Tips To Help You Manage A High-Performing Remote Team
It’s now easier than ever before to have a team of people working for you without having them in the same physical location. Thanks to the internet, you can work with a team that’s spread out all over the globe, and still get your work done. That being said, it’s not always easy to manage a team that isn’t in the same place. Communication breaks down, morale sinks, mistakes are made and deadlines are forgotten. With all these obstacles, it can become hard to manage a remote team and ensure they perform well. Below are a few tips you can use to make sure you’re still getting the most out of everyone, despite the fact that they’re working remotely.
Set Goals and Targets
To start, you need to set some goals and target dates. You need to have everyone on the same page, so that your projects remain on schedule. Each member of your team should know what their specific goals are, what the company goals are, and when they need to have their work completed by.
When people work remotely, especially from home, it’s sometimes hard to stay focused on tasks. If you don’t set clear deadlines, you may find that your remote workers start to fall behind and take longer to complete things.
Set up a meeting in which you can communicate with your remote workers – either individually or as a group. Go over your business plan template, how each person factors into it, and what you expect from them. Use this time to answer any questions and ensure the deadline you’ve set is reasonable.
Perform Regular Check-ins
After you assign some deadlines, you don’t want to wait until that day to see if everything is complete. You’ll want to periodically check in to make sure that everything is one track. This doesn’t have to be a long meeting – just a status update from your different team members so you know where everyone is at. By doing this you can see if your deadlines are still reasonable, or if you need to push them back at all.
Depending on your timeline, consider having these meetings either once a week or once a month. Don’t go too long between check-ins, as you’ll want to know right away if there’s an issue of which you need to be aware. Schedule these meetings at a time that’s convenient for all parties involved, and send out an automatic reminder the day before so that everyone is prepared.
Have the Right Communication Tools
When it comes to remote team work and improving employee engagement, communication is the key. For this, you need to have the right communication tools at your disposal. If you’re relying solely on faxes or phone calls, you’re likely wasting a lot of time and making things more difficult for yourself.
Instead, look for some instant messaging software you can use for your business. This will allow your team members to communicate in real time, share files, and go back to previous conversations quickly. It’s also good if you can get a tool with video chatting, or one that allows sharing of presentations, so that you can add some visuals to your communications. There are plenty of communication tools out there, so take some time to explore your options and decide which is right for your team.
Project Management Tools
Besides good communication tools, you’ll also want some project management tools. These tools will allow everyone on the team to see important files, update everyone else on their progress, keep track of client information, and much more. Project management tools are essential for any office, but they are even more important when you’re working with a remote team.
Without some of these tools, you’ll have a hard time keeping everyone on the same page and up to date. Then before you know it mistakes are being made, and your work gets slowed down even further.
Take a look at this list of project management tools for some options to consider. Then find one that will allow you to track all the important information for your team, and one that works for your budget as well.
Provide Some Public Praise
Finally, a great way to boost employee morale is through some public praise. Offering praise in an office setting is easy – you can post things on the bulletin board, make an announcement, or mention it during a meeting in the conference room. But when you’re working with a remote team, it’s a little harder. As a result, sometimes managers will forget to give out praise when it’s warranted. And while not everyone needs praise in order to do their jobs well, sometimes it can give the entire team a boost to work a little harder.
So, find some ways that you can give out public praise. For instance, if you’re using instant messaging software and you have a group message going on, you could say something there where everyone can see it. If not, send it out in a group email. The person you’re praising will appreciate the gesture, and everyone else seeing it might just work a little harder to get some praise of their own.
Overcoming Remote Team Obstacles
Working with a remote team certainly has its advantages, but there are still some obstacles you’ll need to overcome. One of them is ensuring that everyone stays on the same page and productive, despite not working in the same environment together. The above tips will hopefully help you to do that.
Of course, every remote team is different.
You’ll have to analyze your own and see where your specific problems lay. You may find that while you could use some better communication software, your current project management system is working just fine. It’s just a matter of finding ways to keep everyone in touch, like they would be in an office, despite working remotely. If you can take the time to analyze your situation and explore your options, you should have no problem managing a highly productive remote team.
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