Managing remote teams: top tips for success

Man wearing headphones and smiling at a laptop to represent the concept of managing remote teams

Recently, remote working, or working from home, has escalated rapidly. And for many, it has become widely accepted as the new way of working. As a result of this huge escalation, however, thousands of managers and team leaders have found themselves suddenly managing remote teams. That in itsself can be pretty daunting, but take with that the fact that for many, it may this may be a completely unfamiliar role.

Having even a few pointers can make all the difference, giving managers a solid base to build upon, and provide a kick start to their remote leadership role.

1) Have a Daily Check-In

When it comes to managing remote teams, staying connected can make all the difference. We recommend having a face-to-face video conversation in small groups or as a team. Your team needs to see you, and you need to see them.

The great news is that there are some great platforms like Zoom or Microsoft Teams that makes this pretty easy to do.  

At first, make this a priority every day, then you can find a rhythm that suits you and your team. Keep it simple and keep that dialogue open.

2) Communicate Often

It is probably stating the obvious to say you should be having regular communication with your team, but we are going to say it anyway.

One of the hardest things about working from home, or remotely, especially if you are used to the bustle of an office environment, is the potential sense of loneliness and isolation that can set in.

Factoring this in when managing a remote team can safeguard yours, and your team’s well being, and ensure everyone in your team feels happy and safe at work.

3) Manage Expectations

Managing expectations helps your team figure out what they should do, and create realistic goals and outcomes for their work. That management of expectations applies to you too.

Set yourself and your team up for success by clearly explaining tasks and the reasons behind them, while also helping your team to understand exactly how you are going to measure their successes.

That means defining the scope, deliverables and deadlines for each of the tasks your team is working on. This way, everyone is clear on the focus and direction they should be taking. 

4) Focus on Outcomes, Not Activity

When it comes to managing remote teams, it is just not possible to manage every aspect of work done. Similarly, you shouldn’t really be trying to manage every aspect of any team, but especially when you have a team that is distributed across different locations.

Instead of over-focusing on ‘seen’ activity, or hours worked, focus instead on the outcomes produced by your team and measure them accordingly.

5) Be Flexible

It’s important to reconsider what productivity really means.

Clocking in 8 hours a day or maintaining regular working hours may not be feasible for many people, so it’s essential you allow scope for flexibility to suit people’s needs.

Trust your team and give them the freedom to get work done on the schedule that helps them be the most productive. That’s good practice for your team in the long run, too.

So, there you have it. 5 tips to help managers manage from afar. Managing remote teams may need a little rethinking, but when done well it can revolutionise the way your team works.

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