Remote work is the future. It became clear in 2020 when the whole world was on lockdown, looking for ways to keep the business going. It seemed impossible, but it worked. The major crisis was averted because remote teams worked as efficiently as they did in the office.
The situation made a few things clear. First, leaders require special skills to be effective in managing and building remote teams. Second, working from home is nothing similar to the office environment. At home, employees may be easily distracted and less focused but more relaxed.
So, how can you as a team lead manage and motivate them at a distance? Obviously, you need certain leadership skills, technology, and a work routine to set up the process.
Given the rising interest in remote jobs, Develux, a company dedicated to promoting freedom from the typical constraints of corporate environments, decided to share its approach to managing and building remote teams.
If you find the topic relevant, here are a few useful tips to get inspired.
Ensure Every New Employee Receives a Quality Onboarding
When you hire someone to work remotely, you need to make sure this person blends into the corporate culture. The new employee should get into the matter of the processes as quickly as possible. This can be achieved only if they are properly onboarded.
Thus, as a team lead or a manager, you need to ensure that every new employee is satisfied with the process. Given the remote nature of their job, they won’t be able to ask questions in a live mode. Thus, such employees should have mentors to address when needed.
In addition, the whole education process should be as similar to the traditional hiring and onboarding as possible. The more welcomed new employees feel, the better they fit into the team.
Communicate with the Team
Communication builds teams. It creates collaboration. No matter whether your team works remotely or in the office, it’s the collaboration that enables them to reach common goals.
Thus, as a leader of a remote team, you should over-communicate, ask questions, encourage them to talk. The more, the better. Effective communication makes sure the messages are correct and well-heard.
Speak clearly and respectfully. Leave all hints behind. People should have all the information they need to complete the task.
Encourage Technology Use
If you wonder how to manage remote teams, no worries. The tools are already designed and tested by millions of companies.
Once you’ve built a remote team, you need to make sure all members are connected. This is easy if you use tools like Zoom, Trello, and Jira. You need to pick up the technology that would meet your needs the best.
Encourage your remote workers to use other tools and technologies that can boost their performance and save them from tons of manual work. Automate processes for them so that they could spend more time actually adding value.
However, when considering software, make sure it is easy to understand and has a user-friendly interface. Remote workers will spend most of their time in the program. So, it’s better to run a test before integrating it into the working process.
Develop a Work Routine
It feels right when employees are empowered and free to be creative. However, it does not mean that companies should have no control over their work hours and job input. On the contrary, discipline and routine are what make remote teams successful.
Therefore, a team leader inquiring how to manage remote workers should establish regular check-ins. At these meetings, every team member should talk about their contribution and share ideas for the project. Such check-ins will help organize processes and set both short-term and long-term goals.
The requirement to connect with their peers daily will have a disciplinary effect as well. One can’t show up at the meeting having no results or ideas to share. A successful remote worker must keep abreast of trends and comply with the deadlines.
Focus on Outcome
Even though discipline is indeed important, remote workers don’t like being watched. Controlling them on each step of the way is not the best strategy for team building and management. Thus, put more emphasis on the outcome than the activity itself.
A dependable remote employee knows what they need to do and can estimate how much time they need per assignment. Let them build their working process the way they see fit. After all, all you need is the task to be completed by the due date. This is what you should demand and focus on.
Control File Submission and Turnaround
Again, to complete the task, every team member should have the required information available. Quite often, the success of one’s task completion depends entirely on a colleague’s findings. The rest of the team members rely on that information, too. To avoid issues, every team member should submit their materials and make them easy to access.
As a leader, you should control it. If the project is big and so is the team, it’s hard to do. That’s why automated solutions were developed to ease the process. However, you should always know who is responsible for providing the information as well as when and where it should be provided.
You work with humans, not robots. They have good and bad days, family stuff and home errands, problems as well as moments to celebrate. Remote workers are not any less human compared to those you used to see in the office. So, treat them accordingly.
Sometimes, remote workers may be late with their assignments. Okay, it slows down the entire process, but it happens, and life goes on.
Share those moments with your remote workers. Offer help to cheer them up. A time will come when they help you in the same way. Stay human and be empathetic. It’s the best that you can do as a leader of a remote team.
No doubt, building and managing remote teams is different from the office working processes. It’s not that difficult, but it definitely requires a slightly adjusted approach.
Whether you support remote work or prefer office, work from home is a well-established phenomenon and a part of reality now. If you want your business or team to succeed, you should know how to manage remote workers.