5 Tips for Managing Remote Teams

The first time that I worked remotely on a full-time basis I found that there were new challenges that I hadn’t expected. I had worked remotely for an employer before but on a schedule that only had me away from the office one day a week. Since it was only periodic remote work it presented few issues other than the initial technical setup process.

But now being completely remote for the first time, I ran into roadblocks that I hadn’t encountered before. I was still trying to get a feel for the company culture and what was appropriate and now I had other questions like:

-When a client has a problem that needs to be addressed right away how did I keep others informed?

-When I need a quick response to a question, what should I do?

-What about when I just need feedback on my performance?

As I moved forward, I found a few things to be extremely helpful to being successful. Some of them I utilized, and others I would have if I had been the team leader. If you are managing a remote team for the first time, there are steps you can take to make sure your team is setup for success.

Identify Communication Preferences

What is your preferred method of communication for the most common tasks? Is it email, a phone call, a scheduled meeting time? Let your team know so that when they have a need, or they are requesting some of your time, they can utilize the best method.

Set a schedule

Select a preferred time and method for connecting one-on-one and as a team on a regular basis, either weekly or bi-weekly. Then get this on everyone’s calendar. It should be a time to touch base on goals and projects and stay on the same page. A set agenda will keep it productive and ensure the best use of each person’s time.

Provide Recognition

When you don’t see each other daily this can be even more crucial. Everyone needs to hear feedback on a job well done and receive kudos when they go the extra mile. Don’t let accomplishments go unnoticed. Have a structure for encouraging team members to give each other good feedback. Encourage each of them to share their wins with you. And when you hear about their accomplishments, take the time to reach out and acknowledge it and thank them.

Set expectations- early and often

It is better that your staff does not have to guess as to what you expect from them. Clearly define the expectations, both the short-term and long-term goals that they should be achieving. Then, give them feedback as to whether they are meeting the benchmarks. This will allow them to shift gears sooner if what they are doing is not working.

Don’t forget social time

Even though you aren’t physically working together, there are still many benefits to having time to socialize and interact as a team. What would normally be the “water cooler” conversation or an informal drop-in can still happen through virtual happy hours, quick online huddles or by allowing the first few minutes of the regular meeting to be a time for the team to catch up with each other. This opportunity for social connection among the team can help keep relationships strong and effective.

These are just a few tips to keep your remote team productive and happy. For more guidance, please contact us for more support or ideas in managing your team.

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