Today, roughly half the workforce is engaging in some form of telecommuting. With the rise of flexible schedules and advances in technology, remote teams have become a staple way of operating for businesses across a wide spectrum of industries.
In fact, increasing numbers of businesses are embracing remote work, particularly against the backdrop of the coronavirus. And there are other natural events that make remote work a necessity as well. Of course, managing remote workers has its challenges too. If you’re working in a sales or marketing role, you’ll want to consider the following best practices for managing your remote teams.
Get more best practices for management and other remote processes in our guide.
Engage with Your Team on a Routine Basis
Just because your team isn’t at work in the office doesn’t mean you can’t communicate with members regularly. In fact, it’s essential to engage your remote workers so you can keep abreast of their progress. And your remote team needs the opportunity to connect with you to ask questions, address concerns, or simply to share ideas.
If possible, schedule online conference meetings – whether one-on-ones or team meetings – on a daily basis.
There are many different channels you can use to connect with your team. If possible, schedule online conference meetings – whether one-on-ones or team meetings – on a daily basis. Use platforms like Slack that allow you to connect with questions or feedback throughout the day. These frequent check-ins are essential. Your workers will continue to feel part of your team and will feel better connected to your plans.
To successfully manage your remote team, you’ll need to ensure that reliable metrics are in place so that you can easily gauge the progress of each employee. This takes some careful consideration. First of all, employees who spend eight hours a day in an office don’t necessarily pull their weight even though management can measure their time on the job. Instead, you’ll need to rely on other markers to ensure that your team members are meeting their responsibilities.
You can build in metrics by assigning deadlines for various tasks regularly. You can make sure that your remote workers are attending online meetings and using prescribed communication channels to update you on their progress. Of course, you need to be able to trust your remote workers, but if they’re meeting your expectations and performing high-quality work, you may be sure that your system is working.
Build the Right Remote Team
The truth is, not every worker is cut out to work remotely. Some people thrive in the remote setting. They may work well independently and feel more confident without management breathing down their neck. On the other hand, some employees just don’t possess the independence or self-discipline to work effectively in a remote location. You need to be able to assign remote work to the right employees–employees you can trust to perform on their own.
Be clear about your expectations and find ways to provide each employee with the individual support they need to be successful.
Sometimes, as a manager, you’re simply stuck with the team you’ve got. In this case, you may need to train your employees how to work effectively from home. Be clear about your expectations and find ways to provide each employee with the individual support they need to be successful.
Focus on Goals
Some managers don’t like feeling out of touch with their employees. They don’t like losing the opportunity to keep watch over their employees’ activities. It’s true–with remote workers, you don’t have the chance to monitor your team or look over their shoulder. Considering you’re managing adults and not children, that’s really a good thing. Rather than focus on activity, just ensure that your workers are meeting their goals. If they’re getting work completed, then there’s little necessity for checking up on their every move.
These are just some best practices you can employ to effectively manage a remote workforce. You may need to adopt other strategies depending on your industry and the individuals on your team. As a manager, you’ll need to be intentional about clarifying your goals and ensuring that your team understands its daily responsibilities. With good organization and these helpful tips, you may discover that remote workers are actually happier and more productive than those nine-to-fivers trapped in their cubicles.