In today’s workplace, it is quite common for teams to be comprised of in-house and remote workers. The days of having everyone in the office are long gone, and we are moving full steam ahead into the virtual workspace. With this ever-evolving environment comes new challenges and ways to overcome them. The age of managing a remote team is here.
In this post, I’m going to share with you the best tips and tools that I use to manage a productive remote team.
Tips for Managing a Remote Team
Hire the right people
First and foremost, you need to have the right people on your team. When interviewing candidates or reviewing a current team member, remember to gauge not only how well they work remotely, but do they fit your company’s culture.
This can be tough sometimes, but it is important your remote team feels they have access to you. Unlike when you are in the office, there are no chance meetings in the break room or at the water cooler. Do your best to respond to your remote team as fast as possible.
Set clear expectations
When working in a remote environment is it crucial for your team members to understand what is expected of them from the beginning. Be unambiguous when setting standards and explaining expectations. Being transparent with expectations as well as assumptions is key.
Use a project management system
Executing a project is no easy task and is made even more difficult when you have multiple team members working on it during different times of the day. The best way to ensure a project’s success and keep everyone on the same page is by using a project management system.
Define communication channels
Pending on the nature of the communication, you may want to send an email over a chat message. However, all communication channels should be the same whether a team member is remote or in the office. This eliminates the chance of a team member falling out of the loop on what is going on at the company.
Engage Often and Regularly
Since there are no chance encounters, you need to schedule meetings to make certain you are engaging all your team members. There should be a mix of team meetings and one-on-ones. Also, remember to not only focus on work but get to know each individual on your team and keep up with what is going on with them personally.
Use video for meetings
When you are not speaking to someone face-to-face you are missing the non-verbal portion of the interaction which can be just as crucial as the actual words being said. Video is the next best thing and should be used as much as possible.
Treat time zones fairly
Coordinating a meeting can be difficult when you have team members across the globe. Inevitably someone will most likely have to be up early or stay late so try to be fair when evaluating the possibilities. Do not always ask the same person to adjust their schedule, spread the inconvenience around so no one feels singled out.
Create a virtual watercooler
Socializing is not just something most people like to do, it is good for your health and vital to creating rapport with your team. Find a way to re-create the water cooler atmosphere and encourage your team to get to know each other.
Get together face to face at least once a year
Although this may be difficult and costly, bringing the entire team together in the same room at least once a year is great for building team rapport.
Tools for Managing a Remote Team
- Email / File Sharing / Scheduling: G Suite
- Chat platform: Slack
- Virtual Meetings: Zoom
- Project Management: Jira Software or Trello
- Time Tracking + Reporting: Tempo Timesheets (Jira Software Add-on)
- Knowledgement Base: Confluence
What are some of your favorite tips for managing a remote team? What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in managing people who may be multiple time zones away from you? Drop us an email and let us know!