The rise of remote work has significantly changed how we manage teams. Technological developments have made it possible for teams to be spread out all over the world and still continue to be just as productive as in-office teams. Due to this, remote teams—teams that collaborate without being physically present in the same location—have become increasingly commonplace. However, managing a remote team requires a different approach to leadership and communication compared to traditional, in-person team management.
Although managing a remote team can be difficult, it can also be rewarding. Having or putting together a remote team has several advantages; including higher productivity, lower expenses, and access to a larger talent pool. However, there are also some challenges to remote team management. These include difficulties in building real connections, keeping lines of communication open, and making sure everyone is on the same page.
In this article, we’ll talk about some best practices for managing remote teams like establishing clear expectations, communicating effectively, fostering teamwork, and giving feedback. We’ll also talk about how crucial empowerment and trust are. You’ll find it very easy to improve your remote management by following these best practices.
The benefits of having a successful remote team
Attracting top talent
Especially recently, companies have been looking for ways to draw in top talent in today’s competitive job market. Offering remote work options is one way to do this. Finding a place for flexibility in their working model allows companies to hire employees from all over the world. Eliminating location as a factor when looking for the right talent for the job means having access to a larger talent pool.
Saving time and money
Companies can also save time and money by moving towards a remote work model. One of the benefits of having a remote team is cut costs on areas like office space and other expenses. Remote work also means less time (mostly even no time) spent commuting—which leaves more time to get things done!
Remote work tools are also available to help you with finances in addition to these cost savings! These tools can make it easier for you to manage your finances and reduce the administrative work involved in processing payroll internationally in your globally distributed remote team.
Flexible work schedule for team members
Effective time management for remote teams can provide team members with the flexibility to create a work schedule that suits their individual needs. This can be a great benefit for employees who have children or other pressing obligations outside of work. Employees who find themselves to be more productive in hours outside of the standard 9 to 5 schedule can also find it beneficial.
More productive and efficient
Remote teams can be just as productive and efficient as teams that work in the office. Actually, several studies have found that remote teams can be even more productive compared to an in-office team. This might be because remote employees generally have fewer distractions and more control over their working environment.
5 things every leader needs when building and managing remote teams
Ground rules for work and communication
When managing a remote team, it’s important to establish clear ground rules for how you want people to work and communicate. This could involve things like establishing guidelines for how frequently people should check in, how they should interact with one another, and how they should resolve disputes.
- Set expectations for communication frequency. How frequently should your team check in with you? Do you need a daily status update from them, or will a weekly check-in do?
- Establish clear communication channels. What means of remote team communication will your team use? Are you going to use video conferencing, instant messaging, or email?
- Create a conflict resolution process. How will your team deal with conflict if it occurs? Will there be a mediator or will team members be asked to settle disputes among themselves?
Clear expectations and deadlines
It’s crucial to be clear about what you expect of your team members. This covers matters such as the standard of work they create, the deadlines they must meet, and the degree of remote work communication they must uphold.
- Establish clear deadlines. When do you need each assignment or project to be finished? Make sure your deadlines are attainable and realistic.
- Communicate expectations regularly. Don’t simply set expectations once and then disregard them. Make sure you constantly express expectations, especially as your team expands and develops.
Tools and technology for effective communication and collaboration
There are also tools available to help you manage remote teams effectively! Make sure you have the appropriate tools and technology in place so that you can connect and interact with your remote team effectively. This includes virtual project management applications like Asana and ClickUp, instant messaging services like Slack and Microsoft Teams, and video conferencing solutions like Zoom and Google Meet
- Choose the right tools for the job. There are different types of collaboration and remote work communication tools. For example, with the use of video, voice, and content-sharing tools, a communication platform like Kosy can help remote teams stay connected.
- Make sure everyone has access to the tools. Access to technology varies from person to person. Ensure that all members of your team are comfortable with the tools they’ll be using every day.
- Train your team on how to use the tools. Not everyone is knowledgeable about every tool that is available. To ensure that your staff makes the most of the tools, be sure to train them on their usage.
Trust and empowerment
Effective remote team leadership involves building trust and empowering your team members. By doing this, you are allowing them to work independently without being micromanaged. You are also showing your faith in their ability to take charge and make judgments.
- Give your team members autonomy. Don’t micromanage them. Allow them the discretion to carry out their duties as they see fit.
- Trust your team members to make decisions. Remember why you hired your employees: their skills. Count on them to decide what is best for their projects.
- Empower your team members to take ownership of their work. Give them the authority to manage their own projects without hesitation. Acknowledge their success and their effort.
Focus on results rather than activity
When managing a remote team, it’s important to put results above activities. This involves monitoring your team’s development and ensuring that they are meeting their goals. It also entails being adaptable and aware of the fact that not everything goes as planned.
- Set clear goals and track progress. What are the goals of your team? How will you measure their progress?
- Be flexible and understanding. Sometimes things don’t go according to plan. When your team has difficulties, be flexible and focus on the solution.
- Celebrate successes. Take the time to celebrate your team’s successes whenever they reach a goal. This will help to raise morale and keep the team motivated.
Best practices for managing remote teams
Prioritize team building and engagement
Working in a remote team can be more isolating than working with people you’re with physically, so team building and remote team engagement should be prioritized. You can do this through regular check-ins, online forums, and other methods like:
- Virtual team building happy hours
- Online games
- Book clubs
Encourage work-life balance and well-being
Creating a positive remote team culture is crucial, and supporting team members’ work-life balance and well-being is a significant aspect of it. This can be accomplished by setting clear expectations, allowing for flexibility, and encouraging self-care.
Following are some tips for encouraging work-life balance and general well-being for remote team members:
- Set clear expectations for availability and working hours.
- Allow team members to work from locations that are the most convenient for them.
- Encourage your team to take breaks and vacations.
- Promote wellbeing by providing resources on subjects like nutrition, exercise, and mental health.
Continuously evaluate and adapt to changing circumstances
Since the workplace is a dynamic environment, it’s essential to continually evaluate your team’s situation and make adjustments as needed. This includes evaluating the needs of your remote workers and adapting as necessary:
- Ask team members for feedback regularly.
- Keep up with the most recent developments in remote work culture.
- Be prepared to make changes as necessary.
Working remotely has numerous advantages, but it’s crucial to put employee well-being and work-life balance first. Setting clear goals, effective communication, and encouraging collaboration are all priorities for leaders when managing remote teams. By using these remote work management tips, you can assuredly build a productive and engaged remote team.
About the Author
Deniz Akçaoğlu is an Assistant Digital Specialist.