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The Ultimate Guide To Managing Remote Teams

The Ultimate Guide To Managing Remote Teams During and Post COVID-19

The impact of COVID-19 is far from over. In fact, we don’t yet know how far into the future the effects of COVID-19 will be seen. Some would say forever. Whether or not this proves true, one thing is certain: the shift to a remote workforce and the digital age is in a period of rapid acceleration. Therefore, businesses and organizations all across the globe have been making the shift to a remote workforce. With that shift, however, there are new workflows. New communication tools. And other new tactics that your company needs for managing remote teams.

First and foremost, with a remote workforce there are certain perks your company can use to their advantage. For instance, when managing a remote team, your company can utilize a much more flexible schedule. With employees at home, there isn’t as much pressure or urgency to get things done in a certain timeframe; and therefore tasks can be accomplished throughout the entire span of the day, and even into the night, without staff feeling overwhelmed.

A Decrease In Time-Wasters Improves Efficiency

Additionally, a decrease in “time-wasting” activities that only affected in-person staff improves efficiency. One such example is the commute to-and-from-work. Without a daily commute, employees are able to spend more time with their families and in their own home. This, therefore, leads to a stronger sense of work-life-balance, and a happier employee overall.

On average, remote employees are happier and have a better sense of work-life-balance, which usually leads to stronger performances at work. The mood of a staff-member directly affects their productivity, meaning that in the case of managing a remote team, your staff, on average, could have a significantly higher rate of productivity.

Understanding Expectations When Managing Remote Teams

When hiring or transitioning to a remote workforce, one of the core principles is to establish expectations. This is the same as it would be with in-person workers. However, it’s important to have a clear understanding of expectations from the very beginning when managing remote teams. While communication is important in every relationship context, it is specifically vital to managing a remote team. There is a lot of nuance to communication in-person. Between body-language and other non-verbals. However, most communication in a remote environment is non-visual. Hence why communication is so vital to managing remote teams.

Additionally, since many companies are utilizing more flexible scheduling with remote teams; it’s logical that expectations need to be set on both sides of the coin. These details should include things like time-commitment, weekly tasks, compensation, and everything else that would define the employees role and their relationship to the company.

Emphasizing Communication

As discussed above, communication is an integral aspect to any and every relationship. No matter the context. In managing remote teams, communication is more than essential. It truly is a vital aspect of successful teams working remotely. Correspondingly, then, it goes to reason that companies shifting to a remote workforce would want to implement business applications for communication. There are a myriad of business applications that your company can choose to use for communicating internally and externally.

Internally speaking, Slack is extremely popular as a part instant-messaging and part-email communication solution. Zoom is another company that has blown up astronomically since the onset of the pandemic. With global companies, domestic companies, and everyone in between needing reliable and consistent video conferencing capability; Zoom saw an unbelievable amount of growth in 2020, and set some records for themselves while at it.

There are many other internal communication solutions that you can implement for your remote staff, and even softwares that allow you to set up incentives for your team. This lets the culture of your company thrive even in a remote setting post COVID-19. Some incentive-based-softwares for remote teams are all managed by the leaders and decision makers, while others encourage and promote inter-colleague connections.

In other words, colleagues and co-workers can reward each other on a job well done with an internal currency that can then be redeemed for prizes, gifts, vacations, or even donated to a charity of the recipients choice. These are all great solutions to keep your company culture alive, and incentivize your remote staff to keep working hard and hitting goals.

Providing Some Structure When Managing Remote Teams

While flexible schedules and a stronger sense of work-life-balance are great; business is business, and work needs to get done. To help provide some structure to your remote staffs workweek or work-day, and to ensure that tasks are being accomplished managers and team leaders can schedule regular check-ins.

These check-ins might mimic the exact structure of a daily or weekly check-in that you’d conduct in the office. The only difference being that these check-ins occur remotely. Whether that be via a phone call, or a quick video-chat, a swift one-on-one with each of your remote workers is a great way to not only connect about work, but also get to know your workers and ensure they’re doing okay during these trying times.

