8 Tips for Managing Remote Teams Effectively
Remote work is here to stay. After all, it’s more than a trend, which has taken off in the last few years. And, with the benefits pouring in, mostly in the form of lower costs, rising productivity, access to a wide and cross-cultural pool of employees, there’s no doubt in the sustainability of the practice. Despite so, there are a few challenges to managing remote teams.
From a distance, it might seem rewarding but the efforts going behind the scene are hardly perceptible. Only managers of companies are aware of it all. If you are one of them, encountering outright issues such as poor communication, high turnover, or failing miserably to keep them happy and losing a sense of cohesive team then we have some tips to help you out. Go through this article to identify the existing niggles, learn about the boons of technology, and equip yourself with expert tips so that you can come off with flying colors during exigencies like lockdowns.
Managing remote employees can be a challenging task if there’s a lack of the right communication tool and cohesion within the team. Some of the most common issues are missing accountability programs, vague roles and tasks, different time zones, and in tracking worker performance levels. Besides, plenty of miscellaneous other problems pop up, threatening the very existence of a remote team. Let’s shed some light on them to identify some of the gravest problems, hampering remote working.
1. Absence of a Suitable Remote Work Tool
It is often witnessed that teams working remotely lack a fitting tool that will not only help them collaborate and organize remote work but also raise productivity levels. While some of them help manage tasks better, others assist in project management, chatting, and proofing. But, an ideal one should cover it all under its wing.
2. Lack of Proper Coordination among Team Members
Unity is indeed strength but not when there’s a lack of collaboration on projects. The outcome? Poorly organized projects! So, it’s incredibly important to keep the entire team on board on the same page.
3. The Difference in Cultural Backgrounds
A global workforce comprises of people from various cultural backgrounds. The issue crops up only when managers fail to acknowledge it and disrespect individual work ethics.
4. Lack of Transparency
Having a team working right under your nose ensures delivery on time. It allows managers to track the progress of the project right away but when it’s a remote team, the program is usually not see-through and this gives birth to the greatest fear of control.
5. Irregular One-on-One Sessions
Do you know one-on-one sessions are valuable for employees to vent out their feelings and discuss their issues? Managers, who hardly dedicate time to them, are bound to face disputes and fail miserably in remote team building.
6. Dissimilar Time Zones
Scheduling of meetings for employees to attend is tricky, given the varying time zones. A chosen time might be convenient for one but not for the other. This leads to a communication gap between team members and managers.
Setting up a team and delegating tasks to all of them in a physical workplace is very much achievable. But managing remotely takes a lot of confidence and thoughtful actions. Here are some tips to ensure more productivity from your cross-cultural team members, working collectively from every part of the world.
1. Schedule Face-to-Face Meetings Daily
By one-on-one conversations, the activity should not just be limited to conversations over the phone or through emails but video conferencing once in a while. In a simple sense, both the parties, i.e. the employees and the managers should be able to see each other. And, with advanced technology brought forward by applications like Zoom and Team Hangouts from Google, you can readily achieve your purpose of providing your team members valuable feedback on how to improve.
2. Leverage Technology
By now, you must have fathomed the invaluable role played by communication tools. While text messages and emails best cater to short-term solutions, Microsoft Teams or Slack or EdrawMind serve greater purposes like collaboration for keeping a team connected. So, the tip would be optimizing technology by employing more of these tools for keeping everyone engaged.
3. Measure Outcomes
Instead of marking hours worked or roles played and undertaken projects, check for outcomes to measure the productivity of your employees. Not only is it feasible but it also simplifies the job of managing remotely. Check for yourself and you will be surprised in the end.
4. Ensure Flexibility
Halt for a moment and give productivity a thought. Is it rightly measured by regular work hours or maintenance of an eight-hour shift? Sometimes, wisdom lies in trusting your team. If you can have faith in them then let them know about it. This would bestow them with the invaluable key to success – ‘Flexibility’. Workers who enjoy the same in their remote work environment usually are the most productive. So, for a change, your motto should be to ensure completion of work on schedule.
5. Regularly Connect with Team Members
The global pandemic caused by the uncontrolled spread of the deadly Coronavirus has led to lockdowns across countries. People have gradually confined themselves within the four walls of their abode and working from home. If you are one of them, you would be knowing how lonely it can get and how isolated one can feel. Similarly, employees from around the world, working remotely, might undergo the same. Hence, it’s incredibly important to connect with them regularly.
6. Convey your Metrics to Measure Success
As a manager, you should explicitly communicate to your team members about the key metrics based on which you would measure success. For instance, if you are assigning them tasks, make sure you convey them the underlying reasons behind it. Also, ensure that they know everything about deadlines, deliverables, and scope of the projects in advance so that it’s easier for them to meet the expectations set by you.
7. Check if your Team is Equipped with Necessary Resource
Simply assuming that your team has everything at their disposal is unwise. As a manager, it’s your duty to verify if they have laptops, mobile devices, necessary software and high-speed internet to deliver the assigned work.
8. Maintain Transparency
Simply bestowing freedom to all your employees will not suffice. You need to overcome the biggest nightmare of inadequate visibility to ensure the sustainability of your remote team and for them to thrive. In other words, you must organize an in-house recruitment process, chalk out project roles and duties, state the ground rules from beforehand and take up similar such responsibilities to maintain transparency.
Remote team building is no longer a strenuous task. Thanks to remote work tools like EdrawMind for leveling up team collaboration and accelerating workflow hassle-free! Let’s check out the features and benefits bestowed by it.
1. Bulit-in Presentation
Whether it’s jotting down your thoughts or sharing them, you can always communicate necessary information to your team by presenting it in the form of a stunning mind map presentation and export them in either PDF or PPT format.
2. Group & Collaboration
Invite your team members to edit the mind map. This way you will both update project plans automatically and make it an engaging activity through collaboration.
3. Built-in Gantt Chart
You can easily plan projects, manage them, and schedule work for team members for a particular day by effortlessly converting mind maps to detailed Gantt Charts.
4. Brainstorm Mode
This makes creative brainstorming with a team as easy as pie.
5. Smart Layout
Organize your thoughts for a project into a comprehensible diagram for the better understanding of your employees.
6. Dropbox Intergration
Export or import mind maps to/from a Dropbox account.
A popular choice, recognized for effective project management, client communication, and team collaboration.
2. Troop Messenger
A work-from-home communication tool, integrated with Google Drive and Dropbox, ideal for teams to share important documents and files in a jiffy.
Source: Troop Messenger
A cloud storage system, which caters to remote employees’ needs of sharing large files with fellow workers in little time.
A Lightweight Screen and webcam recording Google Chrome extension. The tool is best to record and share bugs, Marketing reports/Ideas or Personalized messages to clients and customers.
Source: StoryXpress Recorder
Now that you are equipped with the fitting ideas on how to make your virtual remote team happy, go ahead and implement them. Introduce them to some of our powerful tools and keep them motivated and productive. Soon your dedication to managing remotely will pay off.