"I can roll out of bed at 8:30 and get straight to work without dealing with rush-hour commuters on a tube." – Kim Hutchinson.
It wasn't just the pandemic that made corporations work remotely. Many companies like Zapier, Basecamp generally function with their distributed remote teams to achieve their objectives. It can be extremely challenging to manage a distributed remote team because of factors like work hours, separate locations, and individual priorities. It requires immense communication to keep the remote employees motivated and align their personal goals with the organization's goals. Of course, clarity and collaboration are the keys to making remote work a success. This article will give you managers brilliant tips to head your remote team proficiently.
8 Tips to Manage a Distributed Remote Team
A distributed remote team consists of individuals working from the same or different location, from home or anywhere outside, nationally or internationally, and communicating via online or telecalls.
Following are the tips for managing a distributed remote team proficiently:
1. Know the Right Tool For Communication
In a remote work setup, employees need to be communicated with more clearly and more often as the structure does not entirely connect them to the organization's goals. It is crucial to motivate such employees through the right tools and influence them to increase productivity. Microsoft Outlook, Teams, and Slack facilitate easy chats and conversations with teams and can be accessed through phones too. Apart from those, video conferencing tools like Zoom and GoogleMeet make seamless video team calls for free. Such tools, along with project management tools, help the team stay connected to each other and the organization while minimizing distractions and helping them take the job's accountability.
2. Understand Individual Member's Mindset
Every person is different, and it becomes more critical to understand the impact of corporate work culture on business and individuals. Keep in touch with them through one-on-one and group meetings once or twice a week. And even when the meetings take up a considerable chunk of time, do not consider them vague as they play a crucial role in making teammates feel appreciated and valued. Speak about their achievements, their work techniques and encourage them to open up and ask questions in doubt. As you invest in team members and understand their mindsets, you can plan how to align their goals with the organization's goals and help them grow their careers.
3. Detail Job Outline To Your Team
Things fall apart when the goals and expectations are not clear. As the manager, you must put in the effort to plan the work process so that your team can smoothly execute it. Weekly targets, monthly targets, work timings, project deadlines, people within the team, individual working hours, tools to be used, etc., must be clear from the beginning. This would ensure that the teams know about their responsibilities and what's expected of them. Such clarity helps manage distributed remote teams better and enhances their performance and productivity.
4. Ensure Flexibility
One of the drawbacks of remote work recently pointed out was the lack of discipline in the employee's life. People tend to get more screen time when the boundaries are not set up. Hence, if you wish to manage your distributed remote team efficiently, you must consider giving them the flexibility. People have also found out that remote work allows them to spend time with their families even on busy workdays. Offering individuals the flexibility to take breaks, run an errand or two, or work at non-office hours on some days would encourage them to be good at their work. Happy employees are driven to give their best when they feel valued. Look at the results they achieve rather than the hours they work. However, that doesn't mean you could invade their personal space, or they can take you for granted.
5. Make Time For Informal MeetUps
Even if the virtual meetup is the only option in a remote work setup, use that to stay in touch with your employees. Virtual coffee hours, playing games, joining book clubs, having light conversations, hosting online concerts could help rejuvenate employees and influence them to perform better. Such practices, when adapted, give rise to incredible remote work culture and keeps the team connected. Although a bit expensive, these meetups serve the purpose of fostering better work relationships.
6. Respect Boundaries
Work-life integration is a crucial factor that enhances one's productivity and happiness. You must improve manager effectiveness by respecting the time boundaries of people working. Set a time when employees must disconnect from work to take a rest. Check out their time zones and adhere to that.
7. Collaborative Tools
Understand the challenges of remote working and practice collaborative techniques with your team. Train your team with the best resources to always be ahead in technological advancements. Practice the best remote work culture by letting teams collaborate informally with each other where they can talk about their hobbies, non-work activities, movies, and sports. Although it might be a bit expensive for your budget, it would bond your team in the best ways. And when the bonding is strong, the work goals become easier to achieve.
8. Trust Your Team
Last but not least, every team thrives on the trust of its managers. Your belief in them pushes them to put their hearts into their jobs. Be patient with them and help them when they share their obstacles. Check in with them regularly and conduct webinars to improve their mental health and manage workplace stress. As a leader, when you trust them to do an excellent job while giving them flexibility, it builds their confidence, and they strike a better work-life integration.
It's not easy to manage a distributed remote team, but with the above tips and the proper mentoring, you can build a self-motivating and high ethics remote team.
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