The number of people and teams working remotely continues to grow each year. It’s becoming more and more common for businesses to offer their employees remote working opportunities, especially in the world of tech. There are a number of companies that have entirely remote teams.
While remote working certainly has its benefits, it can be challenging when you’re tasked with managing an entirely remote team. The biggest challenge is usually to create a real team culture, which is much easier in the office than online.
To make this easier, we’ve explored 5 tips for managing remote teams by looking into ways to make physically disconnected teams feel more connected.
Make time for meetings
Regular meetings are a must. Depending on the needs of your team, they can be daily or weekly. If it’s possible then it’s a good idea to arrange face-to-face meetings at least once a week, for example on Monday to share what everyone is going to do for the week, or on Friday to summarise what happened in the week.
As with all meetings, it’s important that there is some sort of structure or agenda in order to get the best out of it. Meetings and no goal are one of the biggest productivity killers. So, try to stick to the same time each week and schedule meetings in advance.
Find the right people
As a manager it’s essential to source the right kind of people to join a remote working team. Self-discipline and motivation are key. Working remotely is not for everyone. While it’s a common misconception that working from home equals a distracted workforce, it’s important to find those who enjoy remote work and understand its speciality.
Having a few years of experience as a freelancer or home office employee is definitely a good sign when considering who to hire. But those who are new to the world of remote working can be equally as effective.
Be clear and realistic
Communication is without a doubt easier in person. Not only can you talk more often and sporadically, but people can interpret each other’s body language and mood. In a remote environment, it’s easier much easier misunderstand an instruction. That’s why it’s crucial to write and speak clearly while agreeing on realistic tasks and deadlines.
Your employees must know what’s expected of them day-to-day and week-to-week. Managers need to make sure that instructions are given clearly and tasks given realistic timeframes.
When working from home 100 percent of the time, it can be more difficult to determine a work-life balance. When does work end and when does it begin again?
Remote working can make it harder for your employees to disconnect when work is done. This is why it’s essential to agree on boundaries. What time do expect to be able to get in touch with each other? What time does the day finish?
It’s important to be transparent and if your employees are going to be required to answer messages in
the evenings or on the weekends, be clear about this. So long as you cover these points with your employees from the beginning, you won’t have any problems.
Working from home, generally on your own can get lonely. Office chats and lunch breaks are a part of the natural social interaction that occurs when you work in an office. It’s harder to feel team spirit and connection when working from home. The easiest thing to do is to use collaboration tools not only for doing work but also for fun.
Use tools like Slack where you and your employees can communicate freely about work and also about their other non-work things. You can create channels where people can chat about everything from their favo
urite Netflix show to what they got up to at the weekend.
As well as weekly meetings, it’s a good idea to organise team socials as well, where the team can catch up outside of the office. Of course this isn’t always achievable, especially when teams are distributed around the world, but for all the benefits of remote work, having face-to-face team building time is priceless.
Managing a remote team can be more difficult than a traditional management role, but when done right there are a number of benefits. For example, hiring internationally gives managers access to a global talent pool and in today’s competitive market, especially when it comes to tech talent, this is key. From the employee’s perspective, it gives them the flexibility they often seek. Using the right tools and keeping the above-mentioned tips in mind, it is possible to have a distributed team that thrives.
If you’re about to start a remote working role and would like some tips, read our blog Top Tips for Smashing your new Remote Working Role. Or if you’re looking for a new remote working role, get in touch with our specialist recruiters to hear about the opportunities we have available.