the perfect opportunity to get to know each other better!
Your Remote Team Needs Device Magic
The Device Magic team understands that things are very different for managers and business leaders right now, and you are probably having to learn very quickly about how to manage a remote team effectively.
Device Magic's innovative tool allows remote teams to create, modify, share, save, and even print important documents, without internet connectivity. From checklists and surveys to maintenance reports and purchase order forms, Device Magic Mobile Forms makes it easy to create all of the professional documents that your team needs to get the job done.