In this new era of flexible and agile working there is simply no need for teams to be in the same location to be highly effective. Remote working has its own unique set of challenges but can also be an incredibly effective approach when you have the right management skills for a remote team.
1. Hone your communications
Different methods of communication work for different tasks and teams, so find out which one achieves what you’re trying to do. For example, you might use email for quick interactions or switch to Google Hangouts if you prefer instant messaging.
2. Standardise systems
When individuals work remotely they can quickly develop their own ways of doing things – and these may not overlap with how others on the team are working. Effectively managing a remote team means ensuring that everyone on the team is working in the same way.
3. Enable flexible hours – up to a point
One of the major benefits of a remote team is being able to offer employees more flexible working hours. However, you also need to make sure that people are online and available at key times when you’re likely to need them.
4. Measure productivity
There are many different ways to analyse whether a remote team is doing well when it comes to productivity. You might want to track the number of hours spent logged on or to set regular goals and targets and review how many of these are reached. Whatever you use it’s important to have some way to measure what is being achieved by a remote team.
5. Implement regular review
A monthly or quarterly review can be incredibly useful when you’re managing a remote team. You’ll be able to provide feedback, adjust arrangements and also get an idea of whether the current approach is working for the team members too.
6. Make sure your team has the right environment
It’s no use employing people to work remotely if they don’t have a WiFi connection at home or they’re going to be busy with other commitments at the same time. Effective remote working requires a quiet environment, with a strong internet connection and somewhere your employees can shut the door if they need to have an important conversation.
7. Try to meet in person
It’s always much easier to motivate a remote team if you have met at least once in person. Try setting up an annual social for your team or make sure you at least have a face-to-face interview with them so they know that there is a person on the other end of your emails.
8. Foster a team atmosphere
It can be difficult for remote workers to feel like part of a team but this is important if you want them to work well together. From scheduling regular Skype catch-ups, to encouraging constructive feedback on others’ work there are lots of ways to remind people that they’re not functioning alone.
9. Involvement in the company culture
Remote workers can feel isolated from the rest of the business which makes it crucial to ensure they are involved in its culture. Take every opportunity to communicate firm values, explain objectives and ensure their own priorities are aligned with the wider business.
10. Use video
When you have a remote team, video is a very powerful tool to communicate, inspire and brief. From video messaging to video reports and presentations, you’ll see much more impact if you switch from text to the moving image.
If you’re managing teams spread over two or more locations our Managing Remote Teams course could give you the tools you need to excel. Get in touch with PTP today.