Remote team management is something that many business leaders have had to step into quickly over the past year. While there are vaccine efforts underway to help reduce the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, not every business is bringing employees back to the office right away. In fact, some organizations have said they have no immediate plans of returning to the office.
With that in mind, the following are 8 key tips for effective remote team management.
1. Use a Simple File Management System
When you’re working remotely, you need everyone to have access to what they need to do their jobs.
Consider the implementation of file replication software solutions. This will simplify your file management and will deliver local access to your distributed teams.
2. Consider a Virtual Desktop
Another tool that works well as part of a remote work environment is a virtual desktop. With a virtual desktop, everyone on your team can access their desktop as they would if they were in the office, no matter where they actually are, and regardless of the device they’re using.
This creates a sense of continuity and employees tend to like it because there’s a seamless transition to the interface they’re used to.
3. Identify Key Challenges
A big part of managing a remote team and also choosing the right specific tools relies on understanding what your particular challenges are.
When you can pinpoint those challenges, you can start to better address them.
Some of the common challenges that come with managing remote employees include:
- Performance: It’s tough enough to track performance metrics when your employees are in the office. When they’re working remotely, you may feel out of touch, and it’s tough to then know what work is being prioritized, what patients are working on, and how well they’re doing.
- Communication: This is obviously a big one. Virtually driven communication is quite a bit different from in-person communication. It’s important to consider how team members can collaborate with one another in a remote environment.
- Collaboration: Speaking of collaboration, you’ll need to offer simple tools that let team members work on different projects and documents even when they aren’t near each other.
- Workload: Employees who are working remotely might actually end up working longer hours than if they’re physically in the office, and that contributes to a burnout risk. You need to make sure as part of your management strategy that you’re setting clear boundaries so that employees know that work doesn’t have to be going on 24/7. Burnout is going to impede productivity and innovation.
4. Choose a Task and Project Management Solution
Along with file replication software, another foundational element of your remote work strategy should include a task and project management platform. You want one that has boards and workflows so that you can add to-do lists, and everyone can check-in and see what’s expected of them and others.
5. Set Expectations and Regularly Revisit Them
The most important general thing you can do when you’re managing a remote team is to set clear expectations and regularly revisit them and evaluate to make sure they’re still appropriate.
Anything that you can set expectations for to increase clarity and reduce misconception, do it. For example, make sure your team knows what the appropriate turnaround times are and what’s expected as far as communication, and when and how to respond.
As part of setting expectations, you also want to have overall objectives that you’re striving for. Set these objectives and communicate them so that your employees have clarity in what they’re working toward.
6. Create a Routine
If you can create a routine for your team, then it’s going to replicate a bit more of that in-office experience. For example, set appointments and always follow through with them. Make sure your team does prioritize meetings and things you put on the schedule but don’t overdo it.
7. Generally Equip Your Employees With What They Need to Be Successful
There are a lot of areas of technology that can be relevant to the management of a remote team. The specific tools and technologies your team needs are going to depend largely on the nature of your business and your expectations for employees.
Make sure they have the things they need in order to be successful. If you aren’t sure where gaps might exist, go to the source and ask your employees.
8. Focus On Output, Worry Less About Processes
Finally, this is a must-do in managing a remote team. Stop worrying so much about the processes your employees are using to complete a task. Instead, just think about the end result of your assessment.