Published on December 18, 2019
Reading Time: 13 mins

People bored with their offices start to love remote work. According to the latest studies by Switzerland-based serviced office provider IWG surveyed 18,000 business professionals across 96 international companies for the study. 70% of people globally work remotely at least once a week while 53% work remotely for at least half of the week.

 

Chief executive of IWG Mark Dixon said: “If you offer workers the chance to work where they need to be, and not where they are told to go to, it completely transforms their view of the company, they are more productive.” 

What we are talking about is remote work is also more effective

Gallup’s report indicates that employees across various industries, who spent 60 to 80 percent of their time working remotely had the highest rates of achievement.

A comprehensive 2-year Stanford study offers some hard data proving that a significant productivity boost was reported among remote team members, while the turnover rate was decreased by 50%. 

People, who work from home may feel more comfortable than those who don’t.  They can plan their day easier. They can complete other tasks, such as going to the gym. Because of the extent of remote work time variations, spending some quality time with families getting more possible. All of which develop a more stable work-life balance.

It is worth to mention that remote workers also benefit from fewer interruptions as they don’t have to deal with other distractions, which is common in shared office spaces. 

As the benefits of remote work continue to reveal to employees and executives alike, more teams are disputing the best ways to take advantage of this new way of working.

 

So, here is our biggest concern: How to manage remote teams effectively?

 

Here are some simple but effective tips for remote team management:

1- Increase Your Team’s Communication

Communication has the main role in remote team productivity. 

However, it is difficult to communicate and create bonds with someone when they are simply not there. Considering the traditional workspace, a lot of communication happens in very informal settings.  

 

Asking a colleague about an email while drinking a cup of coffee, or chatting with an executive about a tennis match in the hallway is pretty natural.

 

In fact, these informal talks and random meetings are common and useful for your team’s stability and creativity.

 

“Creativity comes from spontaneous meetings, from random discussions. You run into someone, you ask what they’re doing, you say ‘wow,’ and soon you’re cooking up all sorts of ideas.”  Steve Jobs

 

Steve Jobs is unbelievably right. You should take communication seriously if you want to run a strong remote team.

So let’s talk about proven methods of remote communications: Video conferences, synchronized chat opportunities, and data transparency.

Choose the right communication style

Depending on your needs, choose the type of communication that works the best for you.

  • Email 
  • For quick interactions. You can also replace most email communication with other tools such as project management tools or chat programs, that’s your call in the end 🙂 

  • Chat programs  
  • Skype, Google Hangouts, Zoom and Slack are great for quick instant messages where you need real-time interaction.

  • Video Conferences 
  • Video conferencing and remote collaboration are now becoming widely adopted throughout all business world, recognizing the huge benefits it can now bring. 

    Video Conferencing and Collaboration tools provide a solution to many of the challenges faced, whether this is increased connectivity with team members, increased impact during presentations, finding and developing executive talent, gaining access to specialists or improving personal connections with clients and customers. 

    Video conferencing helps to improve communication and re-establish relationships. During a video conference, you get to see the body language and facial expressions of the participants. This leads to a more effective and faster collaboration.

    Sometimes It can feel isolating and abnormal to chat only with text and adding video makes your remote company feel more real.

    “Have your video on even during even casual/simple meetings. Enabling video goes such a long way to help everyone feel more together, communicate better, and trust each other (even when you’ve mastered remote communication).”

    Nikhil Nik Kundra, Co-founder & CEO of Partender 

    To-Do:

    Various remote collaboration tools are used to help communication and keep track of how your team is working and progressing, and all this helps remote employees focus on their work even more.

  • VoIP – Virtual phone systems centered on cloud technology that allows for quick and easy calling, messaging, and task management. It also typically comes equipped with dozens of call functions to make the calling experience as smooth as possible.
  • Project management tools – These keep your communication a lot more organized and so that you are able to reference it and refer to it later on. Or perhaps when people join the company they can see the previous discussion points.
  • Creating a short video – It’s very easy to create a video of yourself on YouTube using your webcam, or using a screen capture tool such as Jing.
  • 2- Establish Data Transparency Among The Team

    Remote employees need a chance to not only connect with their co-workers, but also with the company as a whole. 

    The best way to do this is by giving all of your workers (remote and in-office) access to company KPIs. When team members all feel more informed and involved, studies suggest that they put more effort into their work and deliver better results. 

    Data, proper analytics, and related reports are crucial for making good business decisions in today’s world. But even the most actionable and remarkably useful data is a waste if the proper parties are not making use of it. 

    Particularly when it comes to separate departments and decision-makers, if both never see relevant data, then the investment made to collect the data is wasted dollars. For example, one team might have a completely different use for datasets, after interpreting it for their own work and responsibilities. They might be able to extract completely different insights that are either just as useful or more so, in the context of their work. 

