Due to the pandemic, remote work has become one of the most popular working methods. A remote working environment means that managers rarely see their employees face-to-face, which makes managing remote teams more difficult.
Some concerns with remote work include lack of physical supervision, lack of information, and finally, concerns about distractions and social isolation. While this is a worry for most managers, this article will help you to handle these issues.
The complete list
The remote work environment brings its own challenges, however, these challenges can be managed with the right leadership strategies. Below, we have listed the best strategies for managing remote teams.
15. Be culture-sensitive
By managing remote workers, you may be collaborating and working with employees from different cultural backgrounds. If you choose to work in a remote environment, you must be willing to participate in and embrace other cultures. Respecting other people’s cultures is important for creating a smooth working collaboration.
14. Create a structure
Having structure within the workplace allows communication to be more natural and effective. Scheduled employee check-ins allow the manager to see if their employee is overwhelmed or has time for more projects. In addition, it is important to have an established schedule when employees can discuss their questions or concerns with the manager.
13. Create routines
Having an established workplace routine maintains a smooth working environment. For example, having a daily meeting every morning where the manager gives an overview of the daily and upcoming tasks.
In addition, it is possible to include meetings throughout the day to ensure that employees work efficiently and also to avoid any problems encountered by employees. While these meetings are vital for an effective working environment, it is also important to note that shorter meetings are more effective in communication and problem-solving.
12. Focus on results
It is important to focus on results rather than an activity for increasing engagement among employees. To empower employees, you can let them choose how to complete the work. You need to clearly define the desired outcomes and then step back and allow employees to take control.
Instead of employees focusing on completing their hours for the day, ask them to shift their focus to completing the work effectively. To achieve these outcomes, set targets and deadlines along with scheduled meetings for effective work progress. Ensuring that employees know their role in the project helps project success and promotes high team performance.
11. Be flexible
Since remote work is a different environment from a physical workplace, it is important to remember that every employee has a different environment.
Some employees may have children, spouses, a private workroom or simply a desk in their busy home. It is the job of managers to understand the different environments that remote employees encounter.
One of the most attractive aspects of remote work is the flexibility it offers. Having flexible schedules gives freedom and responsibility, as long as the work delivered meets the company’s standards. Managers should be flexible about how their employees prefer to work and complete their tasks, and give them the opportunity to contribute ideas. The list below shows the percentage of employed people working from home in the EU in 2020.
- Finland 25%
- Luxembourg 23%
- Ireland 21.5 %
- Austria 18%
- Netherlands 17.8%
- Belgium 17.2%
- Denmark 17%
- France 15.7%
- Malta 14.8%
- Germany 14.8%
- Portugal 13.9%
- Estonia 12.6%
- Italy 12.2%
- Spain 10.9%
- Poland 8.9%
- Slovenia 7.4%
- Sweden 7.3%
- Czechia 7.2%
- Greece 7%
- Slovakia 5.7%
- Lithuania 5.4%
- Cyprus 4.5%
- Latvia 4.5%
- Hungary 3.6%
- Croatia 3.1%
- Romania 2.5%
- Bulgaria 1.2%
10. Recognise achievements
While it is important to accomplish the work according to the company’s expectations, it is equally important to recognize high performance. Since the remote work environment offers limited physical interactions, it is critical to use communication methods such as Slack or Zoom to recognize high performance among employees. For example, you could dedicate a Slack channel for employee recognition, which will create an encouraging environment for high performance among all employees.
There is no reason why success should be celebrated only for completing work to company standards. It also includes celebrating birthdays, team milestones etc.
9. Take advantage of technology
Since remote working is entirely based on working with technology while away from the workspace, it is important to ensure that your employees are able to work with it. This includes remote training specific to the use of technology and, for some, it also includes providing workers with better technology. Some tools that make a remote worker’s job easier include new laptops, webcams, Wi-Fi and headsets. These are critical tools that enable faster and more productive work.
