Nowadays, many businesses consider remote working, or at least hybrid working, to be the standard. As a manager, overseeing a remote team can be both exciting and challenging. In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of managing remote teams, discuss the common challenges you may encounter, and provide 15 highly effective tips to help you manage a remote team successfully. So, let’s dive in!
The Benefits of Remote Workers
Remote working isn’t suitable for every job role or industry, but where it is, there are many benefits to having remote employees. Here are a few for you to consider:
Remote teams often experience higher productivity due to reduced distractions and personalised work environments. Employees can focus more on tasks without typical office interruptions and deliver results more efficiently. In addition, remote workers with the freedom to work flexible hours can manage their workloads around peak productivity times, further increasing output.
Employers Can Access a Wider Pool of Talent
Remote working removes the location barrier enabling you to consider a wider candidate pool and have a greater chance of finding the ideal employee for your team. The flexibility of remote working also provides an opportunity to assemble a diverse team with different skill sets and perspectives, fostering innovation and creativity.
Remote working reduces costs such as office space and company vehicles, making it a financially attractive option for many companies. By embracing remote teams, organisations can allocate resources more effectively and invest in other areas of growth. As working from home has become more popular many companies have reduced office space and adopted a hot desk approach for those that wish to work in the office or on a hybrid basis.
Improved Work-Life Balance
Remote working creates greater flexibility, allowing team members to balance their personal and professional lives better. This flexibility increases job satisfaction, overall wellbeing, and employee retention rates.
While working from home can often be the default for remote working, some employees opt to work from co-working spaces close to home. This option provides the benefit of an office environment for those who prefer it but still reduces commuting time.
Enhanced Diversity and Inclusion
Remote working improves diversity by eliminating geographic barriers. Companies that enable employees to manage their working hours, whether wholly or partially, provide greater opportunities for employees with caring responsibilities and disabilities, further increasing diversity within the business. And as we know, research constantly demonstrates how companies with diverse teams outperform those without, boosting profitability.
Challenges of Managing a Remote Team
While there are many benefits to having employees who work remotely, there are also some challenges that managers need to overcome:
Physical distance can create communication gaps, making establishing effective channels and tools for collaboration crucial. Clear and frequent communication ensures everyone is aligned and working towards shared goals.
Without face-to-face interactions, trust-building among team members and between managers and employees can be more challenging. As a manager, you must actively foster trust through open and honest communication, recognising accomplishments, and encouraging collaboration.
Managing remote workers requires establishing clear expectations and performance metrics to ensure accountability and maintain productivity levels. Regular check-ins, progress updates, and well-defined goals help create a sense of responsibility and ownership.
Overcoming the Difference in Working Hours
Whether employees work slightly different hours or are in different time zones, scheduling meetings and coordinating tasks can be a logistical challenge. It’s important to find a balance that accommodates everyone and ensures fair participation.
Maintaining Team Cohesion
Without the opportunity for in-person interactions, fostering a sense of team spirit and camaraderie requires intentional effort. Virtual team-building activities, informal chats, and celebrating milestones help strengthen bonds among remote team members.
15 Highly Effective Tips for Managing Remote Workers
1. Set Clear Expectations
Clearly define roles, responsibilities, and performance expectations to ensure everyone is on the same page. Provide guidelines for deadlines, deliverables, and preferred communication methods.
2. Establish Open Channels of Communication
Leverage communication tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams, or Zoom to foster regular and transparent communication. Encourage team members to use these channels for work-related discussions and collaboration.
3. Schedule Regular Check-Ins
Conduct frequent one-on-one and team meetings to address concerns, provide feedback, and foster a sense of connection. These check-ins can help clarify doubts, share progress updates, and align priorities.
4. Create Psychological Safety
Encourage open dialogue, active listening, and trust-building exercises to nurture strong relationships among team members. Promote an environment where everyone feels comfortable expressing their ideas and concerns.
5. Use Project Management Tools
Utilise project management software like Asana or Trello to streamline workflows, track progress, and allocate tasks effectively. These tools help visualise project timelines, assign responsibilities, and keep everyone updated on a project’s status.
6. Encourage Collaboration
Promote teamwork by encouraging cross-functional collaboration and knowledge-sharing among team members. Facilitate opportunities for brainstorming sessions, peer reviews, and joint problem-solving.
7. Embrace Video Conferencing
Video calls help recreate a more personal connection and facilitate non-verbal communication cues, fostering better understanding – schedule video conferences for important meetings, team presentations, and team-building activities.
8. Provide Regular Feedback
Offer constructive feedback and recognition to remote team members to support their growth and motivation. Acknowledge their achievements and provide guidance on areas where improvement is needed.
9. Offer Professional Development Opportunities
Invest in training programs, webinars, and online courses to enhance the skills and expertise of your remote team. Support their professional growth and provide resources for continuous learning.
10. Respect Work-Life Balance
Encourage a healthy work-life balance by setting clear boundaries and discouraging overworking. Respect personal time and promote wellbeing to avoid burnout and maintain high employee morale.
11. Celebrate Milestones and Achievements
Recognise and celebrate individual and team achievements to boost morale and foster a positive remote work culture. Use virtual platforms to acknowledge outstanding contributions publicly.
12. Encourage Social Interaction
Create opportunities for remote team members to bond and connect through virtual team-building activities and informal chats. Foster a sense of camaraderie by organising virtual coffee breaks or team lunches.
13. Support Mental Health and Wellbeing
Provide resources and initiatives to support the mental health and wellbeing of your remote team. Encourage self-care practices, share mental health resources, and promote a supportive work environment.
14. Adapt to Different Time Zones
Be mindful of time zone differences when scheduling meetings and ensure all team members have the opportunity to participate. Rotate meeting times to accommodate different regions and avoid burdening specific individuals.
15. Lead by Example
Set a positive example through your own remote work habits, communication style, and dedication to fostering a productive remote team environment. Be responsive, approachable, and proactive in addressing challenges.
Managing a remote team may present unique challenges, but it can bring tremendous benefits with the right strategies and mindset. By leveraging the tips outlined above, you can cultivate a thriving remote team, foster strong relationships, and achieve remarkable results. Embrace the opportunities that remote work offers and watch your team thrive.
Remember, at Delphinium, we are dedicated to helping you navigate the evolving world of remote work and managing your team. Contact us to discuss how we can help you develop your skills further.
Author: Gemma Rolstone | Published 17th July 2023.