Remote work became a reality for many workplaces during COVID-19, and many workers strongly want to continue remote or hybrid work situations. This new reality has left team leaders to figure out how to manage remote teams effectively. Here are some top tips for managing a remote team.
1. Use technology tools to communicate.
Texting and calling do not provide the features necessary for effective team communication, which can include a number of channels for different teams and subteams, video meeting capabilities, and recording and tracking features. There are numerous technology tools available that can do all that is needed, and then some. Just be sure to fully understand the tools you decide to use so that you can make the best use of their features.
2. Be understanding.
While the stress of the initial phase of the pandemic may have abated to some extent, some of the stress is still ongoing, particularly during a COVID surge when family members may need to isolate if they are exposed to or get COVID. Daycare and school can still be inconsistent, leading to intermittent distractions and other barriers. There’s no sense in getting frustrated or punitive when these distractions happen; nobody can help it at this point. A little understanding will go a long way.
3. Set expectations.
It may seem counterintuitive to set expectations and, at the same time, be understanding. Still, there should be guidelines for team interactions and expectations about the work that will be performed. Expectations give you a place to start and a standard to measure against, and you can still be understanding when unavoidable circumstances prevent your team from getting as much done as you had hoped.
4. Be open to different viewpoints.
Diversity is a given in today’s day and age, and it’s important to remember that different viewpoints benefit teams. The more open you can be in leading your team, and the more you and team members seek understanding, the better your team will perform as time goes on.
5. Consider a daily huddle.
Many remote teams will balk at daily remote meetings–even short ones–because they take up valuable time and don’t seem to accomplish as much as other tasks. Not only can a daily huddle crystallize the day’s priorities and what needs to be done, but it can also be an opportunity to cast a vision for where the company is going.
6. Check in with team members.
Given that remote work can be isolating and leave employees wondering how they fit in, a weekly or monthly check-in with team members can help a team leader make sure everything is going well and help to clarify any questions they may have.
7. Hire self-managers.
Hiring people well-suited for remote work can prevent many problems that typically come up with this kind of work. Given that a CV and video interview may not give managers the information they need, it’s vital to include tasks and role-playing in the interview process, as well as to ask about situations in which the candidate has worked well independently.
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