As a manager of a team you have many responsibilities.
As the manager of remote teams you have those responsibilities plus the added challenge of working remotely.
Gathering information from different teams and coordinating scheduled meetings and information exchange can leave a manager feeling overwhelmed.
Here are fifteen remote work management strategies that can help you keep your teams organized and make sure you are not overwhelmed.
1. Hold Regular Meetings – Find a time each week to hold a video conference meeting with your remote team.
It might mean you need to be in your office earlier or later than usual but meeting regularly with your team will help you see the strengths of the different team members.
The more you know about your team the better you will be able to manage them.
Meeting weekly will help you stay organized and let the remote team know what is happening at the main office.
This is a way to introduce new team members or concepts while everyone is present.
In a WWR interview Wade Foster, the founder of Zapier who spoke at the 2020 Running Remote conference, said that they had to make adjustments for working globally.
If they were working on a specific feature they had to adjust for the different time zones which could be difficult.
2. Daily Check-ins – Another important factor in keeping communication lines open is the daily check-in.
You should call or email a member from your team once a day and have them give you a daily update on the progress they are making.
Talking daily to individual team members will give them a chance to voice any concerns they may have with the project or the team.
This way you will know exactly what is happening each day so you can be ready to give a report on your teams on a moment’s notice.
Staying in touch with your team leaders shows them that you are there if they need you and are interested in what they are accomplishing.
3. Goals – You need to set both short and long term goals for your teams.
After the goals are set you will need to communicate them to the team leaders by phone and email.
Following up to make sure your team leader understands the goals you have set can be a great way to keep an open line of communication with the team leader and to make sure your goals are understood.
When you make your calls or emails to the team members you can ask them if they are aware of their goals.
If they are not, this gives you a chance to let them know exactly what goals they should be meeting.
You can also send a general email reminding everyone of the short term goals you would like to have accomplished along with dates for completion.
This way everyone is on the same page.
4. Training – Along with goal setting and communication, it is important that everyone has the training they need.
From the remote team leader and workers to the people who manage the remote team it is essential that everyone is up to date on the latest technology in their fields.
Managing a remote team will not work well if you do not know how to use the technology that is available to you.
Make sure everyone is up to date with training for the equipment you use in remote work.
This will help your team be on top of their game and help them complete their projects in a timely fashion.
5. Focus on Results – You want your team to succeed and one way to accomplish that is to focus on results.
Focusing on their results can tell you if they are doing what you have asked them to do the way you want it done.
See how many press releases your public relations team is putting out per week.
Keep track of how many replies your support team has gotten to in a day.
Use these results to determine if your remote team is completing your assignments correctly or if they need some suggestions on how to accomplish what you are asking.
6. Resources – Your team may need resources that you can provide for them.
Take the time to figure out what they need, or have a round table discussion about what resources they require, and get them their resources.
Research software that can assist your remote team with their projects.
Most software is inexpensive if not free. Investing in resources will still be saving you money in the long run.
Make sure you do your research and provide your team with the resources that will enhance their work experience.
7. Be Personable – The more personable you are with your remote team, the better they will work for you.
Coming across as a dictator will only make your team angry and resentful.
Showing them you care about how they feel will make your team trust you and work better for you.
A winning personality solves more issues than someone who rails at their employees.
They do not work in the office next to you so they cannot know what you are doing all day or how you are feeling from morning to night.
Put your best face forward and encourage your remote team with kindness and guidance.
8. Delegate Responsibilities – As your team grows with your company you will want team leaders to take on more responsibilities.
Your job should be to empower them to grow with your company.
Do not be afraid to hand over duties the team leader can accomplish, even if the team is far away.
The team needs to know that you believe in them and that you want them to grow with you and succeed.
Giving the team leader the reigns after a few months will give them the confidence to run the team and report back to you.
Show them you believe in them by giving them more responsibilities.
9. Show Self-Discipline – If you show your remote team that you make deadlines and strive to be the best at your job, they will follow in your footsteps.
Be a leader who leads by example.
A remote team will be less than willing to make deadlines if you keep changing them or pushing them back because you did not complete what needed to be done on your end.
Finish your work on time and show your team that you care about getting things done.
The more self-disciplined you are the more you and your remote team will accomplish.
10. Empower Decision Making – Make sure you are not just telling your team what to do all the time.
You need to empower their decision-making skills and let them grow and figure out their own solutions to problems.
Help them out but do not do their work for them.
Let them know that you believe in them and their ability to figure out problems.
The more responsibility they take on, the less you will have to do for them.
This will help them grow as a team and will empower them to grow as individuals.
11. Listening Skills – As a remote manager you will need to brush up on your listening skills.
You will not be able to pop into your remote team’s office and ask a quick question.
Listen to what they say and pay attention.
You do not want pertinent information to get lost because you got distracted by something else.
Your remote team are your employees and you should give them the same respect as your employees at your office.
Too often remote employees are taken for granted.
If this persists, you will no longer have remote employees.
When you are talking to your remote team focus only on them.
Close your office door to distractions and put your phone away.
What they have to say matters and it should matter to you.
12. Know the Workload – Keep track of what you are asking your remote workers and teams to accomplish.
- You do not want to pile on too many small projects and put your remote workers in the weeds.
- You also do not want to give them too few projects and have them get bored.
- You also need to know what your team leader is assigning to your remote workers.
- If they assign a large project to a team and you assign something else the team may quickly get overwhelmed.
- Be on top of what your team is doing so you can be sure projects are getting done in a timely manner.
13. Curb Conflict – Conflicts often arise in offices and they are more likely with remote work.
- Take the time to figure out what might cause a conflict and confront the problem head-on.
- Call a meeting with your employees to discuss conflict potential and see how it can be managed before it happens.
- Conflict can cause people to stop what they are doing.
- You want your projects to run smoothly and get done, so figure out conflicts ahead of time.
- In one of your daily meetings discuss possible conflicts and resolutions before they get out of hand.
- Make sure your team leader knows they can approach you about any conflicts they are sensing from the remote team.
- Help them work through the conflicts so the projects can be completed as quickly as possible.
14. Foster Community – community mindset in an office is a natural thing.
- With remote teams fostering a community can be more difficult.
- This can be accomplished by using the tools provided to your remote team.
- Take time to remotely wish your team members a happy birthday on their birthday.
- Acknowledge anniversaries, childbirths, and other festive occasions.
- Form a book club or other online activities that will help your team bond.
- Send automatic check-ins asking fun questions.
- Keep the lines of communication open and the community will form within your remote work team.
15. Coping with Change – Most projects will have their deadlines changed at least once or twice before the final due date is established.
- Be ready to communicate wisely with your remote team and encourage them to try and meet new deadlines.
- Just telling them about the changes sounds dictatorial.
- Emphasize with them about what this will mean to them and try to work within the team to find solutions to any problems that may arise from the new new due date.
- Maybe one team member is stronger in a certain area and can take some work from another team member.
Or maybe team members will need to switch responsibilities in order to get the work completed.
- Either way you will have to maintain an open line of communication in order to make sure the project is completed on time.
Managing a remote work team can be difficult and frustrating at times.
To learn more, join the Running Remote Conference on May 21, 2021, and you will be privy to speakers who will help guide you and make your work easier.
Running Remote is carefully curated to teach you next-level, actionable strategies and tactics you can utilize the very next day to manage and grow your distributed team.
Managing remote teams can be a challenge but if you keep communication open you will be on the right track to establishing a great remote team.
Guest Post contributed by RunningRemote.com – organizers of the world’s largest remote work conference. Focused on managing remote teams. Where experts teach you how to start and scale an office-less business.