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A Guide To Managing Remote Teams

Tags: work from home, remote working, blog

In response to the new government guidelines surrounding coronavirus (COVID19), many of you will be working from home, away from your teams, for the very first time. For managers, this means getting to grips with how to organise, manage and lead a team that is working remotely.

Whilst working from home has increased by 41% in the last 5 years, for most managers, leading a remote team is a completely new and, understandably, daunting experience.

To help with this, we share our four working from home tips and management strategies that you can adopt to help set yourself and your remote team up for success.

4 tips for leading and managing a remote team 

1. Scrums! Schedule daily catch ups with your remote workers

When working from home daily contact is key. Try to stick to the same time each day, and have some structured chats about how they are, what they have achieved, and what they have planned.

Ideally use video to communicate.  Make it the new normal.

Use systems like Whatsapp, Zoom, Gotomeeting, Skype, Microsoft Teams, to keep your team is focused and motivated.

Tip: Don’t underestimate how important a “how are you?” is.

2Manage the to do

Alongside your daily catch-ups, setup a collaborative to do list that drives your daily catchups.

Again, tech can help. Use a shared space like Trello or Todoist to aid communication and collaboration. You may also have space setup with your business like Yammer, SharePoint etc…

Tip: Ask them to think about barriers to success so they can flag them and you can support them.  This is just as important as understanding what they aim to complete.  This will help keep the team collaborating and positive, and most importantly, accountable.

3. Weekly Goals – Set them to smash them!

Ideally, everyone in your team is clear on what they need to do, but it’s fair to say that the coronavirus is creating in the very least a fog, a distraction.  What are your team’s weekly goals?  Are you and they clear?  Again, as for point 1 have a weekly video meeting to chat through goals. Ask your team:

  • What have they achieved this week?
  • What are their plans for next week?

This will help drive the daily calls too.

Other tech that’s great to help remote workers is online filesharing platforms such as Google Drive or DropBox. If your team are working together on the same document, use tools such as Google Docs so that everyone can access and work on it simultaneously.

Tip: Trust - In your daily and weekly catch-ups, you’ll have agreed goals and support.  Make your team accountable for their work. From then on, it is important that you trust them to get on with the job, only touching base at the agreed points and, making it clear that they should contact you, if they’re struggling to complete the tasks, or indeed with their successes.

Give your team this blog to read – it may help them increase focus and productivity whilst working from home.

4. Lead AND manage your remote teams

In times of unplanned remote work, it is important that you keep up morale by providing encouragement and support for your team.

Tip: Be mindful that, for some people, adjusting to working from home takes time, and as a result, your team may not be performing at optimal level right away.

Ask your team to read this blog with tips to put your mental health first.

Just because your team is working remotely, they shouldn’t change their working habits drastically. When working from home, it can be easy to work overtime. To help avoid this, encourage them to stick to normal working hours and remind them to log off at the contracted time. Looking after your team’s welfare is crucial, but when you are managing remote teams it’s even more important.

Read our blog about how to manage mental health at work for more thoughts and tips.

Tip: Celebrate weekly wins to create a sense of purpose.  How about also asking the team to call out great behaviours.  Can you use your company values to drive this?  For example, If you have innovation as a value, what can the team point to each week to demonstrate a team member’s innovative approach?

It’s during times like the coronavirus (COVID19) outbreak, where you will learn the most about yourself as a manager. It may be a challenge, but with the right strategy in place, you and your team will soon transition into working from home with ease.

We can help you find out more about managing remote teams and how you can support employees that are working from home during these times of uncertainty, check out our other blogs.

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Alternatively, we work with clients to help them find remote workers to join their teams.  Please get in touch with us today via our contact form. We’d love to help.