August 27, 2021
6 minutes to read
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At the height of the pandemic, remote working has become a necessity for almost all businesses. Now the lockdowns are over, but many companies have decided to continue working remotely. There are many benefits to working remotely, including lower costs and more productive and happier employees. However, if you plan to have a permanent, full-time remote team, then you need to be proficient in remote team management.
Managing remote teams presents different challenges than managing a team in person. As advanced as communication technology is, it still cannot replace face-to-face communication perfectly. Proficiency in remote team management can be achieved – Here’s how.
1. Communication is the key
A communication breakdown in an office is frustrating and time consuming, but when teams are working remotely, missed messages and misunderstood instructions can be catastrophic. A investigation found that large companies with 100,000 employees suffered an average loss of $ 62.4 million per year due to inadequate communication. Small businesses with 100 employees lost an average of $ 420,000 per year for the same reason.
Email assignment of projects and tasks may have worked in an office when employees could come to their manager’s office for a live demonstration, but in a remote environment this just isn’t enough. .
Having multiple communication channels and getting the most out of your company’s communication stack will help remote team members stay organized, collaborate, and get the feedback they need when they need it.
Related: 7 Mistakes Leaders Make When Managing a Team Remotely
2. Team chat and collaboration apps are essential
Team chat apps like Slack and Microsoft Teams will organize your teams’ communication into channels or threads so remote workers can keep up with the latest company updates on a particular project or department. Team members can also contact each other directly and, with most solutions, can further organize their direct and group messages into discussion threads to track progress on specific topics.
Some chat apps like Microsoft Teams and Ryver also combine team chat functionality with project management. Remote workers can use Microsoft Teams to edit documents and presentations right in the app, while Ryver includes a kanban-style board called Tasks that allows team members to create, organize, and complete tasks.
In order to get the most out of the team collaboration software you use, spend some time researching what features are available. For many popular vendors, a quick Google search for the name of the software and the words “power user” should bring up some useful documents. For example, Microsoft Teams offers an advanced search feature, the ability to save messages you want to come back to later, and keyboard shortcuts. Slack and many other apps let users customize notifications so team members can avoid distractions when they need to focus, but never miss an important message.
3. Regular videoconferences
For training and more formal meetings, video calling apps are essential. While they’re not a perfect replacement for face-to-face contact, there is something about seeing people’s faces that helps communication be clear and direct.
Due to the pandemic, we have all probably had an experience where we finally met someone in person who we had video spoken with several times. Most likely, you immediately recognized the person and felt that you knew them. Indeed, video calling apps like Zoom do a great job of creating an in-person experience that is almost as good as the real thing.
Some ways to use video calls to improve effective communication are to organize smaller video conferences of five people or less, eliminate annoying background noise, and create an agenda in advance. In addition, take the time to learn about the features offered by your video conferencing provider so that you can get the most out of your software. Some communication enhancement features to watch out for are screen sharing and whiteboard capabilities.
Related: 5 Tips for Aligning Your Team’s Goals Remotely
4. Cloud and mobile telephony solutions
A cloud phone system that harnesses the power of VoIP technology is an absolute must for remote workers and corporate communication in general. Enterprise VoIP is cheaper and infinitely more versatile and scalable than traditional landlines, but where enterprise VoIP really shines for remote teams is in mobility, with the evolution of softphones.
When selecting a VoIP provider to facilitate great communication with remote teams, some features you want to look for are Voicemail Transcription, Track Me, Mobile App, Voice Notes, SMS and (probably the most important feature for remote teams) reports. and surveillance.
When managing a team, it is important to set clear expectations. With remote teams, your employees need to know when they’re supposed to be available and when they can focus on other things like family. This is important for both the health of the business and your remote team. If employees feel like they are âon callâ 24/7, they will be more stressed and their mental health will suffer.
To avoid this, establish a structure in your business. Give your employees a free time for their day. Flexibility for remote teams is good, but you need to set working hours so that employees can communicate with each other and you can get in touch with them.
On that note, try to contact team members on a daily basis or at least once a week. It can be as formal as a video call or as informal as a message in Slack. Regular check-ins will help your remote workers structure their work and make adjustments based on your feedback.
6. Focus on the results
Micromanaging is a bad practice even in an office, but with remote teams micromanaging can lead to enormous unnecessary frustration for employees and managers.
A best practice is to set clear KPIs, hire the right people, and let them find the best way to achieve their goals. Research has shown that when employees are given clear direction on roles, responsibilities, and goals, but have flexibility in the process, they tend to ask for advice, collaborate more, and think outside of the box. more creative way in order to achieve the goals.
These areas all need to be addressed simultaneously, as there is a lot of overlap between them. For example, when the focus is on results rather than processes, there is more incentive to collaborate and communicate effectively. An intentional structure that includes regular (but not obsessive) check-ins allows managers to stay organized in their follow-ups and ensure that goals are met. It also promotes open communication.
If you make sure you focus on these areas as you transition to a remote workforce, you can experience all the benefits of a remote workforce without a painful transition.
Related: How To Sustain Your Remote Team