Here are a few specific project management tools:
- ClickUp. A project management tool that includes communication, task assignment, and up-to-date status. Read more about ClickUp
- Basecamp. A communication tool to help manage teams and keep everyone up to date. Read more about Basecamp
- Asana. This platform is used to organize teams and improve team collaboration, as well as to track your progress. Read more about Asana
- Slack. It is a messaging program used for colleagues to communicate in groups or individually. Read more about Slack
See other best Project Management Software
Not all tools are necessarily expensive. For example, tools like Zoom, Google Hangouts and Microsoft Teams create a better communication environment when used on a daily basis.
8. Emotional support
As you work in a remote environment, it becomes difficult to see the emotional challenges your employees may experience. It is important to assist with empathy when providing emotional support. Show your employees that if they have emotional problems, then they can come to you.
Sometimes, as a manager, you can be the source of emotional stress. To avoid this, communicate with employees only during working hours to help establish a boundary between work and home. With a manager who understands emotional stress and work stress, employees feel that their personal concerns are important. It is critical to listen to your employees because stress will affect their work.
7. Encourage social interaction and opportunities for collaboration
Encouraging social interaction and collaboration can be done through remote team-building activities. An example of encouraging social interaction is planning nonwork-related Zoom meetings for socialization and conversations.
By creating opportunities for collaboration and social interaction, you combat social isolation, since remote teams are virtual only. A good practice could be to incorporate coffee breaks for 15 minutes on days when employees join the Zoom meeting for conversation and relaxation. This is a great way to build community and learn more about your colleagues.
6. Include all: Equality
It is vital to treat all employees equally, as each worker is equally important in their role. By including everyone, you make everyone feel as if they have an essential role and are part of the team as a whole.
When you and some team members have decided to take a course of action and some employees were not present, it is important to notify them about it and to let them know their responsibilities. This allows them to feel that they are important to the team.
5. Check in with employees
For better communication between managers and their employees, it is important to schedule daily check-ins. With all the advantages that technology offers, these check-ins can include emails, text messages and video call meetings. This makes up for the lack of face-to-face communication that employees are used to.
Scheduled check-ins provide an opportunity for employees to express how they are coping with the work and also to voice their concerns. Communication provides you with an opportunity to track employee productivity and helps to create structure in the work environment.
4. Give feedback
It is important to have one-on-one conversations with employees where you, as a manager, provide both formal and informal feedback. This continuous feedback is vital for improving the performance level of employees. Since the remote work environment prevents employees from seeing how others are doing, it prevents them from seeing ways to improve their work.
Feedback is not limited to specific projects, but can also include expectations, goals, declines and how they do in their role in the company. It is important to provide this feedback thoughtfully, like a mentor rather than an annoyed teacher.
3. Set clear expectations and responsibilities
Before starting a new project or assigning work to an individual, it is important to set clear expectations about what must be achieved. In this process, you can provide guidelines, set expectations and boundaries. You need to clarify rules and answer questions that may arise during the project. To set clear expectations, you should outline each member’s responsibilities.
One of the clear expectations that employees need to be aware of is the company’s values. It is the managers’ job to help employees understand the company’s mission, and while working remotely, it is still vital that employees understand these values.
Trust is one of the most important aspects of managing remote teams. It is essential to be consistent with communication and to communicate with your manager only when necessary for a trusting relationship. Collaboration between team members and increased work productivity is facilitated through trust.
Communication is essential for team tasks, responsibilities, and results. Since the remote work environment is not a fixed physical environment where colleagues meet face-to-face, it is important to maintain communication, as all workers have separate tasks.
While it is valuable to maintain communication with colleagues, it is also important to maintain this communication with your manager. Since the manager oversees all tasks, he/she must maintain healthy communication between all employees to ensure that everything works accordingly.
Although the list consists of many practices, it is important to note that each practice is equally important and each practice affects the other ones. Without communication, there is no productivity monitoring, and without productivity monitoring, there will be no trust among workers as some fail to be productive.
While it is important for managers to follow each of these practices, it is also important for employees themselves to follow these practices as well. Adopting the practices described above will result in a smooth working environment and effective team productivity.