Remote Team Management: Effective Ways of Leading a Remote Team
Before the outbreak of Covid-19, remote-based jobs were not that ‘popular’-among full-time workers. People who are used to working in the office need some time to adjust to working from home. Today, full-time remote workers are quite common, but what are some of the best ways for remote team management?
If you are a leader or someone who has just started working remotely, this article could assist you to adapt with this new environment.
Tips for Remote Team Management
- Trust your employees to execute their tasks remotely
Sometimes, the feeling of not being able to see with our own eyes triggers the sense of anxiety? Are they working or doing something else? Could they complete the tasks by the deadlines? Or are you wishing that you have a surveillance camera to track your employees' whereabouts?
In critical circumstances such as the pandemic, you must trust your employees to execute their tasks remotely. The safety of your employees comes first, for them to be able to work in a safer environment. The trust will increase your employees to commit to the tasks given to them and deliver on time.
If there are issues such as in terms of work quality or efficiency, discuss with your employees how to make things work.
- Set meetings according to your company’s needs.
Yes, remote teams need meetings to keep up with each other's progress and discuss issues similar to working at the office. Set meetings according to your company’s needs, and prevent from setting endless meetings that lead to zero solutions.
Spread the time wisely, so there is a balance between planning and action to execute. Too many meetings in a week might affect the company’s work quality and productivity. Meetings are important to know that your company is on the right track and to check on your team members, or just in case you miss seeing their faces! 😅
- Create digital working spaces to support the team's productivity and work efficiency.
A remote-based team relies heavily on digital working spaces such as Slack, Notion, and Asana. This is to ensure that everyone is on the same page; What project has yet to be completed? Who is on leave?
Getting everyone's feedback on a particular project using digital apps is efficient as you do not have to ask every single team member separately. You can view it in one space and continue the discussion online. However, you must be mindful of the resting hours too. Working remotely does not mean that your team needs to work extra office compared to working in the office.
They are the same human, and humans need to rest. Be mindful of digital mindfulness. Digitally attaching ourselves 24/7 is not good for our physical and mental health.
- Communicate clearly on the company’s expectations and goals.
It is easier to work when you know the direction, right? Guessing or assuming the company’s goals could lead to poor performance, as they are not clear with the company’s expectations and how they could perform better for the company.
Communicate clearly to your employees on the company’s mission, expectations, and goals. Set performance goals to increase employees’ motivation to work in the company. This also reflects the company’s trust in the employee’s performance to reach the targets.
Tips for Leading Remote Teams
- Lead with empathy by understanding and sharing the feelings of another.
Working remotely could sometimes distract us from getting in touch with our team. Prevent ourselves from getting in the ‘Out of sight, Out of mind’ scenario, which tends to make us forget to reconnect with each other. Remember to lead with empathy and check on your team members. Are they doing okay? Is working remotely overwhelming? What can you do as a leader to make things better?
Your team members will appreciate the time you spend talking to them, and the effort you make to understand their struggles. As a leader, you too can understand the obstacles to be in the position as your team members and find ways to be a better leader, that people respect and love.
Occasionally, check how your team is doing. That’s a great support system to have in any company.
- Be clear on the ground rules to achieve a better workflow and mutual understanding.
Ensure that your team understands the ground rules of the company. This is important to achieve better workflow and mutual understanding between team members. Clear ground rules may reduce conflicts at work and increase work efficiency.
Respect the company’s principles and reflect the principles while at work, for other team members to practice. The culture and rules of a company are mostly based on the action of the leader. Set the example that you want others to follow, and the working culture will be implemented.
- Encourage and Embrace Diversity as a team.
Diversity welcomes perspectives from different angles. There are many values that we could learn from a person from different backgrounds, such as taking feedback from different perspectives or highlighting pain points that we could never acknowledge before. Diversity is not only limited to nationalities but could also refer to past work exposure and experiences.The diversity in specialties in a company could contribute to better work collaboration and achievements.
Differences could lead to conflicts due to differences in work ethics, time zones, and cultural differences. However, these can be overcome by being open to feedback, celebrating and welcoming differences, and promoting respect towards other cultures' differences.
