Six Tips for Successfully Managing a Remote Team
Managing remote teams is nothing new. Some managers have been successfully doing it for years. For others, however, the recent change from a centralised working environment to a dispersed workforce has come with its fair share of challenges. How do you effectively communicate and supervise team members who are scattered across Australia (and perhaps also overseas)? And how do you engage your people in your company’s purpose and mission?
Here are six tried and tested tips to help you navigate a successful course as a remote manager.
Kit Out Your Team
In a centralised working environment, it can be easy to take technology for granted. With a dispersed workforce, it is essential to ensure that every team member has the equipment and software they need to work effectively from wherever they happen to be. And a decent Internet connection, too!
Provide a Clear Structure
Successful remote managers draw their people together by setting out a clear framework in which to operate. This ensures everyone is on the same page from the start and stays there. It doesn’t mean micro-managing every activity; there should still be plenty of scope for individual manoeuvrability.
Communicate on Multiple Channels
Programs and platforms like Zoom and Slack have really come to the fore in the last year as people realise the benefits of virtual communication. For managers, regular video conferences can be a great way to gather your team and find out how they are tracking. Equally important are formal and informal catch-ups with individuals; some team members may find it easier to talk openly on a 1:1 basis.
Everyone’s situation is different. Some remote workers may have a fixed office space at home while others may shift from one location to another. Some may easily adapt to remote work, while for others it may be more of a struggle. A manager who shows empathy, understanding and flexibility can help each team member feel valued and encouraged to do their best work, their way.
Trust Your People To Do a Good Job
It can be difficult for some managers to let go when they are managing a team remotely. How can you tell how much work is being done? Well, there are (technical) ways for employers to monitor individual activity, but the best option is to focus on outcomes and trust your team to deliver.
Have Some Fun!
It’s always worth remembering that there’s more to work than work. Virtual picnics, Friday evening drinks, games and quizzes are all events your team can look forward to. They should have the added benefit of increasing individual engagement and loyalty to the company.
If you’re a remote manager, we’d love to hear your top tips for successfully managing a team from a distance.