Company Quick Guide: How to Manage Remote Working?
Millions of people were working remotely even before the pandemic. But when lockdowns were imposed, a lot of managers had no choice but to manage newly created remote teams.
The number of remote workers is expected to rise until things turn normal again. That’s why it’s worthwhile learning new ways of managing remote teams.
Effective remote work management is no longer something that you should know on a surface level, it’s something that you must excel in.
In this article, you'll learn some new tips to manage remote teams effectively, and hopefully, these tips will make your job a heck of a lot easier.
1. Use Technology to Communicate Efficiently
Effective remote work management requires efficient communication. When all the employees work at the same office, communications are pretty straightforward. However, remote team communication strategies need to be well-planned beforehand. First, you need to find out the best tools that are suitable for your company's situation. For example, if daily briefs are short and simple, an instant messenger like Slack should be fine. However, if you’re constantly finding yourself typing huge paragraphs on such apps, then you need to use a video conferencing tool.
The next step is to create remote team communication guidelines. It could include the following:
- The days and hours at which team members are expected to send and/or respond to emails, for example, Monday to Friday between 9 AM to 5 PM.
- A set number of hours when it is mandatory for remote workers to be online.
- Designated contact persons and communication channels for different issues, for example, send a Slack message to Jane if there’s a delay in delivery.
Planning communication strategies ahead of time makes effective remote work management possible. Without it, there may be chaos, confusion, and information overload.
2. Lead With Empathy
People leadership is also a very important aspect of effective remote work management. And leadership requires empathy. If you’re managing a remote team, you need to see things from your remote workers’ perspective, too. If you feel like one of your remote team members may be struggling with a task, you could be right. The thing is, when a team member is not sitting next to you in an office, there’s no way you can see their facial expressions. So, you wouldn’t know when they’re affirmative and when they’re confused or frustrated. That’s why it’s best to just check in with them and make sure they have everything they need to get the task done.
Remember, you’re not just managing a remote team, you’re also leading them. Sometimes, all the hustle and bustle may make the best managers forget the importance of people leadership. Simply being good at using project management software to allot and manage tasks is not leadership. It also requires empathy and the ability to understand things from your coworkers’ perspective.
3. Have Faith in the Abilities and Skills of Your Remote Team
If you’re the type of person who makes team members sit next to you to ensure they’re being productive, you may have a hard time managing a remote team. When it comes to effective remote work management, trust is key. You need to firmly believe in your remote team’s ability to get things done from the comfort of their homes. Oftentimes, professionals who manage remote teams wonder: “Is she even working or just running errands right now?” or “Why did this small task take him two hours to complete?”
Having such an attitude towards remote teams is not very good for mutual trust and job satisfaction. It’s understandable that there may be some worries regarding a remote team’s productivity while managing them, but all you should worry about is the end results. Judge your remote team by the results they produce, not by the clothes they wear while working or how many weekends they work. Just so you know, there are times when staff members are not productive despite being in the office for 10 hours a day. And sometimes, they may produce exceptional results while sipping coffee in a local cafe and chatting with a barista.
4. Treat Them Like Your In-House Coworkers and Make Time for Small Talk
What would you do if it’s your in-house coworker’s birthday and they’re sitting next to you in the office? Surely, there would be something - a cake, beers, gifts, or just a big warm hug. Events like these bring massive positivity to the workplace and are amazing for boosting staff morale. Being looked after and appreciated is one of the best feelings a human can experience. However, when people work remotely, they hardly have time for small talk or activities that aren’t work-related. And these things are like vitamins - you only need them in small quantities, but they’re very essential for your health.
That’s why you need to have ‘small talk’ as part of your remote team communication strategy. Not only does this deepen the rapport you have with your remote team, but it also humanizes the conversation. So, instead of typing “Hi, I have uploaded the files now” in an email, you could change it to: “Hi, I hope you’re enjoying the sunny weather today. I have uploaded the files now.”
Obviously, you shouldn’t take it too far and maintain a professional boundary. But at the same time, you should never forget the human aspect of remote work.Conclusion
Technology has enabled us to communicate better from distance and this has made remote working way easier than before. However, companies must create communication guidelines to ensure that people collaborate effectively. One must also trust their remote team to work without supervision and avoid micromanaging. Small talk is also important when managing remote teams, so is empathy and people leadership. Always remember that you’re working with humans, after all, and even when they are not sitting next to you, they may have the same challenges as your in-house coworkers.