At present, employees from all over the world are working from home as a necessity and managers and team leaders have to find ways to manage them effectively.
When teams work remotely, some of the challenges they face are a lack of face-to-face supervision, difficulties tracking performance, feelings of isolation and a lack of cohesion as a team. Here are five tips that will help you to successfully manage remote teams.
- Check in on a daily basis
Email and Slack will only go so far. Your team needs to see you face-to-face and you need to see employees too.
Daily face-to-face video sessions can help you to set the agenda and offer the support and feedback necessary to make sure the work gets done. Predictable, daily video calls are a forum in which employees know they can voice any concerns and ask questions.
- Use technology effectively
If you’re worried that your employees are not putting in the hours while working remotely, there are ways of easily keeping track of what they are doing. TrackTime24 is a tool for work time management. It works on any device or browser and allows you to monitor clock-in and clock-out, overtime and break times. Keep track of any time off or leave requests.
Tracking helps employees, too, as they have an intuitive way of tracking work time and managing a work schedule and time off. Transparency and accountability are critical when employees work remotely.
- Communicate regularly
With remote working, it can be difficult for team managers to keep the whole team on the same page. Apart from your daily check-in, communicating on a regular basis can assist. Here again, using the right technology is helpful. There are numerous communication tools available for collaboration and communication, some of which are free to use.
Video conferencing gives participants some of the visual cues they would have if they were communicating in-person. It is particularly useful for in-depth or sensitive conversations where email or audio-only communication can fall short.
If quick collaboration is necessary, mobile-enabled individual messaging is easy to use for less formal, simple, time-sensitive conversations.
- Manage expectations
Your team needs to understand what you expect of them. This means clearly stating what tasks they need to do and why they need to be done.
Explain how you will measure success by defining the deadlines, deliverables and scope of each project the team is working on. You don’t want to realize after a few weeks that everyone in the team had different interpretations of what was expected.
Even when it comes to communication, managers need to set expectations for the means, frequency and timing of communication. This makes remote work more satisfying and efficient. Being interrupted continuously can affect concentration, while infrequent communication can make employees feel as though they’re struggling on their own.
- Offer encouragement and emotional support
In a one-on-one call with an employee, a general question such as “How are you feeling about remote working?” can elicit information you need to offer support. You need to listen carefully to the response and make sure you understand what’s being said. Allow the employee’s concerns to be the focus of the conversation.
Employees usually look at the reaction of their managers in trying circumstances. If you communicate your own stress, they will pick up on it.
You need to acknowledge any stress employees may be feeling, but also provide affirmations of your confidence in them. When they feel emotional support and encouragement, they’re more likely to work with focus and a real sense of purpose.