In an ever-increasing work from home environment, remote teams have become the norm. The virtual environment has led to the evolution and development of new communication channels, collaboration tools, and management software. As a remote team leader, it’s essential to develop effective remote management strategies to ensure that your team works cohesively and meets its objectives.
This blog article takes a deep dive into the strategies and guidelines that remote team leaders can use to manage their teams more effectively.
Section 1: Effective Communication
Communication is the cornerstone of any successful team, but it’s particularly crucial for remote teams. In a remote environment, communication channels are vital in keeping team members connected and updated on projects. Communication tools should be selected carefully to facilitate effective communication. They should be easy to use and accessible to all team members. There are various types of tools like messaging apps, video conferencing software, emails, cloud storage, project management software, among others.
Video Conferencing Software
Video conferencing is one of the most popular communication tools for remote teams as it offers face-to-face interaction. Popular video conferencing tools include Zoom, Skype, and Google Meet. These tools work particularly well for meetings, presentations, and training sessions.
Messaging apps like Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Basecamp can be particularly useful for quick updates, informal conversations, or for providing a channel for non-urgent communication.
Email is an essential part of remote team communication but should be used only for necessary communication or urgent updates. Sending frequent emails can be overwhelming and may not be effective in conveying a message properly.
Project Management Software
Project management software can be used to assign tasks, track progress, and communicate amongst team members. There are a variety of tools like Asana, Monday, and Trello that can be used for project management.
Regardless of the communication tools used, clear guidelines and communication protocols should be established to ensure that team members communicate effectively. Establish which tools or channels should be used for specific communication, and how often team members should communicate. Regular communication and follow-up demonstrates commitment, so ensure that you are approachable and create a culture that encourages team members to communicate openly.
Section 2: Set Clear Goals and Expectations
In remote team management, clearly outlining team goals and expectations is essential. It’s crucial for team members to understand what they are expected to deliver, the timelines, and the scope of each task. Clear communication regarding goals and objectives helps team members to stay focused and motivated. It’s recommended to use project management software to set goals and track progress.
Goals should be broken down into smaller achievable tasks, with a clear timeframe and scope. This ensures that team members can measure progress and have a better understanding of their roles within the team. It’s important to note that remote teams may have different needs and requirements, so it’s essential to ensure that goals are aligned with a remote team’s needs.
Section 3: Assign Tasks Effectively
Remote teams often consist of team members from different time zones and regions. As such, team leaders need to consider different factors when assigning tasks to remote team members. The task should be assigned to team members who are the best fit based on their experience, expertise, or strengths. For example, a team member with experience in a particular area or technology may be the best fit for a particular task. In addition, assigning tasks based on who is available can lead to conflict or team members becoming overburdened.
Remote team managers should make an effort to understand team members’ strengths and skills to assign tasks more effectively. Ensure that the goals and expectations are communicated when assigning a task, as mentioned in Section 2.
Section 4: Encourage Accountability
Remote team members must be accountable for their work. With remote work, it can be challenging for team leaders to track productivity as they cannot monitor it physically. Encourage team members to keep accurate records of their work, track their time, and monitor their progress. Use project management software to set deadlines and monitor progress. Review progress regularly, offering feedback and guidance.
Transparency fosters accountability, so share productivity reports with your team regularly. Be open, have a conversation about workloads or tasks, and encourage team members to be transparent about how much they can handle. Ensure that you provide support mechanisms to enable team members to manage their workloads, including career development opportunities, mentorship, or learning resources.
Section 5: Provide Support
Remote team members require additional support from their managers. As a team leader, you need to create opportunities for team members to interact and build relationships with other team members. Encourage them to participate in team activities like virtual hangouts, team-building activities, and feedback sessions. Use feedback sessions to check team members’ wellbeing, what they are struggling with, and how they can improve their productivity.
Provide resources that assist their work, such as training opportunities and professional development. Ensure that you are available as a source of support to answer their questions, offer guidance, and share feedback. Be proactive in offering support to enable the remote team members to thrive in their work environment.
Section 6: Prioritize Well-being
Remote work can take a toll on one’s well-being. It’s crucial to prioritize team members’ overall well-being, which will lead to better productivity, better relationships, and a supportive work culture. Encourage your team to take breaks when needed, prioritize mental health by offering counseling resources or guides on how to balance work and personal life.
Team leaders can also consider wellness activities such as offering yoga sessions, setting wellness challenges, or offering financial wellness resources. Ensuring team members’ well-being will prevent turnover, burnout, and a decline in productivity amongst team members.
Managing a remote team can be challenging, but with effective strategies, communication, and management tools, it becomes more manageable. As a remote team leader, it’s your responsibility to set clear expectations, communicate effectively, get to know your team members, and prioritize their well-being. A well-managed remote team can lead to improved productivity, better working relationships, and a positive team culture.