Helpful Steps and Tips for Learning How to Manage Remotely
By Indeed Editorial Team
Published November 24, 2022
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Remote management involves a series of processes to coordinate and monitor the activities of a remote team. It requires understanding team dynamics and using various tools, techniques, and programs to achieve organizational objectives. Learning about remote team management can help you promote a team's growth and become a better leader. In this article, we list six steps for managing a team remotely and provide helpful tips you can use to maximize your teams' skills when collaborating virtually.
How to manage remotely
You can take the following steps to manage remotely and support your team through virtual interactions:
1. Understand the challenges of remote working
Before you begin any activity, it's helpful to educate yourself on the challenges you may face and how to manage them. The following are challenges to remote management and recommended solutions:
Loss of direct supervision: Due to fewer physical interactions, virtual teams typically have less strict supervision and may require extra assistance to achieve their goals. You can minimize this by using collaboration tools to improve employee engagement and planning software programs to assign tasks and check employees' progress.
Distractions: When working from home, there may be various distractions, such as babies' cries, pet noises, or people coming to the door. You can have team members schedule their daily activities to allow them to balance working with tending to personal issues and suggest that they set boundaries during work hours to limit distractions and improve productivity.
Employee isolation: Remote working may increase feelings of isolation in employees by reducing or eliminating physical interactions. Ensure that you foster engagement with every team member through virtual shout-outs, effective collaboration tools, and consistent check-ins to create a remote culture.
2. Set clear goals and create a structured work routine
Clear goals and routines allow you to motivate team members to work even when they're not physically near you. While it's advisable to set team goals after the team's formation, you can also set or review goals before a project's commencement or whenever you feel it's necessary. It can help to ensure each team member understands their role by discussing their contribution to the organization's overall objectives. Consider using the SMART approach to ensure that your goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time bound.
3. Determine the right tools and technology to use
You can reduce the number of challenges you face by using appropriate tools and technology. First, determine what resources on-site employees use and what remote employees may require access to, such as policy and procedure manuals, presentation templates and supplies, mail supplies, and stationery. Then, select tools that specifically address your needs.
For example, team management software can assist you with automating meeting schedules, sending reminders, and allocating priority tasks. You may also use a joint productivity application to track and record each team member's output for important decisions, such as salary raises, promotions, and bonuses.
4. Disseminate information properly and communicate with team members
If you want to build connections between team members, establish communication channels that enable information to flow freely. Communicate information early using the right channels, such as e-mail and office collaboration tools, and be available to answer queries and accept feedback. You could designate a particular day of the week for team interaction and check-ins. During a check-in meeting, ask about team members' well-being, review their progress toward current objectives, assign them new tasks, and inform them of recent developments regarding their tasks and the company.
5. Train team members and provide them with the necessary resources
Providing team members with relevant resources to perform their work can help them be productive and complete tasks and assignments faster. During weekly or other periodic meetings, you may determine their required resources and discuss with the organization's senior managers or executives to provide them. If these resources require training to use, schedule training sessions or invite an external facilitator to explain core concepts to the team.
6. Be empathetic
Managers use empathy to direct team members' activities toward completing projects. It can help to acknowledge stress, listen to employees' concerns, and empathize with their struggles. Allowing employees to take occasional breaks can help them reduce fatigue. Demonstrate a sincere willingness to help them with their problems. You may also establish trust and improve morale by celebrating birthdays, work anniversaries, and special holidays together.
Tips for managing a remote team
Here are some practices that can help you manage your team and enhance its output:
Have moderate expectations
It's important to manage your expectations to reduce any disappointment you may feel. If your team used to work in a physical location but now works remotely, ensure that you explain the company's expectations and your own expectations to them to refocus their purpose and help them achieve positive outcomes. Determine ways to align their new operating environment with their competencies and give them time to adapt while you guide and support them. This helps you ensure they're aware of their responsibilities and improves the likelihood of everyone being able to complete their tasks.
Leverage video communication
By using video communication, you can avoid most issues with remote work. You can use it to have informal interactions to create a more relaxed atmosphere. Other staff members and trusted industry peers may also use video communication to share ideas and personal strategies for completing tasks and staying organized.
Allocate time to tasks and outline performance indicators
When you assign tasks to team members, consider adding a turnover time. Strictly enforce this by rewarding whoever complies and reprimanding defaulters. You may also create an action plan that details the timeline and key performance indicators (KPIs). These useful accountability tools help you supervise team members and evaluate their performance. It's important to consider team members' strengths and weaknesses and assign them tasks that they can really perform to ensure they achieve these KPIs.
Identify obstacles and remove them
It's also important that remote team managers support their team members emotionally. They communicate personally with their team, identify challenges they may be going through, and offer them assistance to overcome them. Consider adopting a flexible management approach. For example, if you require team members to work an average of seven hours per day, you could allow them to choose which hours to work. By identifying the team's obstacles, you can help them focus on their tasks and complete them before their deadlines.
Micromanagement occurs when a manager excessively supervises and controls employees' work and hardly delegates tasks and decisions. It generally indicates a lack of trust in the employees' abilities. When you're managing a remote team, give them responsibility for their own tasks by limiting micromanagement. You can achieve this by providing thorough and clear instructions at the start of a project, allocating deadlines, and setting KPIs. If you have new information, you may communicate it during periodic check-in meetings and monitor employees' development.
Related: What Is Remote Work?
One way to limit micromanagement, gain team members' trust, and improve their professional development is to delegate responsibilities. Before delegating tasks, it's helpful to simplify them and assess team members' strengths to understand which tasks they can perform well. You may use task management software to inform everyone of where to work and what to do. If deadlines are important, consider incentivizing employees to promote healthy competition between them. This helps you develop team members' abilities and ensure that you have a successor when you leave the role.
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