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Remote Team Management: Tips For Success


The advantages of having a remote workforce are deep and wide. Workers enjoy the flexibility that work at home typically offers and appreciate the work-life balance that is achieved as a result. Employers can find and hire the most ideal candidates; this talent can be anywhere in the world. What is essential to understand is that remote success doesn't just occur organically; it happens because of strategic planning and communication. Here are the top tips for success:

Clarity & Tracking

Setting clear expectations for everyone on your remote team is extremely important. Define the responsibilities of each member—specific work expectations, deadlines, and deliverables. When employees understand their roles and goals, it is logical and acceptable to have them document their work and even their time spent. In live time, all members should be able to view active projects, know who is responsible, and see the status of that project. This can be done through simple shared spreadsheets or via complex online project management systems. Regardless of your organizational size or complexity, this piece is essential for managers to have a pulse on all remote operations and to ensure accountability.

Trust & Flexibility

If you have hired the right candidate, trained them to do the job, and set clear expectations, it's important to trust that your employee will do the job. No matter where or when they are doing it.

Studies have shown that most remote workers are more productive at home than in the office. They are less distracted, don't have a commute, and often work more hours. However, this only happens when the employee feels that they have flexibility, which is the main benefit of remote work. Employees want to work in a way and in a place that best suits their needs.

Flexibility means something other than an absence of rules or standard work schedules. It implies that accommodating unique work schedules and styles will offer significant advantages to everyone. Trust your team, however, verify through project management tools, collaboration software, and time-tracking systems that goals are being met with excellence on an efficient and consistent basis.

Communicate & Connect

Keeping a remote team engaged and productive can be a challenge. While most workers find remote work highly satisfying, many managers cite frustration with the increased need for communication among teams and individuals. To avoid this, first, establish clear communication channels and rules of engagement.

Everyone should be clear on how they can and cannot communicate with team members and supervisors. For example, many companies utilize Microsoft Teams as an efficient way to communicate among co-workers. The quick call and video platform is so convenient that it's like popping into a co-worker's office. Knowing this could cause consistent interruption, we see many companies mandating that intercompany video conferencing and calls only be made during certain times. For example, a company may state that calls and conferencing are only allowed during specific afternoon hours, thereby paving the way for productive mornings.

Understand that being a communications champion is your primary function as a remote manager. Schedule regular sessions with team members to discuss progress, answer questions, and address concerns. These can be individual check-ins or team meetings, depending on the need.

Care & Connect

Managers must be attentive to team members, how they communicate, and their typical level of productivity. If you notice changes in employee tone, responsiveness, or productivity levels, this may be a sign of trouble. Connect with this individual and see if support is required.

Also, just as one would build community in an office, encourage opportunities for your team to get to know each other. Offer virtual coffee breaks and online team-building activities that can help build camaraderie. Involve team members in planning, coordination, and socialization, which will result in happier and more productive teams.

Business Builders Marketing President Jennifer McCarron led her team in a successful remote transition in June of 2023. She holds credentials as a Certified Remote Workforce Manager from the Management and Strategy Institute and offers consultation for organizations seeking to manage remote teams successfully. Contact us today to schedule a complimentary consultation.