How to Manage a Remote Team Digitally and Build Great Teamwork
85% of managers believe that having teams of remote workers will become a norm in the near future. And with the pandemic forcing many offices to embrace the option of remote work, the process has sped up even more in recent years.
But while remote employees can be an excellent way to expand the talent pool and strengthen your team, it also has its challenges. Virtual team building activities require a different approach than in-office team building activities, which is why managers will need to understand how to maintain a good and productive work environment with people who may be thousands of miles away.
In this article, let’s look at some of the most critical aspects of managing a remote team to help nurture an environment based on teamwork, collaboration, and commitment to common goals.
Create a Growth-Based Environment
One of the biggest mistakes managers make when leading remote teams is not taking into account their remote employees’ growth goals and ambitions. And because of that, many remote workers become frustrated, demotivated, and less likely to fully commit to the company’s goals.
After all, if a remote employee doesn’t feel like they have room to grow within the company, keeping themselves motivated and working hard isn’t easy.
Luckily, managers can resolve this by creating a learning environment where remote employees have just as much opportunity to progress. By learning how to lead a coaching session remotely, they can build a stronger connection with remote teams, translating into better work performance.
And at the same time, the coaching sessions can also have more direct benefits. By training your remote teams, you can use their newfound knowledge and skills to give them bigger responsibilities, potentially grooming the remote team members for more prominent roles within the company.
Over time, this can create a culture where remote workers can potentially either join the in-house team or continue working remotely but in a higher position within the company. And that benefits not just the employees but the entire organization as well.
Establish Communication Channels
Communication is a vital part of running a successful company. And it becomes even more integral when you are working with people who are not in the same office. Because remote teams can be scattered in multiple locations, you need to set up systems for both quick and more extensive communications so that no important details get lost, and individual employees don’t get stuck on their own with trying to solve issues.
The good news is that there are many practical tools for communicating online. Most companies (both in-office and remote) already know the benefits of using solutions like Slack, Asana, and Zoom. But you should also make sure that you make the most of these types of solutions, setting up chat rooms, group projects, clear assignment and responsibility structure, and a way for people to get assistance with any issues they might be facing.
At the same time, you should try to nurture a collaborative culture based on each team member being willing to help another. People should be ready to walk others through various issues, and remote employees should not hesitate to reach out when facing a roadblock.
One of the biggest advantages of working remotely is having flexibility about when and where you work. So, while you should still expect your remote teams to perform their tasks and participate in important meetings or other collaborative work, you should also make sure that you provide them with some flexibility that makes working out of the office more appealing.
Working remotely has plenty of challenges, such as a lack of work-life balance and a more challenging collaborative environment, so you should at least allow your remote employees to enjoy some of the perks, such as having a less rigid schedule and being able to plan out their day with more flexibility.
The key here is to clearly establish what’s needed from each employee and ensure that each requirement is grounded in an important reason. Then, once the basic conditions are met, you should allow and even encourage remote team members to make their own schedule and work in a way that suits their lifestyle.
You can be sure that your remote team members will appreciate you taking into account their needs and will be much more likely to stick around with your company for longer. Remote work is becoming a mainstream way of working in teams, so if you can highlight the unique benefits it offers in your company and make it part of your work process, you will have an easier time attracting top-level talent that’s working exclusively off-site.
Managing remote teams is relatively new challenge managers face, at least on a scale as big as it has become today.
But with a few simple tweaks in how you approach working with your teams, remote work can offer a range of advantages that make it a work environment that’s destined to become more prevalent in the future.