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.
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.
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.