- Observe signs of distress among your team members.
This is a challenge when working remotely as we could not see our team members eye to eye. However, this could be observed through their actions. If a team member keeps absent from joining the weekly meeting, feeling unmotivated to execute tasks, or having issues to readjust working from home, these could be signs of distress.
Get in touch to know the cause of your team members' behavior in that kind of manner. Perhaps it could be affected by the way you lead the company, mistreatment by the senior-level team members, or genuinely feeling unwell.
As a leader, it is essential to constantly observe the signs of distress among your team members that could affect the company productivity and work efficiency.
Another two additional points, by our mentor Samuel Fabayo, a Product Designer at Xplora Technologies based in the UK, he added that:
- Organize Virtual fun hangout sessions periodically.
A fun virtual session from time to time will surely lift the team members' spirit to do well in the projects they are working on . This could also build a closer bond between the leader and the team members. Create fun online games for the team members to get to know each other.
A virtual fun session with the team members is certainly something to look forward to! 🎉 Aside from the regular meetings 😆.
- Have one to one sessions with team members at least once a month.
“Hey, how are you?”. A simple conversation could light up someone’s day and perhaps open up to you. Show that you are there for them and willing to support them during their time in need. Set some time or at least once a month to check on your team members.
As a leader, you need to take a step back and check on yourself too, your mental health is worthy just like everybody else. Talk to your loved ones or your team members, they could give support and suggestions to reduce the current burden that you are feeling.
Benefits of Working Remotely
- A better work-life balance by working from home.
Now that you are working from home, you have the advantage of creating a better work-life balance. For example, if you love cooking, you could spend some time cooking your meals without rushing to get ready to work, gardening before the sunset, or accompanying your pets at home while working.
- Diversity pool of talents from around the globe.
There are almost no geographical limitations when it comes to working remotely. A remote-based company could hire talented people around the world if they want to. It would be exciting to be able to work with people from different backgrounds and cultures.
It helps to open our minds to different ways of thinking and approaches to problem-solving and decision-making processes.
- Fewer office interruptions and save time to commute.
It is easy to get interrupted by the sounds of a printing machine, phone calls, or perhaps the delivery guy who keeps looking at you to sign the document every time there is a parcel for someone else 😆.
You could also skip the time to queue for public transport or get stuck in a traffic jam. Just remember to set the alarm for work, have a quick shower, make your favorite cup of morning booster, dress casually, and you are ready for work!
- Reduce health risks- especially during the pandemic.
Home is a safer place to be during the pandemic, and it would be best if you could reduce your exposure to the public. You are not only reducing health risks for yourself but also for your loved ones at home.
Some Assumptions When Working Remotely
- Employees will always be available at any time or difficult to get in touch with the team.
Bear in mind that working remotely does not mean a leader has the power to push the team to work around the clock because they are at home. Set clear boundaries to achieve a healthy working space.
Set a clear working timeframe to reach out to your team easily.
- Employees feeling less pressured working from home.
Stress not only occurs in physical working space, but it could also occur at any place and any time. Although there are benefits to working from home, there are also limitations that we should be aware of, such as feeling disconnected from team members, feeling pressured with childcare, and distractions at home.
- Zero need for ‘catch up’ sessions as everyone is remote- based.
Catch-ups sessions are not a part of regular meetings. Catch-up sessions are casual chats between you and a team member or few other team members over coffee,snacks, or fluffy pillows.
This is a session where you can catch-up and talk about something outside of work. How’s your life been? Any new Netflix recommendations? You can even conduct an online exercise regime together. 🏋️♂️ 🤸♀️🧘♂️
- The need to micromanage your team members on every single task.
Micromanagement reduces productivity and kills motivation. Nobody likes the feeling of being controlled by the task that has been delegated to them. What is the point of delegating if there is no trust, right?
Give your team members the flexibility to complete their tasks.
Read more on the Challenges of Managing Remote Employees and The 8 characteristics of a great leader.
Click here to know more on 👉 how to manage a remote team. Our dedicated mentors are ready to answer your questions.
Thanks again to our mentor Samuel Fabayo, for contributing some input to this article. 🙌🏻