Leading a remote team is becoming a key management skill
If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that being remote work-ready is a vital skill for teams and managers. As the pandemic took hold, more and more companies needed to operate remote teams across the world, and there was little in the way of time to prepare, or guidance on best practices.
Leading from a remote position is no easy task, but there are ways to maximize effectiveness. To prepare, it’s important to ask yourself some relevant questions: How can I truly manage my team without being face to face? How can we effectively communicate without the drop-ins and meetings? Do we have the right software and infrastructure in place to enable us to succeed?
At DRMcNatty, we are experts in helping organizations get remote-ready, through our market-leading cloud solutions. As we look forward to 2021 and all it might bring, now is the ideal time to explore how to get the most out of remote teams in the coming year.
Remote work has become part of everyday life
The benefits of remote teams
There are myriad benefits to having a remote team, ranging from productivity and location independence all the way through to having the widest pool of candidates to pick from.
The productivity of team members is a major consideration for any manager. The good news is that remote employees can deliver a greater level of productivity given the right tools and support. Being able to complete tasks at a time that suits them means that remote workers are working at their best without fear of other distractions. Furthermore, the chunk of time wasted on commuting is recovered when working from a remote location. Less wasted time makes for far happier team members.
Is the daily commute a thing of the past?
A global workforce means a global response
Another benefit of a remote work model is the ability to hire employees from around the globe. This gives you access to the broadest range of skill sets, and by having team members in various time zones around the world, you are essentially able to offer 24/7 support and communication to your clients.
The best choice of candidates
Traditionally your choice of employees was limited based on their location and/or willingness to relocate. This put a significant limiting factor on recruitment. Offering up a remote position means that you can open the potential hiring pool to more or less everyone in the world!
Making remote teams work for you
Remote teams bring their own sets of challenges, so it’s important to take the right steps to make sure they work for you.
Thankfully, there are a few elements that you can put in place to ensure that remote teams operate smoothly and efficiently within your organization:
This is always going to be the most important factor when it comes to working with a remote team. 2020 could easily be re-titled ‘The Rise of Zoom’, and for all the bad that the year brought upon us, remote communication has become easier and more reliable because of it.
However, the tools of communication are only as good as the users, and it’s important to set out clear guidelines about how and when you expect communication to take place. It’s important to establish an agreed upon pattern that everyone can stick to, for example weekly reviews must be communicated by email to all heads of departments, ad hoc inter-team chats can be via Slack, or team members must be available for video calls between certain hours of the day.
By being clear with your company guidelines from the start, it ensures that no vital lines of communication are broken. Projects will benefit as a result.
Keeping open the lines of communication with your teams is incredibly important
Mix up how you communicate
Linked with the last suggestion, don’t rely on one method of communication with your teams. When it comes to weekly team meetings, nothing beats a video conference. These are far superior to a conference call because you can actually see each other and share vital information on-screen.
Furthermore, don’t just rely on emails for text communication. Instant messaging is a quick replacement for dropping by someone’s desk to ask a quick question. In the same way that we use the likes of WhatsApp in our personal lives, Slack/Teams/Google Chat are great ways to get a quick answer.
Don’t miss one to one chats
With so many mass meetings in the diary, it can be easy to forget about the individuals within your teams. It’s even more important to talk with a team member one-on-one when working remotely than it is when co-located in an office.
Employees value individual conversations with their managers, so a regular catch up can do wonders for morale, as well as ensuring that any potential issues are dealt with swiftly.
Taking time to have 1-1 chats is a valuable exercise
Trust your teams
One of the major sticking points for managers when moving to a remote work model is the need to have trust in employees to deliver. After all, the majority of the time, you’ve lost your vision into your team’s working day.
This is where it can be tempting to get into micromanaging your team, checking in on every little thing that they’re doing, but it’s important to avoid the temptation as this will only lead to an unproductive, demotivated workforce.
Instead, take the leap and show trust in your employees. Set clear, achievable deliverables, and then watch them be met. Remote project management tools enable you to check in on the status of your projects and individual tasks from anywhere in the world, so you can have confidence that your team goals are being met.
Build trust in your remote teams to reap the rewards
Stepping into a remote world
As we move into 2021, the time is right to fully embrace the benefits of running a remote team. Working remotely helps future-proof your business and frees up your employees to focus on delivery.
There has been a fundamental shift in the mindset of employers and employees alike towards the value of remote work. If you would like a conversation about project management solutions that can help you run your projects remotely in 2021 then get in touch with our knowledgeable team at DRMcNatty, who will help you embark on that journey.