Managing a remote team comes with plenty of challenges - it is completely different to managing an in-house team who you see every day and can have regular update meetings with. However, there are a number of different ways of managing your team to ensure your team remains happy, projects get completed and you stay in the loop with all of your team. The following tips for managing a remote team will make your job just that little bit easier. From implementing a project management system, to using time tracking tools, there are a number of ways to help keep you in the loop and ensure your team are being as productive as possible.
Not to be confused with micro managing, tracking your team’s hours is one of the best ways to ensure they’re being productive and keep yourself in the loop when it comes to the status of a project.
There are a number of different time management programmes which can help you to keep an eye on their time, including:
However, it’s important to ensure you don’t use it as a tool to pull them up on their time-keeping skills, otherwise you risk them losing trust in you as a manager. Instead, use it as a tool to keep you in the loop with their projects and analyse when your team are working at full capacity. If you notice that they generally lose focus around 3pm, or struggle to get into the swing of things on a Monday morning, you can use this information to schedule team calls or other activities to help avoid unproductivity and keep your team on track.
It’s important to make sure you don’t just communicate with your team via email, so whether you have a weekly conference call with your team, or just check in with each individual on a regular basis - having frequent ‘virtual meetings’ with your team is one of the best ways to keep them on track and ensure any issues are sorted out quickly, allowing your team to get on with their work.
Additionally, if your team are all local, you could even hire a meeting room on a bi-weekly basis to give you all a chance to catch up, have a coffee and discuss the work you’ve been doing.
Office-based teams spend a good amount of their day chatting with their colleagues, both about work-related and non-work related topics, however, the social aspect of office life is one thing remote workers miss out on. In order to bring your team together, it’s important to have a platform for your team members to chat with each other, to replicate the ‘office chat’ that they miss out on.
Whether you use the popular business messaging platform, Slack, or have a WhatsApp group with all of your team, having a platform for them to chat - both formally and informally - will help to keep team morale high and reinforce the fact they’re working as a team.
A project management system is one of the best things you can implement to make managing remote teams just that little bit easier. There are a number of different project management systems on the market which allow you to:
By giving your entire team an overview of everyone’s role in the project and allowing them to assign individual tasks to a team member, it allows for a truly collaborative workforce - even if they’re not working in the same office. Additionally, it will save you time as a manager, negating the need for endless email chains, lost documents and lengthy phone calls about projects.
Working remotely can be lonely, so getting your team together for a night out, team building activity or skills training can be a great way to keep morale high and ensure your staff remain happy in their roles.
Not only will this make your staff members feel like they’re part of a team, but it will also give you a chance to nurture your relationship with them and make them feel truly valued within their role.
One of the biggest mistakes people make when managing a remote team is to micromanage their staff to make themselves feel more in control. However, this management style can be hugely detrimental to your team, not only making them feel as though they’re not trusted in their role, but can also add stress, making them feel as though they have to prove that they’re doing enough work just because they work remotely.
By implementing all of the tips above, such as investing in project management software, tracking hours and holding regular meetings, you can avoid falling into the habit of micromanaging and allow your team to get on with the job you hired them for.
So whether your team work remotely a few days a week, or your entire team is based elsewhere, these tips will help you to keep on top of their work and ensure they’re kept happy in their role.