Originally appeared in Quizbreaker
When it comes to remote working, standard management strategies don’t always work, but the idea of working from home has become relatively mainstream in the last couple of years. Many companies have taken to switching to remote setups, with business and team leaders rewriting the rule book to adapt to this great digital transformation. So, what are some of the new ways of managing remote teams?
These tips & best practices will give you the right tools whether it's your first time doing remote employee engagement or your 100th.
1. Set Clear Deliverables
Remote work is largely an independent process, with this strategy having its pros and cons. On the one hand, it has shown drastic increases in efficiency and productivity. On the other, information can get lost in translation, with more room for confusion. The best way to manage WFH is to clearly state the deliverables of a project, that way, employees, and teams know what’s needed. A bonus tip is to use a project management tool to keep track of deliverables and ask teams to update their progress. This is a great way to ensure productivity in remote work setups.
2. Use Communication Platforms
If team members are working from home, office meetings are difficult, and using only email just won’t cut it. Using apps like Slack or Microsoft Teams can help align teams, and keep communications fluid and open, using the likes of Zoom or Google Meet can also help to have regular video chats or check-ins. While you shouldn’t burden your workers with too many group sessions, having a weekly or bimonthly check-in helps company direction and team morale.
3. Understand A Teams Emotional Needs
The office buzzword for the past few years has been emotional intelligence, and for a good reason. As a manager, you need to have people management skills. Empathy and emotional awareness are leadership principles that must resonate in teams. Nowhere are these more important than in a remote working environment. Anxiety and stress are common problems among people who spend most of their time working from home. Part of managing remote employees is being sensitive to their needs, whether that’s extending a deadline or simply listening to their concerns. Offering these small allowances will benefit your remote workforce overall. This leeway translates directly into a higher quality of work, company loyalty, and employee motivation.
4. Results Over Process
When it comes to remote working, you can’t focus on the process too much. It is unlikely employees will be working to a 9-to-5 schedule or even consistently for many working hours. Most at-home employees work in shorter intervals spaced out over the day. Remote working is a format that depends on employee independence and doesn’t leave room for continuous oversight. If your current business model relies on micromanagement, then you won’t have much success replicating it in a remote working format.
5. Encourage a Creative Approach
Since your employees have to rely heavily on their own judgment, encourage them to solve problems creatively. If they’re referring to a manager for every issue, they’re wasting valuable time. When you give them room to try new things, your workers will feel more strongly towards the company, encouraging company loyalty, and often, they’ll go the extra mile to do things for the business so they can live up to the responsibility.
6. Understand the types of remote workers
No employee is the same, and that extends to remote working. Some people work better without interference, while others require assistance or the occasional check-in. Certain employees will break down a task and start working as soon as you assign it, while others need to ask detailed questions before they’re ready to begin. So, these differences must influence remote team management styles. This also translates into how your employees manage their time. The biggest challenge remote workers face is time management. When you’re working from home, it’s hard to separate your work time from your free time. Some workers solve this issue by planning out their entire day in advance. The best trick to managing remote employees is by figuring out which category they fall into and treating them accordingly.
Overall, managing remote teams isn’t very different from managing regular employees. As long as you focus on communication and sensitivity in the workplace, you’ll get good results.