Working remotely comes with some incredible advantages, like working from the comfort of your own home (not to mention joining Zoom meetings in your pajama pants)! More and more companies are catching onto the advantages – in fact, by 2028, 73% of companies are projected to have remote teams.
There are plenty of reasons to go remote with your workforce in 2022. Not only is it the perfect arrangement for the current climate of isolation and social distancing, but it’s also great for the environment and for your employees’ quality of life.
Don’t be mistaken, however: managing a remote team is not without its challenges. That’s why we’ve put together this ultimate guide to managing remote teams, complete with tips and tools to help you get the most out of your remote team.
Let’s dive in.
Perhaps one of the most important things to remember when managing a remote team is that communication is key. This means being diligent about sending out updates, sharing goals and objectives, and communicating any changes or challenges as they come up.
So, how can you make sure your communication is top-notch? Here are a few tips:
This could be something like Slack, Zoom, or Google Hangouts. You’d be surprised at how many teams still rely on email for communication! The problem with email is that it’s not always easy to track who has seen a message, and it can be difficult to follow a conversation thread.
A communication platform that is designed for remote teams will make it easier for you to keep track of everything that’s happening.
Video conferencing is a great way to ensure that everyone is on the same page. It’s also an avenue for building relationships with your team members. By seeing each other’s faces, you’ll be able to better understand their body language and tone of voice, which can help you when it comes to deciphering their messages.
Quality team meetings keep everyone in the loop, and they can also be a great opportunity for team-building. Make sure to set aside time each week (or month) for team meetings, and try to have a different team member lead the meeting each time. This will help everyone get to know each other better. You should celebrate important dates with your team. In March for example, companies celebrate women’s history month at work by wearing purple or setting a special team building activity.
Naturally, employees need to share lots of different information with each other. While some data may not be super sensitive, other data is very sensitive and must be handled with care. Consider using special encryption software that will allow everyone to store and share sensitive information (like passwords and financial information) securely.
Task management software is fairly essential if you want to keep track of what everyone is working on. This will help you avoid overlap, and it will also help you ensure that everyone is keeping on track with their goals and objectives.
When you are managing a remote team, it can be a little more difficult to maintain a clear structure and clearly defined roles and responsibilities. This is especially important when team members are working remotely, as they may not be able to easily ask clarifying questions or seek out help when they need it.
Make sure that you take the time to clearly define everyone’s role and responsibilities in writing, and update this document as needed. This will help to ensure that everyone is aware of what they are supposed to be doing and that there is no ambiguity about who is responsible for what.
Some of the responsibilities that are important to assign might be things like:
- Managing and updating the company’s website or social media accounts
- Responding to customer inquiries
- Updating inventory or tracking sales data
- Preparing reports or other documentation
- Editing and proofreading content
When everyone is clear on their roles and responsibilities, it makes it easier for them to know what they need to do and how they can contribute to the company’s success.
An unfortunate reality of remote work is that it can often be isolating. Boredom, loneliness, and depression are real risks for people who work from home, so it’s important to make sure your team takes care of their mental health.
One way to do this is to promote a culture of transparency and communication. Encourage your team to talk openly about how they’re feeling, both good and bad. This will help create a sense of community and make sure no one feels like they’re struggling alone.
Another way to promote mental health is to provide your team with mindfulness applications. Meditation is an effective way to combat stress, anxiety, and depression. By taking a few minutes each day to focus on their mind, remote employees can stay healthy and productive.
As mentioned previously, using communication platforms like Slack and Google Suite are excellent ways to keep up your communication – but there are other tools that you can use to help manage your remote team as well.
Trello is a great way to create and assign tasks, as well as track their progress. It’s also excellent for creating boards with different categories (e.g., “To Do,” “In Progress,” and “Completed”) to help you and your team visualize what still needs to be done.
Another great tool for managing remote teams is Asana. Asana allows you to create tasks, assign them to different people, and track their progress. You can also add due dates, comments, and attachments to tasks.
As well as Trello, Slack, and Asana, other remote team management tools include:
- Jira – for project management
- Podio – for team collaboration and communication
- Zoom – for video conferencing
- Harvest – for time tracking
- RescueTime – for productivity tracking
Some companies hesitate to use tools due to their price points, but fortunately, many of these tools have free versions available – and the investment is truly worth it when you consider the time and stress that can be saved by using them.
Managing a remote team can be more challenging than in-person work at times, but with the right tools and processes in place, it can be an incredibly rewarding experience. By creating a clear set of expectations, maintaining communication, and taking advantage of technology to stay connected, you can make sure your remote team is functioning at its best.
And remember: the most important part of managing a remote team is building a strong culture of trust and respect. By fostering a positive, productive work environment, you can ensure your remote team is successful – no matter where they are located.