Managing teams has always been an important challenge in business, but managing teams remotely adds another layer of complication into the mix. It is very possible to successfully manage a remote team; it simply require the right mindset, the right tools, and the right amount of planning.
We discussed this with TechQuarters, an IT company and Microsoft Solutions Partner based in London. According to them, the business IT support London-based companies get from them wouldn’t be possible without effective remote team management – because they themselves are a fully remote business with a globally distributed workforce.
Challenges to Remote Team Management
Remote working often poses the same challenges to tishare managers as it does to employees – namely, the isolation can feel like a major barrier to communication and productivity; as well as having an emotional toll (because of the lack of social interaction). It can also be much harder for individuals working from home to develop a viable structure and routine, because they are spending their workday and their personal days (and evenings) in the same place.
Another common challenge to remote working can be the slowing of communications and correspondence. According to TechQuarters, there are a few simple practices and measures that remote managers can implement to ensure that their remote teams are not only coping, but thriving in their remote work environment.
Top Tips for Managing Remote Teams
Lead by example
First and foremost, a manager cannot manage their team’s workload if they are not first managing their own workload effectively. Firstly, you won’t be able to lead properly if your workload is overwhelming you – how will you make time to connect with team members, or feel questions? This will also set a good example for the team; they will be less tempted to take on too much work – as this is a recipe for incomplete and ineffective work.
Define Practices for Work
Developing agreed structures, practices and workflows is very important when it comes to remote teamwork. A remote team manager should work with their team to define best practices for the work they do, including checklists, workflow outlines, templates for documents and other content, etc. What is more, having all this information easily accessible, so that team members can access it autonomously improves the flow of work.
Make time for check-ins
As mentioned earlier, a big challenge when it comes to remote working is the isolation, which can result in less frequent communication between managers and employees. This is why it is doubly important for managers to make time to connect with the people they are in charge of. Even a 15-minute stylishster meeting a few times a month (or even once a week) can make a huge different. These check-ins give team members a chance to share their thoughts and feelings, and feel heard. This type of feedback is also valuable for manages.
Pick the right channels
Nowadays, thanks for the cloud and the internet as a whole, there are many more channels of communication available to businesses than there ever used to be. Different channels are good for different types of communication. For example, video meetings are ideal for regular weekly (or even daily) catch-ups. Chat is great for quick questions and spontaneous thoughts. Both of these types of communication are supported in Microsoft Teams, which is strongly recommended for use by remote teams. Other channels of communication might be platforms like SharePoint; when we asked TechQuarters, who are SharePoint provider, they pointed out that SharePoint is good for one-way communication – such as the sharing of relevant news or updates.
One of the biggest points – and perhaps one of the things that remote managers have been guilty of the most – is micromanaging. Checking in with individuals is one thing, questioning them about what they are doing throughout the day is not only unhelpful, but could be detrimental. There needs to be a level of trust between remote managers and their remote teams – as long as targets are being met, then there is no need to scrutinise remote workers.