Growing popularity of remote teams
In the post-Covid era, the world is witnessing a drastic change in the way people work. With more than 70 percent of the countries going into lockdown in the past year, such special times have forced people to think beyond normal in order to continue working in an attempt to keep the markets running even if it means going at warp speed.
On account of this, the concept of remote working or working from places that are usually not our conventional office spaces became a widespread phenomenon as the period of lockdown in many countries kept stretching up to months.
Now, with the rollout of vaccines for the virus, companies and employees are all set to resume trade at full speed once again. But moving forward, many world-leading companies have proposed that they would like to continue the trend and rather have their employees continue working from home. Data from the PwC report showed that over the 650 plus CEOs surveyed, a staggering 80 percent believed that remote work would become the norm in the future. Tech giants such as Facebook and Twitter are among the first to instill this company-wide change with many of their employees working remotely since May 2020 for an indefinite period of time.
So, working remotely has proven to be hugely beneficial for both the employer and the employee as it helps the employer cut down his or her operational costs of running their business and it gives the employee the flexibility of working at their own place from a place that best suits their daily schedule without having to commute for a trip back and forth everyday from office. Let us say that it is a win-win situation for both parties.
But as a manager of a group of remote workers your job has become more vital than before. You will encounter new challenges in managing people that didn’t arise before on account of being in a physical office setup. For example, keeping track of what everyone is doing, the engagement levels of each employee, and whether or not everybody involved in the ongoing projects are on the same page.
So, let us discuss a few key tips and strategies that will help you manage your remote working teams successfully.
Introduction and Onboarding
Similar to starting any job, the onboarding process is very crucial for the incoming employee. This applies to getting on board a remote worker as well. As a manager, you have the responsibility of introducing the new employee to your company, the products your company deals with, the clientele it has, and the department that the person will be joining.
This is a crucial step and shouldn’t be avoided as it gives the remote worker a clear vision of what your company does and that vision should reflect in every piece of work they produce for your company.
Maintain Constant Communication
When you have a group of people working for you from remote locations, chances are that they may feel left out of a particular process or a crucial stage due to lack of communication. In many physical workplaces itself, people feel that they are left out of important tasks on account of a lack of communication. This risk increases tenfold in a remote work setting.
So, as a manager, it falls in your hands to set up a proper communication channel between your team members so that every person feels involved and your department works like a well-oiled frictionless motor engine.
Organize Company Meetups
Whether a big multi-national conglomerate or a mid-size business; when your core running unit is constituted of remote workers working together for a substantial amount of time, then company managers should take time to organize company meetups and similar events to give your employees an opportunity to meet one another in person.
This is really helpful in promoting the company culture, creating a long-term relationship with your remote workers, and gives them a chance to get better acquainted with each other which in turn will help them collaborate better with each other.
Brainstorm Ideas Collectively
The practice of brainstorming can be a challenge for a remote working team. But with pre-scheduling video conferences and adding as many people as possibly useful for the project to the conference, your entire team can pitch in invaluable ideas from any part of the world.
As a manager and host of these video chats on the majority of occasions, try to make these sessions as interactive as possible. Plan activities, give everyone time to speak and finalize the main conclusions together with everyone. When you get everyone working together, you are likely to achieve outputs with favorable results.
Freedom to be Flexible
As a manager coordinating and supervising a team of remote workers it is imperative for you to understand that people working for you want to be in that position because they have chosen this particular lifestyle for themselves and you have to respect it. These are people who prefer to have the freedom of doing things at their own time rather than following a 9 am to 5 pm clock schedule. So, you have to be empathetic to get the best results out of them.
This means understanding their personal needs and what sort of lives they live. Some may have kids, some may have to do everything by themselves, some may be in relationships. So as a manager, you should help them achieve a work-life balance.
Set up goal-focused tasks
As mentioned, that showing empathy is one of the most important qualities that a manager of remote workers should possess, let us see how you can get the most out of your team whilst showing empathy. You need to give goal-focused tasks to your team members with fixed deadlines. You can define the goals for the tasks and what you require from the person you are handing over the responsibility. Then you can allow the number of days or hours you think would be sufficient to execute the task. This is one of the best ways of teaching accountability to your remote workers and increasing their level of engagement at the same time.
Provide guidance and resources
This should be an integral part of task management especially for new employees as remote workers don’t get the chance to communicate as often with other employees as they would in a physical environment. So, if they are stuck in a task then access to help for a remote worker is much more difficult. Thus, when setting up goals for any remote working employee every manager should consider the necessary tools and data that will be required to execute the task and provide the same. A one-to-one communication setup via video or text with every member of your team will help you accomplish the task easily on a daily basis.
Use online collaboration tools
With the age of digital transformation upon us, online collaboration tools are the key to successfully managing your remote teams. These digital platforms are developed to help you manage your teams in the most efficient way. Comprised of a user-friendly chat interface with complete emoji sets to express freely and powerful video conferencing features, you can connect with numerous people at a single time. You can set up one-to-one communication or team communication by creating chat rooms, share files and important documents, view product history, and much more.
Assign Tasks and Monitor Progress
A great advantage of using the online collaboration tools is the ease with which you can assign tasks to your remote team and monitor their progress in real-time with quick communication methods. As these tools are equipped with an option to chat, setting up chat rooms with every team member individually can help you be in constant touch with them. You and your employer will always be in the right context of things with the availability of the chat history option. In such a way, you can monitor the progress of every team member and stay connected at all times.
Give Feedback and Appreciate
As remote workers do not fulfill their social needs as much as the people working in offices, for example, getting recognized for their contributions and achievements or getting performance reviews from other colleagues, as a manager you should take it upon yourself to give them feedback based on the work they did in a certain interval of time or on a project basis. Tell them their strong and weak points and how they can improve in the future. You should also appreciate them over video conferences and in team conversations when in the presence of all the team members in case someone does exceptionally well or highly above your expectations. This will boost their morale and motivate them to push even further.
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