Being a manager is not always an easy task when you have a remote team to lead. Not only are you responsible for your team’s work performance and goals, but you also must strive to build a professional relationship with them based on mutual trust and respect. Hard to do when they are miles away from you.
While remote working is the ultimate work scenario for many employees and is a growing trend in many companies, it can be challenging for many managers to come to grasps with. As a manager, you may feel like you have no power over a certain situation or that earning a trust level with a remote team can be a challenge. If so, you may consider the below-mentioned best practices for managing a remote team.
Build a ‘Team Culture.’
When managing a remote team, it is necessary to have a clear vision of the team culture you want to achieve. Ideal team culture is one that is collaborative, highly functioning and communicative. Managers who can build this sense of culture will improve the quality, productivity and engagement of the remote team members and their work.
It can be done through a system of feedback, reward and recognition. Providing regular feedback, or simply saying ‘good job’ is a great place to start. You may also consider organising get-togethers every quarter to keep the team abreast of all achievements, make team news announcements, or holding collaborative team meetings through video or group chat. After all, people want to feel part of a group or a project but may not feel this working away from the team, so extra efforts are needed.
To manage your remote teams, you must communicate with them daily. You may also need to apply different or various communication methods, such as email, video chat, phone or web messengers. Using multiple communications for different tasks will avoid miscommunicating meaning, content and intent and can clear up questions or misconceptions quickly. Though it is necessary to keep communication simple and natural. However, don’t forget to engage in ‘small talk’ with your employees to demonstrate that you care about them on a personable level outside of the work realm.
Expect Accountability and Trust
It is vital to expect accountability with a remote team as it sets a clear expectation for remote workers but also establishes a level of trust in your team to complete their work without micro-management. To build these expectations into your team, you may consider writing work-from-home policies as a guideline, for example; emails response times, allowability of text messaging in urgent issues, and such.
As a manager, it is worthwhile considering these best practices to ensure you are managing your remote team effectively and achieving the most from them.