How to manage your team while working remotely
Running a business in today’s competitive landscape can be tricky. Especially when you are trying to run a game-changing team through remote management. But don’t stress.
We’ve consulted the experts and put together a complete step-by-step guide to mastering remote management.
Step 1. Shift your mindset
Trust us when we say we understand how you feel. The remote work revolution may seem new, unpredictable and scary – but it won’t take you long to get comfortable. In fact, you might be surprised to learn that remote management is not new at all.
Remote work was fathered by Jack Nilles, a NASA physicist who worked on communication systems back in 1973. Ten years later, remote management was founded by IBM, who allowed 2,000 employees to work from home as an experiment.
Today, 70% of the world’s working population work remotely at least once a week. According to Global Workplace Analytics, 4.3 million employees in the US work from home at least 50% of the time. By 2021, 25% – 30% of the US workforce will be working from home multiple days per week.
Naturally, remote management is here to stay. That brings us to our first piece of advice: shift your mindset.
Changes in the working environment are inevitable, but that doesn’t mean you are unprepared. According to experts, remote management requires the following skills:
- Clear communication.
- Project management.
- Employee mentoring.
- Organisation and delegation.
If those sound like the skills you need to manage office employees, you’d be right. Managers need the same skills for both office and remote management.
If you’re still stuck believing that remote management is impossible, you’re likely scaring yourself out of the new work revolution. Shift your mindset, adjust your habits and you’ll master remote management in no time.
Step 2. Identify potential challenges
The key to great remote management is to solve small problems before they become big problems. What sorts of problems do remote managers face? Here are the three most common.
Remote management requires clear communication and mentoring of employees, but what happens when a manager neglects both? It results in unclear expectations.
When employees have unclear expectations, they’re left unsure of what to work on, what quality is expected and how their work is beneficial to the company. This leaves employees chronically unproductive and burned out. Fixing unclear expectations is as simple as establishing a great training plan.
Remote employees are particularly prone to burnout. While remote workers don’t have a commute lengthening their workday, the lines between work-time and home-time become blurred.
According to data on US-based workers, 23% of workers report that they are burned out more often than not, while 44% report being burned out sometimes.
But don’t stress.
Burnout can easily be managed by good communication and management, a healthy work-life balance and setting clear goals for team members.
Bad communication is bad news. Communication that is inefficient can lead to frustration, confusion and misunderstandings between team members (and management). Eventually, bad communication will result in one thing: an unproductive team with low morale.
Thankfully, bad communication can easily be fixed by great remote management.
Step 3. Establish regular communication channels
Maintaining great communication is an integral part of remote management. To facilitate great communication, you will need to establish a series of communication channels that meet different needs.
Communication channels are simply places where your remote team comes together and shares their progress. Here are two forms of communication channels you need.
An instant messaging channel is essential for fast communication with every member of the team. A great instant messaging app allows you to host one-on-one chats, group chats and allows you to share files, send photos and connect with video conferencing software.
For this reason, we love the following platforms:
- Google hangouts
- Microsoft teams
- Rocket Chat
Video conferencing software is also essential for great remote management, as it allows you to host meetings with ease. Some popular video meeting spaces include Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts and Jabber.
Once you’ve established set communication channels, you’ll need to facilitate regular team communication. There are four main types of meetings used in remote management, including:
- Stand-ups. Standups are short sessions lasting 15 – 20 minutes where team members share their progress with each other.
- Directed meetings. Directed meetings are project-driven meetings called for a specific purpose.
- Friday wind-downs. Friday wind-downs are designed to strengthen the bond between team members.
- Town halls. Town-halls are meetings where employees can raise issues with management.
Trust us, great meetings are the secret to great remote management.
Step 4. Manage your digital workspace
Remote managers need to juggle teams they can’t see, hear or speak to in-person – so how do they do it? Digital workspaces.
Digital workspaces are project management tools that track the workflow, goals and output of remote employees from a centralised location. Some classic examples include Trello, Monday.com, Asana and Airtable.
Of course, digital workspaces need to be overseen and managed to be effective. Here, the role of the remote manager is to keep the team focused on the project and problem-solve the inevitable hiccups that appear along the way.
The remote work environment is freeing for many managers, but encountering small problems as a remote manager is like healing a sports injury – you’ll only make it worse if you ignore it.
When encountering problems, we like the 5-step problem-solving process.
- Define the problem.
- Brainstorm solutions.
- Pick a solution.
- Implement the solutions.
- Review the results.
Image via Humor That Works
Remote management: the realbookies difference
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