Remote working is our current workplace reality, but managing remote teams and keeping distributed employees engaged can challenge even the best managers. There are thousands of team leaders and managers finding themselves suddenly managing a completely remote team. Honestly, that can be scary, especially if it’s the first time you’ve ever had to do so and didn’t have a lot of time to prepare.
Don’t panic, we’ve got your back! We’ve compiled a few “Best Practices for Successfully Managing Remote Teams”:
1. Engage Regularly
Your team needs to see you, and you need to see them. The good news is that services like Zoom or Google’s Team Hangouts make this relatively easy. At first, this should be every day. The purpose is simple – set the agenda and provide the feedback and resources your team members need.
2. Trust Your Team
Sometimes, companies are not willing to embrace a remote workforce because there’s an uncertainty about whether or not the work will get completed at the same level as if they were in the office. To combat this belief, set up work-from-home guidelines, such as emails must be responded to within 24 hours, use text messaging for urgent matters, and no calls between certain hours to make sure teammates are not working around the clock.
3. Lead by Example
Video improves trust, engagement, and productivity. Your tone, facial expressions, and body language communicate as much as your words do. So be sure to lead by example by turning your camera on. Pro tip: Have fun with virtual backgrounds!
4. Take Advantage of Technology
As a manager, your job is to keep your team connected. Communication tools are a simple way to keep everyone engaged. While email and text messages might be a short-term solution, tools like GoToMeeting or Microsoft Teams are far better suited for collaboration and communication.
5. Establish Close Bonds, Help And Support Frequently
Empathize and appreciate their life by discussing family, commonalities, and shared beliefs. Show you are supportive of their success by using inquiry to help them achieve their goals rather than check on their progress and numbers.
6. Focus on Outcomes, Not Activity
For what it’s worth, you shouldn’t be trying to manage every aspect of any team’s work, but especially when your team is distributed across different locations. Instead of focusing on activity or hours worked, focus on the outcomes and measure your team accordingly.