Numerous businesses today embrace remote work because of the many advantages it offers employers and employees. For employers, remote work is more cost-effective because it eliminates paying office rent and utility bills. It also offers employers a wider diversity of potential employees because it eliminates geographical boundaries, meaning they can hire professionals from different states or countries.
On the other hand, employees enjoy the flexibility and freedom that remote work offers, not to mention the savings employees have when they don’t have to pay for travel costs, parking, lunch, and other expenses that come with going to the office every day.
Yes, remote work has its advantages, but one has to keep in mind that, as with all things in this world, it also has its challenges. For instance, communication will be a challenge. Because each team member will be working in different locations (and probably in different time zones), remote team managers will have to develop better and more effective communication strategies to make the collaboration between team members more seamless.
Sure, remote work management is a highly challenging task. But it’s doable. As a manager, you must implement a system that will guide, nurture, and support each team member to set them (and, thus, your business) up for success.
Are you ready to take your virtual team to another level? Here are the best practices for managing remote teams that you should definitely look into.
Common Challenges for Remote Team Management
Before we dive into how managers can ensure remote workers are engaged and productive by utilizing the best practices for managing remote teams, let’s first identify the challenges with remote team management. Common challenges to remote work include:
- Social isolation
- Lack of structure
- Distractions at home
- Employee Burnout
Remote Team Management Tips
Adopting remote work can be challenging, but there are simple and affordable ways that managers can do to ease the transition. Here are the top tips for effective remote team management.
1. Set clear boundaries.
Remote teams need to have clearly set boundaries that help them manage their personal and professional lives. Because the team members work from different time zones, any messages, chat messages, or emails could disrupt someone’s sleep or family time. Discuss work schedules with your team members and show respect for their time. Respecting time constraints will help build positive employee relationships and help ensure seamless, efficient communication.
2. Encourage and embrace diversity.
It’s common to encounter cultural barriers when managing remote teams. Multicultural teams can experience misunderstandings and conflict that results in team division and disrupts work output. One way to successfully manage a culturally diverse team is to engage in team-building exercises that embrace cultural differences.
It is easy to recognize how people from different backgrounds are open to feedback. Encourage a culture of celebration, respect national holidays, and respect cultural differences.
3. Establish clear expectations.
Each business has expectations, whether working remotely or in person. Management must make their expectations of the workers clear. When expectations are made clear, this helps the employees stay focused and work together with management to achieve mutual goals. Make sure your expectations are clear, actively seek feedback and always remember to provide direction, so the team knows where to focus their energy.
4. Improve your online communication skills.
Remote working teams often experience communication difficulties when working on projects. With good communication skills, disseminating information with other teams will always be more manageable. Online communication skills are also critical. Team leaders should start the conversation and get to the point quickly, which will help all participants stay focused. Improving your writing and verbal communication skills will facilitate more effective communication in remote work environments.
5. Offer help when they need it.
Remote working can be challenging for employees because they sometimes feel isolated from the rest of the team. If one of them faces a problem with their work, they may feel they have to solve it alone, which can further worsen the problem. Hence, the need for managers to be available for their team most of the time. When management is readily available to help, communication improves, separate teams can function in unison, productivity increases, and solutions for problems are quickly found.
6. Conduct regular follow-ups.
One-on-one meetings should not only be about productivity monitoring. These calls can be a powerful way to keep remote employees engaged. They can help managers to:
- Assess the overall performance of the employee
- Collaborate with the staff member to find and remove bottlenecks
- Discuss plans for an employee’s professional growth
- Answer any questions they may have about the employee
7. Design well-documented procedures.
The remote setting does not allow team management to ask questions face-to-face or walk around the office to help others. However, managers can overcome these limitations by ensuring readily accessible documented procedures for everything. If the documents are stored online, ensure all team members know where to find them and how to use them.
8. Reinforce social interaction.
You will need to consider ways to ensure your team members are not isolated by taking full advantage of technology to increase engagement. Upwork presents one great idea for increasing engagement among team members. The remote working platform’s “virtual water cooler” called the Coffee Break allows employees to interact socially.
Another option could be to facilitate the creation of employee resource groups (ERGs). These groups are great places to meet new people, have fun, and learn how to make workplaces more inclusive and equitable.
9. Look into opportunities for collaboration.
Managers can encourage employees to get to know one another and to feel less socially isolated by finding opportunities for collaboration. Instead of having each employee work on a single project, find ways to encourage remote workers to work in small groups. Managers can also consider investing in remote collaboration software like Slack or Trello to make this process more enjoyable.
10. Plan remote team-building activities.
You can have virtual meetings with remote teams, and you can also do team-building activities. For example, the “two truths, one lie” game is a great icebreaker that allows everyone to get to know other members of the team while at the same time having fun.
Managing remote teams can be a challenge, so it requires you to remain open-minded and focused on the ways you can remove obstacles and foster collaboration. Most importantly, be attentive to the project’s progress and goals and the emotional well-being of your team members and their relationships.
Manage your remote employees by knowing their pulse. You can create a dynamic business environment with remote employees by learning the best tips and tricks. Remote working can make a huge difference in your business if you’re willing to put in the extra effort and help your team succeed.
Enjoy seamless remote team management today with ADMS!
Denver SEO and website management company, Advanced Digital Media Services (ADMS), is the perfect partner to help you implement the best practices for managing remote teams. A partnership with ADMS is a step in overcoming the challenges of managing a remote team. ADMS will help you create effective communication strategies that increase team productivity and nurture better collaboration. Break down barriers, facilitate collaboration, and bring people together, despite the distance. Ask ADMS how today.