6 Effective Management Tips for Leading Remote Teams
The future of work is here. As you harness the opportunities of accessing world-class remote talent, you’ll continually discover new ways to build and manage a strong team that’s positioned to thrive.
Perhaps one of the greatest silver linings of the devastating COVID-19 pandemic was the acceleration of remote work. Almost overnight, every company in the world was ushered into the future of work—a reality that was already on the rise, with remote work having grown nearly 10x faster than the rest of the workforce prior to COVID lockdowns. While some companies have returned to the office full-time, research estimates that nearly half of companies (48%) expect their teams to be partially or fully off-site over the next five years, especially as they reap the benefits of accessing talent from across the globe.
Managing a remote team brings up a host of new challenges and rewards. Whether you’re exploring new ways to manage talent remotely or refining the practices you already have in place, here are 6 tips to help you develop your approach and strengthen your team.
1. Create a culture of belonging
If you’re working remotely, it’s easy to let communication fall by the wayside and allow your team to operate independently. As a manager, you should work to create a virtual team presence where all feel comfortable and included, ensuring that your remote talent feel like they belong to your organisation. Use team-building exercises to help build a sense of camaraderie. Giving and receiving regular feedback is also very important. Your team needs to know whether their performance is satisfactory. Ensure remote workers are recognised and appreciated by giving virtual shoutouts.
2. Set communication guidelines
Remote teams are unable to use visual clues like an office floor plan or the convenience of a quick chat in the office corridor to clarify who is doing what. Defining the structure of your remote workforce will help take the mystery out of it. Your communication guidelines should be shared with new hires as part of their onboarding process and can include things like: how the team prefers to communicate (email vs. text message vs. chat vs. phone vs. video conferencing); when the team prefers to communicate (regular meetings, certain days or times—don’t forget to adjust for time zones!); and expected email (or other communication) turnaround times.
3. Hire smart
Finding the best possible candidates for your remote team is imperative. In the context of the Great Resignation and the global talent shortage, businesses are increasingly recognising the opportunity of sourcing talent in new places, with remote work allowing them to tap into the best talent worldwide. An ideal solution is to hire from Talent as a Service companies such as The ROOM, where talent is pre-vetted and handpicked for you. This provides managers with peace of mind, knowing that they can trust the talent they’ve taken on—without having to deal with costly HR overhead. When sourcing candidates, it’s essential that you hire trained and vetted talent with both the soft skills and technical skills that enable remote teams to thrive.
4. Implement task-tracking and project management tools
A cloud-based project management system is essential. Being physically distant means you’re unable to keep tabs on what your remote team is working on in person. A network of tools can be used to plan, collaborate, and keep track of the many stages of a project through a cloud project management system. Wrike, Trello, Basecamp, Zoho Projects, and Clarizen are a few well-known project management tools to consider.
5. Make time for team building
When managing a remote team, it’s easy to just focus on what needs to get done and immediately get back to executing. While this has its place in the day-to-day management of a team—especially during high-pressure times—if this is all you do, then you’re missing out on a critical part of management.
Building rapport and trust within your team is essential, as this creates space for relationship building. While this may seem challenging in a remote work setup, it’s not that far off from in-person team building. Just as sharing an office doesn’t automatically lead to the formation of relationships among colleagues, working remotely doesn’t mean that strong connections can’t be formed in your team. The key is to be intentional and make an effort. Linking individual objectives to the company’s overarching goals from the get-go also gives context to everyday activities. Knowing the “why” behind their work helps your team stay engaged as they work toward a common vision.
6. Avoid micromanaging
While you may feel the urge to constantly check in with team members, this can breed resentment—and will inevitably leave you feeling exhausted. Accept that a remote worker’s schedule may differ but that they will still get work done. Allowing your team the autonomy to work when it suits them best has proven to show greater quality and productivity. The most important thing you can do as a leader of a remote workforce is to ensure project requirements and expectations are crystal clear. You might consider having informal check-ins at least once per week, both team chats and one on one catch-ups.
Create your remote team today
According to Naval Ravikant, renowned angel investor and founder of AngelList: “[Remote work] is probably the single most important category in hiring… We’re going to see an era of everyone employing tech workers, and it’s not too far away. In fact, now’s the time to prepare for it.”
One thing is clear: the future of work has arrived. As you begin to harness the opportunities of accessing remote talent, you’ll continually discover new ways to build a strong team that’s positioned to thrive, no matter where they’re located.
For more information about how to build your team with world-class talent, visit www.theroom.com.