Last Updated on 21 May 2023
Remote work has become increasingly popular in recent years, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated this trend. According to a study by Global Workplace Analytics, remote work has grown by 173% since 2005. While remote work offers numerous benefits, it also presents challenges, particularly when it comes to managing a remote team effectively. In this ultimate guide, we’ll explore the best practices for remote people management to help you lead a successful remote team.
1. Build Trust
Trust is the foundation of any successful relationship, and it’s even more important when managing remote employees. When you can’t physically see your team members, it’s easy to fall into the trap of micromanaging or assuming they’re not working. This can quickly erode trust and damage your relationship with your team.
To build trust, start by setting clear expectations and goals for your team members. Make sure everyone understands what’s expected of them and how their work fits into the larger picture. Then, give your team members the autonomy to do their work without constant supervision. This shows that you trust them and gives them the freedom to work in a way that suits them best.
Another way to build trust is to be transparent with your team members. Share information about the company’s goals, challenges, and successes. This helps your team members feel like they’re part of something bigger and that their work is making a difference.
2. Communicate Effectively
Communication is key to any successful team, but it’s especially important when managing a remote team. Without face-to-face interaction, it’s easy for miscommunication to occur, and for team members to feel isolated or disconnected.
To communicate effectively with your remote team, use a variety of communication tools. Email is great for formal communication, but it’s not always the best option for quick questions or updates. Consider using instant messaging tools like Slack or Microsoft Teams, or video conferencing tools like Zoom or Skype. These tools allow for real-time communication and can help your team members feel more connected.
It’s also important to establish communication norms with your team. For example, you may want to set expectations around response times for emails or messages, or establish regular check-ins to stay updated on progress.
3. Set Clear Expectations
As mentioned earlier, setting clear expectations is crucial for building trust with your remote team. But it’s also important for ensuring that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goals.
When setting expectations, be specific about what you expect from each team member. Make sure everyone understands their role and responsibilities, as well as any deadlines or timelines they need to meet. This will help your team members stay focused and motivated, and will ensure that everyone is working towards the same goals.
It’s also important to be flexible with your expectations. Remote work can be unpredictable, and team members may need to adjust their schedules or priorities at times. By being open to these changes and working with your team members to find solutions, you can help them be successful and achieve their goals.
4. Provide Feedback and Recognition
Feedback and recognition are important for any team, but they’re even more important for remote teams. Without face-to-face interaction, it’s easy for team members to feel like their work is going unnoticed or unappreciated.
To provide feedback and recognition, make sure you’re regularly checking in with your team members. Use video conferencing or phone calls to have one-on-one conversations and provide feedback on their work. And don’t forget to recognize their achievements and contributions. A simple “thank you” or “great job” can go a long way in keeping your team members motivated and engaged.
It’s also important to provide constructive feedback when necessary. If a team member is struggling with a particular task or project, provide specific feedback on how they can improve. This helps them grow and develop their skills, and shows that you’re invested in their success.
5. Foster a Positive Culture
Culture is important for any team, but it’s even more important for remote teams. Without the benefit of face-to-face interaction, it’s easy for team members to feel disconnected or isolated.
To foster a positive culture, start by creating a sense of community among your team members. Encourage them to share their interests and hobbies, and consider setting up virtual team-building activities like online games or virtual happy hours. This will help your team members feel more connected and engaged.
It’s also important to celebrate successes as a team. When a project is completed successfully or a milestone is reached, make sure to acknowledge the team’s hard work and contributions. This helps build morale and reinforces the sense of community within the team.
6. Embrace Flexibility
One of the biggest benefits of remote work is the flexibility it offers. But to take advantage of this flexibility, you need to be willing to embrace it.
To embrace flexibility, start by setting clear expectations around work hours and availability. Make sure your team members understand when they’re expected to be available and when they can work on their own schedule. Then, be willing to accommodate their needs and preferences. For example, if a team member needs to work a different schedule due to childcare or other obligations, be open to finding a solution that works for everyone.
It’s also important to be flexible with your own schedule. As a remote manager, you may be working across different time zones or managing team members in different locations. Being flexible with your own schedule can help you be more available to your team members and can help you better manage your workload.
7. Invest in Technology
Finally, to manage a remote team effectively, you need to invest in the right technology. This includes communication tools like instant messaging and video conferencing, as well as project management tools like Asana or Trello.
Investing in technology not only makes it easier to manage your team, but it also helps your team members stay connected and engaged. By providing them with the tools they need to do their work effectively, you’re setting them up for success.
Managing a remote team can be challenging, but with the right approach, it can also be incredibly rewarding. By building trust, communicating effectively, setting clear expectations, providing feedback and recognition, fostering a positive culture, embracing flexibility, and investing in technology, you can lead a successful remote team. So, whether you’re new to remote people management or you’re looking to improve your skills, use this ultimate guide as a starting point for success.