While having a remote team is not traditionally popular, this trend is starting to take off with the quick increase in technology use. By the year 2020, 90% of all the data generated in the U.S. has been produced within the last two years. As by the same year, one in five Americans has become dependent on their smartphones, while more than 40% of the entire world has direct access to the Internet, according to statistics at Leftronic. With such wide access to online resources, maintaining a remote team becomes increasingly easy, especially during these times of continuous change.
With the pandemic striking so quickly, many leaders are now deciding to move their teams remotely and thus, have their employees work from home. Today, instead of interacting with their teams on a face to face basis, they are using new methods of online communication. While some of the leaders have gotten used to chatting with their workers on online platforms, others have had a harder time accommodating to the new environment.
If you feel like you haven’t been able to handle things as well as before, don’t freak out. That’s normal – you’re on a learning curve so give yourself some credit for it. Take things step by step and improve an aspect of your work each day. If you feel like you’ve failed your team, here are seven ways in which you can change what you’re doing for the better.
1. If you don’t have clear goals, your team won’t either
Remote teams are more challenging to handle than offline teams. Thus, you must ensure that everything is connecting well for both you and your employees in order for your company’s work to become efficient. Unfortunately, studies have shown that a lack of goals and well-set priorities can draw a team’s performance back and thus, keep it from progressing further. But setting common goals is not the easiest when all the members of your team are spread across the globe. So, how can you keep them informed and updated on goals, policies, and newly set priorities if they are working remotely?
- Ensure that you are specific enough. Make sure you let them know the specific deadlines for their tasks and set clear expectations. What do you want from each one of them separately and collectively? What do you want them to achieve and how much time do they have for it? What is the latest date they could send their projects over to you? What will you accept and what won’t you?
- Give them reasons for your expectations. Make them understand your WHYs. If you are expecting them to be done with a project in two weeks, for example, add the reason for it and help them look at the bigger picture. A successful leader will always be transparent with his or her employees.
- Put it in the wider context. After you discuss expectations, goals, policies, and the reasons behind it, ask them if they understand the wider context of the picture you’re depicting. Ask them if they understand or have questions about it. Be open to explore their misunderstandings together without getting upset or annoyed.
2. Becoming flexible is a must in a remote environment
As with any custom essay writing service team, managers must be flexible when handing work over to their employees. You cannot expect them to work specific hours, as you could in an offline setting. You must let go of some of your control over their schedule in order to help them achieve their goals. Being too rigid won’t get you anywhere – they must be able to decide when and how they want to work. Tracking their work hours daily and monitoring their activity every second of those eight-hour shifts is definitely not flexible enough. You want to leave them just enough room and flexibility to make their own schedules. This will bring them a sense of increased autonomy and thus, more productive results in the long run.
3. Communication is the key to absolutely everything
When you’re working in a non-remote environment, you’re able to meet and discuss with your employees face-to-face. These interactions are mostly informal and can be quite useful for your team’s progress. However, when switching to an online environment, you must be more flexible yourself. You must find online tools for communication and collaboration with your team. You must ensure that you check with them every (at least) two days and see how they are doing and how much they’ve progressed. Also, ask if they have any questions regarding the work that they’ve been assigned. The easiest tools to use are Zoom, Skype, and Dropbox. You can chat and video call on these platforms.
Tip: make sure you don’t overwhelm your employees with endless messages and phone calls. Set a meeting time once per day or once every two days to check with them. Let them concentrate on their tasks for the rest of their work time. Try to not interfere with their performance too much otherwise.
4. If feedback is not a priority, make it
Remote workers need constant feedback in order to improve their work and thus, productivity. Feedback is a helpful tool to increase performance and a team’s results. If you are struggling with this, here are some of the most important points to consider.
- Be consistent when providing feedback. Have your feedback days planned ahead of time. Make sure that your employees are aware of when they will be receiving it. Do it monthly, if you can.
- Coach your workers on some of the tasks in which they can improve and offer them feedback on their later work.
- Offer your employees suggestions on how to improve and where to make changes. If you choose to criticize them, they won’t take the information as pro-actively as if you’d offer recommendations on how they could improve.
- Accept the feedback yourself. Have them evaluate your leadership management skills each month as well and see where you can improve yourself.
5. Engagement within the team must become a must
Andrea Crawford, best custom essay representative and manager at Remote Team Inc., shares, “Engagement should be one of your priorities as a leader. If you are not engaging your team constantly, you’re doing something wrong. You are taking away their opportunity to learn and evolve through their work.” Here are some of the most relevant questions to ask yourself when it comes to active engagement – and how to do it better.
- Are all of your team members contributing to the work given in equal amounts? Do they have the ability to express themselves individually?
- Is your team attending seminars, workshops, and other online activities made for them? Are they actively engaging in learning? If not, why and how could you fix that?
- Is your team motivated to start new projects and take on new tasks OR are they feeling overwhelmed by the number of tasks they’re already taking? Why or why not? And what are some ways to fix it?
- Are your team members working well together or do they need more bonding activities? Are you working well with them or could you change something for the better?
Answer these questions carefully and come to a conclusion on what you must do further. Make a new plan and implement the newly established features and norms into action.
6. Make sure you recognize your employee’s qualities
Not recognizing the work that someone’s done (especially if bringing about really good results) can be detrimental to your leadership position. Ensure that, after reviewing your employees’ work, you reward them accordingly if they deserve it. You should encourage your team to succeed further on – and this is one of the best ways to do it. You could send them positive feedback or take them out for a virtual lunch even – whatever floats your boat! Just make them feel special if they deserve to.
7. Not using the right tools can bring about failure
There are many useful tools that can be used to improve your team’s efficiency and productivity. You should look into tools that offer services in online communication, project management, and file-sharing. You must ensure that your employees have free access to these resources.
Choosing to work remotely is a first great step towards success. Management needs to take the right steps to ensure that employees and the organization are all wired for success.