Top tips for managing a remote team

Due to the current world circumstances, remote working, or working from home, has escalated rapidly. It has become an absolute necessity for organisations around the world.

As a result of this however, thousands of managers and team leaders have found themselves suddenly managing a completely remote team. That can be pretty daunting, especially if it’s the first time you have ever had to do it and were caught unprepared.

So, if that was you, don’t worry. We have a few top tips to help set up you and your team for remote success.

1) Have a Daily Check-In

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.

Add in the fact many people are practicing social distancing too and this is an even greater reason to keep communication as a high priority.

3) Manage Expectations

It is key during this time to help your team figure out what they should do, and create realistic expectations 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

It is just not possible to manage every aspect of work done by a remote team. 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 is very important to understand that, especially with the current environment, your team likely has a lot going on right now.

Because of this, it is also important to reconsider what productivity really means.

Clocking 8 hours a day right now is unlikely, as is maintaining regular working hours for many people, as they juggle this sudden collision of work and home responsibilities and caring for dependents.

So, it is crucial to trust your team and give them the freedom and flexibility 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.

How have you been getting on managing a remote team? Were you doing it before or is it a situational happenstance?

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