Managing a remote team comes with its own set of successes, challenges, and obstacles. If you have employees in different time zones and work environments, organizing them on projects and team objectives is a great team management practice. With these techniques up your sleeve, your remote team will be running smoothly and efficiently in no time.
Establish a workflow that works for everyone
No one likes to be micromanaged, but when it comes to remote team management, it’s important to have visibility into what projects everyone is working on. Tools like Asana or Wrike make it easy to log time, share files across multiple devices, and update the status of projects. This way, you can easily know how much time was spent on a project, who has the bandwidth to take on more work, and who is totally swamped.
Other great tools for remote team management include Dropbox and Google Drive. Gone are the days of storing files on your local computer, only to have a file missing when you need to work from home or from a different device. With cloud storage services like Dropbox or Google Drive, your entire remote team can have access to working files no matter where they are. Plus, you can work collaboratively on the same document in real-time.
Emphasize the importance of face-to-face communication
One of the hardest things about managing a remote team is making everyone feel connected. With in-person teams, you can schedule impromptu meetings, go out to team lunches, and stop by a coworker’s desk. It’s important to capture this spirit of teamwork when managing a remote team, as well.
One way to do this is to schedule regular video calls. Video calls put a face to a name and make it easier to interact like you would in person. To ramp up your video calls even more, include interactive elements like trivia, polls, games, or competitions. Plus, these meetings don’t always have to be work-focused. Don’t be afraid to set up a “watercooler” video chat where people can log in, talk with others, catch up, and then get back to work. This helps mimic the in-person dialogue that traditional workplaces have.
Schedule regular one-on-one meetings
One-on-one meetings are some of the most important meetings you can have with your team members and this team management technique extends to remote and in-person companies. Radical Candor, a blog based on the best-selling book by Kim Scott of Google, Apple, and other tech giants, shares some team management tips on how to make the most out of your one-on-one:
- Think of 1:1 meetings as your team member’s time, not yours. Don’t dominate the meeting with your updates and thoughts. Instead, give your coworker the chance to open up. Try to listen twice as much as you talk.
- Set some guidelines for the agenda, but set aside time to discuss any points your employee would like to address.
- Spend some time going over project status, but focus more on progress toward larger goals. For example, instead of focusing on the performance metrics of a recent campaign, discuss how the employee is working toward developing their campaign strategy skills.
Set clear expectations
Your team is only as good as the expectations you set for them. An important team management technique is to be clear on expectations for communication, deliverables, timelines, and other processes. Create standard operating procedures (SOPs) for common questions such as how often you should communicate, what channels should be used, agreed-upon working hours, timelines for projects, and more.
No matter where your team is based, these team management techniques will help you ensure that your employees are productive, connected and performing at their best. For more tips and tools on remote work, successful online meetings, and virtual collaboration, download our remote work toolkit.