The world of work has undergone a paradigm shift in recent years. Moves towards remote working have been gathering momentum for several years, and the global pandemic of 2020 has accelerated this trend. For organizations, the benefits of remote working are numerous. It can boost productivity, foster an inclusive workforce, and increase employee satisfaction levels. However, for managers, it can also pose challenges.
Managing remote teams is a skill that develops over time. Whether it’s managing internal teams from different locations or working with freelance talent across multiple time zones, remote work requires a different approach to traditional management. In this blog, we will explore some tips and best practices for managers who are looking to create a successful remote workforce.
Hire the Right People
Remote work requires self-motivated individuals who can work independently, without supervision. When looking for remote employees, it’s crucial to consider whether they have the necessary experience to carry out their duties from a remote location.
When reviewing resumes or conducting interviews, look for team members who have clear communication and collaboration skills, experience with remote work, or a willingness to learn new software, tools, and technologies.
You could also consider using personality tests or behavioral assessments to gauge their suitability for remote work, such as their ability to manage their time, adapt to change, and collaborate with others. You could also ask for references from other remote team members they have worked with in the past.
Set Clear Expectations
Clear expectations for your remote teams are essential, as it allows your team members to understand their goals, objectives, responsibilities, and performance metrics. Be sure to communicate these expectations in writing, such as through job descriptions, service-level agreements, or a company handbook.
It’s critical to provide feedback and guide your team members regularly, ensuring that everyone is clear about their role in the team, and their assignments are aligned with the business goals.
In addition, establish communication and collaboration protocols, such as the use of messaging apps or project management tools, to facilitate workflow and minimize misunderstandings.
Use Collaboration Tools
Collaboration tools are essential to manage remote teams effectively. They enable team members to work together on projects from different locations, share files and documents, and communicate real-time.
Popular collaboration tools include video conferencing platforms like Zoom, project management tools like Trello, Asana, or Basecamp, and cloud-based storage/file-sharing solutions like Google Drive or Dropbox.
It’s essential to choose the right tools that align with your team’s specific needs and goals, as too many tools can be counterproductive and negatively impact team productivity.
Excellent communication is vital to the success of remote teams. You must establish and maintain an open channel of communication with your team members, regardless of their location or time zone.
Regular video calls, team meetings, one-on-one meetings, and project reviews are important to keep everyone aligned with the team’s goals, provide feedback, and answer questions. It’s also essential to use messaging or chat apps to stay in touch and respond to queries throughout the day.
It’s important to encourage your team members to communicate regularly to keep you informed about their progress, any issues they are experiencing, or feedback they may have.
Trust is essential in remote teams, as team members work independently and may not have direct supervision. When building trust with your remote team members, it’s essential to give them the autonomy to complete their work and avoid micromanagement. This trust encourages team members to feel valued, and it promotes a culture of trust that can also increase team productivity.
It’s important to establish clear expectations, communicate regularly, be transparent about your practices, and encourage a culture of initiative and creativity.
Remote work can lead to social isolation, burnout, and other well-being issues. It’s important to encourage your team members to practice self-care and build healthy habits to maintain their well-being.
Encourage them to take regular breaks, prioritize their health, and create healthy boundaries between work and home life. By fostering a culture of well-being, you can show your team members that their well-being is a priority, which can lead to increased job satisfaction and reduced turnover.
Foster a Culture of Inclusivity
Remote work can promote a culture of inclusivity and diversity by allowing access to talent that may not be available in-house. As a manager, it’s vital to foster a culture of inclusivity by ensuring that you build a diverse team that’s representative of the wider community.
Encourage respectful communication, empathy, and cross-cultural awareness to foster a culture of understanding and collaboration. Provide support for all team members, regardless of their location, background, or personal circumstances.
One of the most significant advantages of remote work is the flexibility it allows. Offering flexible working hours or project-based contracts can make your company more attractive to top talent and increase employee satisfaction levels.
It’s important to define core working hours or communication protocols around time-zone differences to ensure meetings, and deadlines are met, and productivity is not affected.
Invest in Training and Development
Remote workers need to be well-equipped with the right skills and tools to carry out their duties effectively. Offering training and support opportunities can ensure that they are up to speed with company tools and procedures, and they are continuously learning and improving.
Offer opportunities for team members to learn new skills, attend webinars or workshops, and receive constructive feedback to reach their full potential.
Tracking performance is crucial to ensure your team members are meeting their goals and objectives, and the business is on track to meet its targets. Metrics and KPIs can be used to measure performance, productivity, and efficiency.
Regularly review team performance and make necessary adjustments to ensure everyone is on track. Use data to benchmark against industry standards or set realistic targets. Celebrate successes and milestones, and encourage team members that may require extra support in specific areas.
Creating and maintaining a successful remote workforce requires managers to invest in the right people, establish clear expectations, prioritize communication, build a culture of trust, and foster inclusivity.
Remote work also requires the use of collaboration tools, encouraging self-care, embracing flexibility, investing in training and development, and tracking performance.
By following these tips, managers can create an efficient and effective remote workforce that boosts productivity, fosters inclusivity, and increases employee satisfaction levels.