    Financial and accounting departments may look at performance and sales data and see a way to decrease spending, while the product development team may see an opportunity to improve existing products or services but that won’t ever happen if they’re not seeing the data at all.

    Data transparency creates a culture of openness and helps your team to feel more integrated with the company mission and goals. 

    Remember, there’s nothing more motivating than seeing how your actions directly affect the results.

    3- Set Up Goals On The Track

    If you set your goals in the right way, employees can track their progress without getting lost between the duties.

    Remote teams tend to be result-oriented, and need clear deliverables within their work. 

    To- Do: Setting SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely) can work for you for the best results. Plus, it lets you and your team both be on the same page.

    4- Measure The Progress 

    The traditional office model allowed managers to keep track of employees and follow up easily often during the workday. However, when your employees work remotely, this task becomes a bit more complicated.

    Learning how to manage from afar and still be effective is one of the most important factors in a productive team. Knowing when to back off and when to stay involved- and how much- can be a touchy subject. As most managers will tell you, finding the right balance between holding people accountable, and being annoying is tough.

    While minimal check-ins can work for some teams, it most often leaves people feeling isolated and unimportant to the team workflow. Not being able to connect regularly as an entire team can throw some people out of the loop, and ultimately lead to miscommunication. 

    Don’t Let Your Management Become A Micromanagement

    Being a control freak with a remote team can quickly lessen the motivation and productivity of your team. Independence and decision making skills are vital to remote workers. 

    Checking their every move eats up that trust and will lead to disengaged teams.

    To- Do: Support your team and let your team members feel like they can share problems with you whenever they need to. Set up a regular time that works to spend time with people and follow up on goals and projects. Stay involved by having a face-to-face meeting if possible, manage any situation before it is too late.

    5- Give Positive Feedback When It Is Needed

    Everyone knows that feedbacks are important but what doesn’t happen often is, recognizing achievements when they are well earned.

    People love positive feedback and recognition of their achievements. It is a part of human psychology. 

    Taking the time to make employees feel appreciated is much more important than just an ego boost, they deserve that.

    However, it’s easy to get battered by the daily stress of the duties, that we often forget to recognize those who are doing a great job at work. This should be a big concern for executives. 

    To-do: Genuine, timely, and constructive feedback is crucial for building healthy working relationships.  

    6- Allow a Degree of Flexibility of Working Hours

    The key is also keeping some consistency while allowing flexible work hours. People working from home will rightly want flexibility with their work hours. It’s important to allow a degree of flexibility when managing remote employees. On the other hand, if things are totally erratic then it will be difficult to get a shared collaboration window when all of your team are online at the same time. 

    6- Organize a System for Communicating in Different Time Zones

    Time Zones can kill communication in a remote team. If members of your remote employees live in different time zones, then make sure that you have an overlapping period. It helps everyone to work and organize virtual meetings during these times.

    However, this might not be enough. Depending on the type of work you are doing, you may want to consider only hiring people in the same time zone or where the time is only 3 hours apart. Especially from within one team. Most teams need to be constantly collaborating to be more effective and a large time zone difference between team members might interfere with the remote team collaboration.

    7- Set Up a Meeting Rhythm

    You need to have a meeting rhythm. This means a regular meeting within each team and a meeting for the whole company. The exact frequency depends on the person and type of job, but I would recommend the following minimum meetings: 

  • A daily meeting within each team (quick, less than 10 minutes just to say hi and feel like you are connecting and to make sure there is nothing blocking each person from achieving their goals).
  • A weekly meeting within a team or a weekly one-on-one meeting between a team leader and each person on their team. This weekly meeting is a way to store up issues and minimize the back and forth email that takes place during the week and handle it all in one meeting.
  • A weekly all-hands meeting for the entire company. This should be short, usually 10 minutes to feel like your all part of the same team and to get on the same page.
  • Hiring New Team Members

    You don’t need to hire someone full time right off the bat. You can get a hint of their working skills by hiring them for a small project, and then if you’re happy to move on, do that.

    8- Face to Face Meeting Opportunities

    It’s hard to develop true friendships remotely. Meeting in person about 1-2 times per year or as often as possible is a way to create stronger bonds within your company.

    In conclusion, here are the key points for you: 

  • Use phone calls and video calls whenever possible.
  • Allow remote workers to own or lead collaborative projects.
  • Make your data transparent for your workers.
  • Set your goals on track.
  • Measure the process.
  • Don’t over-control your team.
  • Give recognition to the achievements.
  • Allow a Degree of Flexibility of Working Hours
  • Set Up a Meeting Rhythm
  • Schedule face to face meetings at least 1-2 in a year
  •  

     

     

    RemoteTeam Editorial Team

    Master remote work. Build virtual teams.

    Get free remote work insights and resources delivered to your inbox, once every week.

    Remote Team - An all-in-one HR platform for remote teams | Product Hunt Embed