Have you ever typed in and Googled for “Managing a Remote Team”? There are over 290 million results with different ideas and tips. The truth is, leading a remotely operated team looks different for every company – it all depends on the culture and approach.
For example, some companies work 100% remotely, while others offer a variety of office and remote options. Some managers have complete confidence in their teams, while others use robots to make sure that each one works. Each case requires different methods. Let’s dig into tip number one.
Set Clear Expectations and Goals
Operating a team, whether remote or traditional, starts with establishing clear expectations. While everyone can have individual responsibilities based on their role, the entire team needs a set of instructions to help them stay on top of things. By documenting your values and asking everyone to agree to them, you immediately have a basis for managing distributed teams.
Everyone knows how to behave and the most important thing is to understand why we do what we do. Values also help our remote partners prioritize their time and manage their projects. After all, values help managers know when to do something or when to allow a remote team member to process something.
Set Clear Communication Guides
Communication is a standing stone of any type of team management remote or in-house. But running a remote team around the world takes it to a whole new level. All important discussions and decisions should be made online and shared with the right people. The most important aspect of remote work is that everyone should be willing to share information online so you can record how and why everything is operated.
Some developers, for example, have a Slack channel in which they document every bug and how it was remedied. Everything is explained in human language and it’s not very technical for all team members to understand. Sometimes it is hard to get the entire team in one place for a call. By effectively using an employee scheduling app for your team you will ensure that everyone is there when a meeting or discussion is due.
Establish Robust Process for Project Management
The nature of remote teams requires each team member to manage and maintain their own project, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t create structures and processes that everyone can follow. Most companies operate under a flexible project management system that is simple and gives team members the feeling of being able to take on responsibility. While this process is designed to keep track of everyone’s teamwork, it is not designed to tell people how to do their job.
Socialize with Remote Employees
Strong team relationships are about people interacting on a more personal level. It’s a lot easier to talk to coworkers when you have something in common. But how do you know? These conversations usually take place outside of the workplace. Since you can’t physically host happy hour meetings or joint work events, you can dedicate spaces for people to talk about the factors that are forcing them to stop working. To start, you can create fun Slack channels about food, music, books, and what we watch on Netflix. You can also jumpstart creative seasonal days where people train, discover, and share their insights with the team.
Hire People that Manage Independently
Leading a team remotely is much more difficult when the team member is unsuitable. Maybe they don’t follow the company’s values, don’t have the right work ethic, or just don’t have the skills. For whatever reason, a weak link can have a negative impact on the entire team.
Because of this, manpower is an important aspect of remote team management. How do you attract the right people, especially when you can’t meet them in person? We learned that standard hiring methods don’t work for remote teams. If you hire people from around the world with different work experience, you may not know their previous schools or companies. Traditional resumes and cover letters are useless. Instead, focus on traits that are important, and nurture a way to let your candidate show who they actually are.
The Price of Freedom Is the Responsibility
If you hire the right people for your team, managing employees remotely isn’t that difficult: people you can trust 100% are the people who value freedom, and people who love to take responsibility.