Remote Working Tip #3: Managing Remote Teams
As a leader, the transition to working from home comes with unique challenges. You’re not just responsible for your own productivity. You need to be in consistent touch with your team to make sure they have everything they need to be successful and to ensure projects are being completed fully and in a timely manner.
I’ve been on both sides of the coin, so I want to provide a few tips to help you get the right things in place to be successful leading remote teams.
The most important part of your remote working leadership success will be the way in which you communicate with your team. Be sure to set expectations early and be consistent. Setup a communication channel, such as Microsoft Teams, to allow team members to chat about projects and easily stay in touch. Slack is another great option for this. Encourage your team members to stay in touch and get in the habit of communicating with one another as much as they would when in the office.
Select a day where everyone checks in with what they are working on. Maybe even a daily check in just to say hello and stay connected. This ensures you maintain that individual connection to each of your team members, and it keeps you in tune with all the projects they are working on. It also keeps your team members from feeling lost or disconnected. These should be short and sweet. If you try to have 30-minute conversations with each of your team members on a daily basis, that will turn into the only thing you do each day. So, just a quick touch base will work.
Set Goals and Expectations
Lay out a sort of road map for what you expect your teams to accomplish. Whether this is for a specific project or for more of a full picture of all the work going on, it’s important to set a clear direction so your team members know that they are doing the right thing and they aren’t confused about what’s expected of them.
Some of your team members will likely have remote working experience and be very comfortable with the transition. Others may struggle. Maintaining a positive voice and giving encouragement to your team is super important. Your team will look to you for signals on how to respond to the situation, so be sure to be a positive influence. Highlight wins, both big and small. Give recognition to team members for their contributions. Talk openly about the challenges but make note of how impressed you are by how your team responded. These things can go a long way in keeping productivity high.
Project Management Tool
This serves the same purpose as a to do list – but for teams. A good project management tool will keep you and your team organized and can even send notifications to your team members when tasks are due. You should look for a tool that only offers what you need. You can spend tons of money on a project management tool and never use 90% of the features.
Understanding and Flexibility
Remember, some of your team members may struggle with the transition to working from home. There will be different environmental influences impacting the way each team member works and the way they get the job done. So, it’s important for you to be flexible and understanding. No two work from home situations will look the same, so work with each person to accommodate their situation and give them the tools and resources they need to be effective.
Leading a remote team comes with its own challenges, but if you have the right approach, you can keep your team headed in the right direction and maintain the same levels of success you experience working from a physical office.
Anthony serves in the Director of Marketing and Business Development at Granite Creative Group. He is a storyteller, a strategist and eternally a student of marketing. Most recently, he served in leadership roles for a global content marketing agency, a highly regarding institute of higher education, a software company and in the legal world.