The need to manage remote teams doesn’t seem to be fading anytime soon.
Right now, 71% of employers are struggling with the new remote work style, according to a Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) survey released last week.
Given the current need to switch working styles so quickly, it’s understandable how challenging the current health crisis is on businesses everywhere. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of easy-to-implement tips to minimize the struggle of managing remote workers.
There’s no better time than now to start using the best remote working practices for your team.
Doing so will ensure you’re getting work done as efficiently as possible. It will also help you hone in on what works well for your particular business structure in a remote setting.
Here we share how to tackle remote team management with ease.
Remote Team Communication Tips
Above everything, communication is key to making the most of your team’s remote working experience. However your team used to communicate is pretty much out the window now. More than ever, emails need to be concise, meetings need to be to-the-point, and communication software needs to be top-notch.
1. Regular Check-in Meetings
Meetings are an important part of the work culture. But now that everyone’s working environments have drastically shifted (think of your workers with kids at home now), meetings must be absolutely necessary and on topic. This is especially true for any video meetings.
To keep meetings from going haywire:
- Plan meetings well in advance
- Schedule regular check-in meetings with the team
- Have a set time limit
- Have an agenda
- Ask for feedback
Final tip: Set up one-on-ones when issues come up that don’t fit the current meeting schedule or require the attention of the whole team.
2. Provide Multiple Means of Communication & Planning
Not every meeting needs to be a video meeting and you need to have a backup plan for when technology fails — because it will sometimes fail. Provide tools that facilitate one-on-one communication as well as team connections. You’ll also want to ensure you have solid ways to plan out projects. Introduce these tools and software to your team ASAP.
Communication methods and planning software to consider:
Final tip: Keep it simple. You will need back-up options but you may not have funds for unlimited options. Pick a few tools that work for your team and make sure everyone has access and training if needed.
Tips for Remote Team Productivity
Teamwork makes the dream work, as the saying goes. The more you set your team up for success, the more likely they’ll look forward together toward the next project/challenge that comes their way. Setting clear expectations from the start — with some built-in flexibility — can help manage everyone’s goals and inspire reasonable deadlines.
3. Clear Goals and Deadlines
Everyone should know what they are doing and when it’s expected. Additionally, workers should know exactly who to talk to if they need help, have questions, or run into problems. It can be helpful to do a project kick-off meeting and recap the main points in an email with relevant parties CC’d.
To knock your team goals out of the park:
- Schedule an initial kick-off call
- Set clear deadlines (even tentative ones)
- Use a project management board
- Ask for a heads-up if a deadline may get missed
- Explain the consequences of missed deadlines
Final tip: Using the S.M.A.R.T. goals method is helpful. It stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. It’s a recipe for success because it ensures the goals make sense and aren’t unattainable.
4. Share Best Practices
There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. Find resources that discuss work from home best practices and share those with your team. Productivity blogs can offer some excellent insight into staying on task and finding self-motivation.
A few simple work-from-home best practices:
- Create a dedicated workspace
- Take breaks
- Stretch after long bouts of sitting
- Set hours and don’t work 24/7
Final tip: Share with employees that setting a somewhat “normal” weekday routine can help them find their work-at-home groove.
5. Be Flexible
Not everyone does their best work in the morning. It’s also important to remember people have different family obligations. Do allow your work from home teams to enjoy the flexibility of working when it’s best for them, within reason.
Ways to be flexible:
- Don’t micromanage
- Let employees take breaks when they see fit
- Show you trust them to lead projects
Final tip: Remember some individuals may be struggling with the new remote work lifestyle. Consider offering grace and flexibility, especially if an employee comes to you with their struggle.
Tips to Connect Your Remote Teams
6. Schedule Informal Meetings
Social hours are just as important as formal meetings. Mental health experts are seeing spikes in anxiety and depression due to isolation and social distancing. Give your team something to look forward to daily or weekly.
Encourage your team to:
- Schedule short coffee breaks
- Have virtual happy hours
- Join in for virtual lunch and learns
- Hold virtual “get to know you” meetings
Final tip: Keep informal meetings fun and lighthearted. It will make your team less likely to dread the more formal meetings! You can hold drawings each week to match up people that don’t get to interact often, too.
7. Host Virtual Challenges
Keep your team connected with virtual games and challenges to encourage socialization and creativity boosts. From photography challenges to wacky hair days, you can keep the fun going despite being socially distant outside the office.
Virtual challenges to consider:
- Exercise challenges
- Online scavenger hunts
- Timed pop culture quizzes
- Wacky days (hair, Pjs, socks, etc.)
- Games like Words With Friends
Final tip: Be creative and look for apps that make it fun for your employees to connect over something other than work.
Empower Your Remote Team However You Can
Businesses are in uniquely challenging times right now. If you’re one of the 70+ percent of employers who is struggling with the remote team structure, we hope you’ll find these tips useful.
With every day that goes by, you’ll find new ways to efficiently manage remote meetings and remote team workloads. It has its challenges, but it can be rewarding to see your team flourish under pressure, too.
However you can swing it, empower your team to work together in their own way. It may be a little messy as they work out the kinks, but giving them your trust and honoring flexibility can alleviate the pressure employees are all feeling right now.
Every worker you have is essential — especially your remote ones right now — which makes it all the more important to learn how you can work together toward success in these trying times.
Want even more resources to help your remote team thrive? Check out our newest free downloadable: The Ultimate Resource Guide for Remote Team Work & Wellness Success.
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