In the last few years, remote working has ceased to be just a trend, and has become the new normal for many businesses. Managing a team that works from home 100% takes careful planning and strategizing. Whether you are in the process of quickly adapting to managing a remote team or establishing yourself in the position for the long-term, here are a few pointers on how to set your remote team up for success.
Set up your team’s “headquarters”
Not being in the same physical space, like an office, can be challenging for any remote team if tools for communication, collaboration, and productivity are not well-established. So, one of the most important things to build is a set of tools and platforms where team members can get updates, instructions, files, and even casual conversations.
Start off by setting up spaces or platforms for the following:
- Real-time communication and updates
- Virtual workspace, where assignments and task progress can be accessed
- Cloud-based shared document storage
- Team calendar
- Video meetings
Make sure to establish clear instructions as to how these tools must be used. For example, video conference tools are for scheduled meetings, and not for urgent updates.
Schedule recurring one-on-one and team meetings
Set up regular 1:1 meetings with every direct report and try your best not to skip any of them. These 1:1s are your opportunities to build relationships and rapport with your members.
To ensure that you have something to talk about at every meeting, involve them in setting the agenda. You can use a live file where you and your report can easily jot down things that you’d like to talk about in the next meeting. Use these regular meetings to track goals and growth so performance reviews by the end of the year won’t be too time-consuming and awkward.
Team meetings, on the other hand, give your team a chance to interact and serve as a regular reminder that they are part of a group. Use these sessions well so that your members regularly show up and engage themselves.
Define your expectations clearly
When managing a remote team, your focus must be on the results rather than the activity. With that said, it is important that you establish and define expectations. What does “high quality” look like? How do we define success in this workflow? Metrics, deadlines, scope, and deliverables for projects must be clearly communicated to team members so that everyone’s performance is accurately measured.
Promote a culture of over-communication and empathy
Coach your team to proactively share feedback, best practices, progress, or anything that concerns their work. This way, issues get resolved promptly, and team members are up to speed regarding feedback and best practices.
A lot can get lost when everyone’s just a username and a photo on communication platforms. When not communicating in-person, our conversations are rid of tone, facial expressions, and body language. You can lead with empathy by assuming positive intent at all times. If you are bothered by how someone communicates with you and the rest of the team, promptly provide feedback on what you observe and let them know how you’d like things to change.
Remote working — or working from home — is more than just re-creating what is done in the office. It takes setting up a good and effective set of tools for communication and productivity, ensuring enough “facetime” with members, clearly stating how output is measured, and establishing a team culture that will help your team to thrive, among other things.
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