Encourage Team Building and Team Bonding

Just because the world is shifting to a digital age and a majorly remote workforce, doesn’t mean that team members can’t connect and bond with one another. There are plenty of options for managers overseeing remote work teams who are looking for ways to bond the team. Some examples might be a virtual film-showing, or a remote happy-hour. Another popular choice is the remote pizza party.

However, while there’s nothing wrong with any of the above choices, staff and employees often enjoy trying something new. Being creative with team bonding exercises has gotten a little harder with the pandemic limiting so many options. Yet, where there’s a will, there’s a way, as the old saying goes.

For instance, Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) can be an excellent team-building and team-bonding activity. For starters, D&D is all about a group working together, and usually overcoming a few character flaws or group-issues as well. But beyond that, good D&D campaigns, or even one-shots, require the team to think outside the box, put together some creative solutions, and ultimately work together. All in the context of having a good time, and maybe a few drinks.

Use Project Management Tools

While there are some differences and adaptations to managing remote teams, there are some similarities too. For instance, your managers can likely use the same project management software or project management tools that they were using in person. Transitioning to a remote use of these project management softwares is really simple, and they are already built for it, making it an easy and simple transition.

Using project management software when managing remote teams will allow you to set daily and weekly to-do lists, and share updates on project timelines with the whole team.

Wrapping Up

The world is changing rapidly. The shift to a virtual age and a digital workforce is upon us. Many companies are already prepared for the remote environment. Many others are preparing for the shift. Either way, it’s important to be able to properly manage a remote work team and remote customers.

For more information on the shift to the digital age, or managing remote teams, visit NS804 today.

Must Have Apps For Managing Remote Teams

Managing Remote Teams With Must Have Apps

The shift toward a digital age has been long in the works, however, 202 has accelerated that transition. This is, in part, due to COVID-19 and the way that our society has shifted to limit person-to-person contact. As such, companies have had to embrace the digital age as well. This has brought many to adopt a variety of applications for managing remote teams.

As with any new process or system, there are challenges that come with managing remote teams. For example, one challenge that companies must address in managing remote teams is keeping communication channels open. Many companies have addressed communication challenges with multiple apps.

Solving Communication Challenges

Communication has always been an integral aspect of business. However, as the transition to the digital age continues communication’s role is becoming even more emphasized. One of the most popular apps in 2020 was Zoom. The digital-conferencing and video-calling features have helped communication lines stay alive across the country and even the world. Likewise, they’ve helped professionals in managing remote teams and staying connected both internally and externally. This is significantly important as Zoom has set a variety of user-records in 2020 with an astronomical growth spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic and the accelerated shift into the digital age.

Beyond using Zoom, Slack is another extremely popular application for communication. Slack works as both an email-replacement and an instant-messaging platform for internal business purposes. It’s a great application as it offers users the ability to create and manage multiple channels. Then those channels are populated by team-specific personnel. Administration can limit and control access as well, making sure that only the right people are involved in the right conversations.

Additionally, companies still need to successfully manage projects. Zoom is great for holding and hosting meetings. Slack is a strong collaboration and internal communication solution for teams. Trello, however, remains a strong project-management software. Trello allows for easy scheduling and tracking of project progress. This keeps everyone on the same page. Simultaneously, these three applications in concert makes managing remote teams easier.

The final aspect of communication that businesses and companies need to rely on is document sharing. While there are plenty of options for mass-document sharing, and file-sharing solutions one of the most prominent is the Google-Docs Suite. Using Google Docs, professionals can share access to important files like proposals, and presentations, spreadsheets, and any type of document you might need to create.

Wrapping Up

The application industry has taken off during 2020. Specifically, this is because of the reliance that the business community has had on communication solutions. Zoom is an extremely popular video-conferencing software that businesses use to conduct video-calls, Slack is a great collaboration tool for internal teams. Meanwhile, Trello and Google Suites tackle the project-management and file-sharing aspects of managing remote teams.

In addition to keeping communication channels wide open and operating smoothly, there are even more applications that managers and team-leaders can use to promote team-bonding and team building. One great example of this is using Dungeons and Dragons as a team-building exercise. And with the development of Roll20, even this can be taken remote.

Of course, even beyond all of these solutions, custom apps are still widely in use as well. For more information on managing remote teams and communication solutions, visit NS804 today.