7 Tips and Tricks for Managing a Remote Team
Considering how the workforce transformed over the past ten years, we can say that the largest workforce today – Millennials – went through about every working model companies implemented over the years. Unlike Baby Boomers, who just got to stick to their 9 to 5, in-office working model, Millennials had the opportunity to test working by the flexible schedule, with the unlimited PTO, had incentives such as lavish game and chillout rooms. But the most recent trend – remote work – became a norm over the past year (even though it was already a booming trend among companies).
With such switch managers and company, heads had to think about the different ways of managing their team and closing the physical gap as much as possible. We gathered the seven most useful tips and tricks for managing a remote team to help you make your transition to the remote work model as smooth as possible.
Tip#1: Make sure to make a schedule for employees in different time zones.
Managing a remote team usually means managing people who work in different time zones. Inability to find and talk with a coworker just because they don’t work in the same time zone can be the cause for poor communication and stall work progress. That said, managers of remote teams should organize a system where employees from different time zones will overlap, allowing them to get the information they need promptly. Sadly, sometimes teams cannot afford to have coworkers scattered around different time zones. In that case, the best thing is to reallocate employees and pair them with coworkers in the same time zone or hire strictly people without involving a large time difference.
Tip#2: Track hours and attendance.
If you want to effectively manage your remote team, you’ll have to track some metrics. That includes worked hours, attendance, work output, etc. Unlike in the office, in a remote setting managers cannot see whether their employees showed up for work or not, or how many hours they actually worked. For that reason, many companies that opted for a remote model use software such as Hubstaff and TimeDoctor to track employee’s hours (which makes even more sense if they’re hourly employees), Asana or Trello to track task’s completion. Also, they are pretty adamant about tracking the absence since it helps them prevent burnout, manage the workforce more effectively, and increase productivity.
For that reason, we built Vacation Tracker, an MS Teams and Slack integration that helps businesses track leave in a few simple steps. With the help of Vacation Tracker’s intuitive dashboard, managers have a clear overview of staff’s availability, used and non-used vacation days, and they get instantly notified whenever an employee makes a leave request. Vacation Tracker is simple, affordable, and, what’s best free for the first 7 days. So why not sign up now?
Tip#3: Hold frequent and effective meetings.
Yes, meetings can bore out even the greatest enthusiast in the business. But remote work cannot go without them, as it helps undisturbed communication and team bonding. That said, managing a remote team effectively has to come with a strong meeting game. Make sure to hold frequent, but shorter meetings, invite only the people who’re directly involved in the topic, send out the agenda before the meeting, and record them in case someone cannot make it or needs to revise what has been said on it.
Tip#4: Managing a remote team successfully often means managing expectations.
One way to successful management is in setting expectations. Make sure to communicate clearly what you expect from each employee, and be clear about what they can expect from you, as an employer. That includes turnaround times, communication protocols, or quality of work.
Tip#4: Equip them.
For many employees working from home means working from a couch or a kitchen counter. And even though these are all good options occasionally, if your company plans on establishing remote work permanently, you need to ensure your employees are well-equipped to do their job. This means ensuring they are having work-stations, ergonomic chairs, good internet connection, etc.
Tip#5: Allow flexible working hours.
If your organizational conditions allow you, you might try to allow your employees to work on a flexible schedule. That way, you’ll be sure they’ll work when they feel most productive, and still finish outside-of-work chores. But make sure to install rules when they have to be online to allow the undisturbed flow of communication.
Tip#7: Show appreciation.
Just like they say “out of sight, out of mind”, remote employees can grow so detached from their workplace if management and other coworkers remain silent. That said, make sure to encourage and motivate your employees by showing how much you value their work.
Managing a remote team comes with its own set of challenges and managers have to be on top of their game to ensure their employees feel motivated, engaged, and productive year around. Following these tips will certainly help you on your way through transitioning to remote work.
A cat enthusiast and a cupcake maniac, Ana is a freelance Content Writer passionate about HR, productivity, and team management topics. When she’s not at her keyboard, you can find Ana in the kitchen, trying to make delicious cookies.