Managing a Remote Work Team Effectively

May 14, 2020
Whether your business has been working remotely for years or has recently been forced into remote work by the COVID-19 pandemic, managing a remote work team takes different skills than managing a traditional team in person. If you’re a team leader or a company leader, understanding the best methods for managing a remote work team is critical. How can you get the most from your employees while they’re sitting at home in their bathrobes?

Check-In Regularly

If your employees are already used to remote work, it might be appropriate to check in once a week. However, if they are used to face-to-face interaction every day, you might want to start with daily video chat check-ins. As they acclimate to working from home and maintain a high level of output, you can taper check-ins down. Your confidence in your remote team will grow and you can focus on handling questions, getting updates on projects and giving your team members any resources that they need. Remember to praise good work as well.

Overcommunicate

You don’t want to overcommunicate long-term when managing a remote work team. That said, you may feel like you are overcommunicating – or need to – because of how many times a day you will be touching base with your team! Hopefully this is just an adaptation period. One of the hardest things about adjusting to working from home is the sense of isolation. You miss the little trips to the water cooler or stopping by a desk to ask a quick question. Make a point of regularly chatting or checking in with your employees over chat, phone calls or email depending on what you’re inquiring about. Regular communication ensures everyone is on the same page and shouldn’t just be about business.

Make Expectations Clear

It’s easy to communicate objectives in person and keep everyone on the same page. Doing so remotely may result in some challenges. Keeping everyone’s preferred communication style in mind can be more difficult when managing a remote work team. Make sure that you set reasonable expectations for everyone on your team.  Clearly communicate the tasks that need to be done and the reason why they need to be accomplished. Gauging employee performance at home can be difficult when there are no set parameters. Therefore, making expectations crystal clear can ensure everyone is equipped with the knowledge they need.

Focus on Outcomes when Managing a Remote Work Team

Another adjustment when managing a remote work team is accurately seeing whether or not your employees are getting things done. Businesses that struggle to convert to remote work often focus too much on activity and processes. Where are your team members working? How many hours are they putting in? Are they taking a little extra time during their lunch break? Instead of focusing on the little parts of the day or how your workers are getting things done, focus on outcomes. If your team is maintaining the exceptional quality of work you expect and the same quantity of work you need while following deadlines, you have nothing to worry about.

Praise

Just like in an office setting, remember to point out things that are being done well to encourage more of the same. Avoid nitpicking. When managing a remote team, It is essential to focus on the positive, the results.

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