Best practices for managing a remote team

05/09/2019

Best practices for managing a remote team

It’s not easy being a manager. Not only are you accountable for your team’s performance, you are also in charge of hiring new candidates, and you have to work hard to earn their trust and respect.

Now, imagine doing these things when your closest direct report is 800 miles away, and your team members live in five different time zones.

How do we manage remote teams effectively? How to make sure they understand their responsibilities correctly and are really working on what’s assigned to them, instead of spending their time elsewhere? What can we do to motivate them to do better work and be engaged, to communicate often and get to know each other?

Best practices for managing a remote team

Here are our five biggest takeaways for managing a remote team.

  1. Ensure your remote team workers’ understanding of goals and objectives is clear

In a virtual work setting, the importance of having clear project goals and objectives cannot be overstated. It’s much easier for a remote team to achieve what’s expected of it when everyone is on board with what’s needed at a project’s end. From the project start, it’s optimal to be sure to articulate these goals and objectives clearly.

After sharing what’s expected, make certain to ask if anyone has any questions or concerns. During an online meeting, when you cannot always see the faces of your remote workers, it is vital to take time to address each worker and give him or her a chance to speak and raise questions.

It’s important that everyone’s on the same page and addressing any confusion or lack of clarity regarding project end-goals from the get-go will reduce opportunities for misunderstanding or even underperformance.

  1. Invest in the right remote project management software

Your remote team working culture will flourish when you have everything under one roof. And this can be made possible when you rely on remote team    management software to plan tasks, projects, and even people. Here’s what you can do on a project management software:

  • Communicate with your scattered team
  • Keep a track of project evolution
  • Track productivity
  • Maintain and manage timesheets
  • Share information in real time
  • Have discussions
  • Manage the tasks on a task list
  • Interact across different time zones

Best practices for managing a remote team

  1. Schedule regular calls and meetings

It can’t be emphasized enough—in a remote work setting, frequent communication is paramount!

Regular calls and/or meetings will keep everyone apprised of what’s been accomplished, any project setbacks, any important details related to individual worker responsibilities and duties, and other relevant information.
In this context, it’s important to be well-prepared for the meeting beforehand. A meeting agenda should be shared ahead of time so everyone can prepare adequately.

Keeping regular meeting minutes are also an asset, as the minutes can serve as a to-do list for the time between now and the next-scheduled meeting. Minutes can also help keep meetings efficient. They enable your remote workers to refer back to them at any time and check what was agreed on for different projects.

In turn, that helps you avoid any unnecessary repeating of these points in future meetings and enables your team members to proceed with their work. Meeting scheduling and timing are also of prime importance. Because time management is already a huge element of individual remote worker efforts, being on time for the meeting is critical.

  1. Give feedback and praise

Having a performance review system in place will help remote workers keep informed of their job performance record as well as areas in which they are strong or could improve.

Monthly or quarterly one-to-one performance reviews are a recommended format for reviewing worker performance. In this context, reinforce worker accomplishments, if needed. If improvement is needed in some areas, be sure to convey that any criticism or noting of areas needing improvement is intended to be constructive feedback for the individual.

Making remote workers aware of their professional strengths and weaknesses can help them in their professional development. Doing so can reinforce a remote worker’s positive company impressions.

As you can see, there are ample opportunities to establish quality performance standards, relationship building opportunities, and worker support for your remote worker team. So, tell us, what are yours?