Building a successful long-distance relationship with your employees is not easy. Having multiple remote teams spread all around the world requires attention to detail and a skill set that enables you to manage their work effectively. Thanks to technology, a lot of these remote work processes have evolved. Businesses are embracing remote trends and looking to hire top talent from all around the globe.
While in the past, remote employees were rare, today, businesses are embracing the work-from-home boom. Advanced software is key to managing team members with ease.
A remote team is any group of professionals located in different areas of the world. They have diverse skills and different cultures but work together on unified projects. In most cases, teammates live in different cities and work across different time zones. (However, that doesn’t have to be the case).
The past couple of years caused plenty of workers to move to home offices. It was a widespread transition spanning many industries, accelerated mostly because of the pandemic. While this situation has been a win for flexibility, some companies found it also created “remote work imposter syndrome,” doubt about everything they are doing.
Managers of remote teams face challenges including:
Despite these challenges, many companies are successfully working 100% remotely. According to one study, 76% of workers are more willing to stay with their current employers when they offer flexible hours that come with remote work.
The best way to benefit from remote work is to set boundaries. So, let’s take a look at five of the best remote work practices.
The first thing you should focus on when managing remote teams is setting ground rules early on. Make sure boundaries are properly enforced. Although rules will vary from team to team, each employee needs to know what is expected of them. If you have a project- and assignment-tracking software like Asana or workforce management software for remote workers who are in the field using smartphones, you’ll find it easier to manage tasks and allocate resources. These systems encourage each team member to report their progress and results, continuously updating everyone on the team.
You’ll also want to set expectations about meetings. By default, remote teams don’t expect a lot of meetings. But you should establish some scheduled meetings to report progress and bring up potential issues with your team. It will help them see what is expected of them – they can contact you each day, and you can provide a consistent level of leadership.
Also, require your remote staff to set up a dedicated space in their homes for their daily work. Some may be fortunate enough to have an entire room. Those who don’t should set aside a dedicated space with a table or desk, comfortable chair, convenient electricity, and good internet reception, etc. Offer your team tips on designing a productive home office, and ensure they have the technology they need to equip it.
Finally, if your company requires specific hours, take advantage of online time tracking for remote employees so that, even if their time is flexible, you can be sure they’re putting in the amount of time you need. Also, they can be sure that their overtime is authorized and recorded.
Communication is key for remote teams all around the globe. So, daily check-ins play a vital role with remote employees and keep the bar set high for team-wide productivity.
Assess progress, provide feedback, and see if there are any potential questions your team members need to ask. Most importantly, show your employees that they can always ask questions, voice their opinions, or provide feedback. If you have multiple teams, set a routine for each of them — your remote developer team, design team, marketing team, etc.
Remote work often puts you in contact with people from different cultures. So, embracing their cultures and overcoming cultural obstacles is essential. Make everyone on the team feel welcome, and teach all team members to appreciate their diversity. Focus on valuable tips for managing remote teams that center on communication and building camaraderie.
One of the best ways to embrace cultural diversity is to find out how different people receive feedback. As you look for ways to celebrate their differences, be respectful about national and religious holidays, and show your team members that you care about their culture.
Build teamwork bridges by establishing common things that you all do the same way. A great starting point is remote working etiquette, which allows you all to agree on common practices. For example, arriving at virtual meetings on time, dressing appropriately (e.g., no pajamas), and managing background noise wherever possible. It’s important to remember that the basis of etiquette is kindness and courtesy toward others, so it’s a natural building block for diverse remote teams.
Believe it or not, you can have fun together during work hours – even if everyone is working from home! There are so many remote employee engagement activities like virtual office parties, adventurous games, milestone recognitions, and holiday events to help teams get to know each other better.
Also, you can create a virtual office water cooler or a channel where your employees can bring up non-work-related interests such as movies, memes, and TV shows. Pick one day of the week to share funny stories, memories, or songs they enjoy.
Managers are not the only ones who face challenges creating and encouraging a productive remote team. The cost of remote work is often quite expensive for the individual remote worker. So, recognize that and make sure to communicate your appreciation from the start. If you can, offer to help your workers with fees for the bandwidth they need to transmit data, maintain file storage space, buy equipment, license software, and upgrade their communication tools.
Saving on office space doesn’t mean that all the savings should go into the company’s wallet. Think of benefits that appeal to work-from-home teams. For instance, offer to pay for their gym membership, yoga classes, or professional development courses. This can give your employees a confidence boost and let them know you have their back.
We’ve discussed workforce management and productivity tools however, you’ll also need dependable communication software to track and assign projects.
Slack is one of the best options, as it helps global teams communicate with each other, keep track of their projects, “huddle” (meet quickly), share information in real-time, have channel discussions, and interact across different time zones. However, there are many other dedicated software solutions that are optimized for specific industries. Getting one that’s appropriate for your business will help you organize things better.
Remote working provides a great opportunity for employers to introduce or expand their flexibility. Depending on the work and how much collaboration is required, you can opt to offer flexible remote work that leads to increased team morale and greater productivity.
Although getting used to managing a remote team can take some time, practical technology and tools make it perfectly viable.
We hope these six best practices will help you manage your remote team successfully and productively while avoiding any pitfalls.
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