Remote working or working from home is all the rage these days. Not only is it the trend, but with the sudden onset of global pandemic Covid-19, it is the need of time. Before COVID, a fair number of businesses worldwide were working with remote teams. However, since COVID, almost all organizations that could manage their work remotely have shifted to virtual business operations.
In this time of social distancing, where people are limited to homes, organizations today believe in hiring remote teams to stay safe and also cut down many costs. However, the management of many organizations is still not ready for the challenges that come with leading and managing remote teams.
Some of the most common challenges that have been reported by the managers of remote teams are;
- Lack of Face-to-face supervision
- Access to information is slow
- Lack of commitment
Being a remote team manager, if you did not have enough time to get prepared and face the remote team challenges, it could be scary. If you are one scared manager, we have created a list of seven tips to guide you to lead your remote workers.
1. Practice Daily Check-Ins
The first tip for a remote team leader is to practice daily check-in no matter what. Being a manager, your team members want to see you daily for so many things, from asking questions to giving feedback, you should be there with them. The daily check-in of a manager will increase their morale and make them more committed to their work. Make phone calls or face-to-face video calls. You can use Zoom or Google's Team Hangouts to stay in touch with them every day.
2. Focus On Communication
Communication is the key to success in any organization. The same is the case for managing remote teams. Communication with the remote team members is one of the biggest challenges the team managers face. The reason is that the remote workers are globally distributed with different time zones, languages, educational and cultural backgrounds. These barriers make communication slower than a traditional setup.
Being a manager of a remote team, make frequent communication with your staff. Arrange a specific time for a video call and ask each team member to participate. This practice will also reduce the sense of loneliness in working from an isolated home, primarily if the team is used to work in an office before.
3. Use the Latest Technology
One of the utmost responsibilities of a remote team manager is to keep his team connected. Remote workers are usually working from different regions, and normally they do not know each other, in contrast to a traditional office system. A manager should take full advantage of the latest technology and communication tools to keep the workers engaged, connected, and informed.
The Corona Virus has also affected the operations of software houses in Pakistan and compelled the management to communicate more than ever. Zoom, Trello, Slack, and Microsoft Teams are the widely used communication tools. It also uses these tools to get feedback from workers and digital agencies.
4. Be Understanding and Flexible
It is time to understand the real meaning of productivity. The whole world has come to a pause with the Covid-19. In the current environment, the people working from home are also stressed, and a lot is going on their side, which a manager might not know. It does not mean that you do not expect your remote workers to work. Of course, you should, but be flexible.
Instead of working from 9 am till 5 pm, give your team members the freedom to complete the tasks according to the schedule that suits them the most. Allow them to be more productive in the longer run.
5. Provide the Team with Resources
Just like a battlefield commander, never send his troops without required gadgets and training, in the same way, for a productive team, it is your responsibility to provide them with everything they need for work, especially the technological gadgets including laptops, smartphones, software, or access to paid communication tools as well.
Do not assume on your own that your workers have all those things.
6. Treat All the Members Equally
If you desire to lead a team successfully, it is essential to treat all the remote workers equally irrespective of their geographic location and cultural background. It is not wrong to say that a team's success somewhere lies in the members' morale also.
McFarlane says that" a manager should come with rules that are beneficial for both the company and the home-based workers. Settings up the mutually beneficial rules are essential for harmony, where everyone shares the burden equally. Also, never forget to compliment your workers. Each member should be appreciated for his part of work to ensure success in the long run.
7. Allot Time for Informal Conversation
The last tip to be a successful manager of a home-based team is to show empathy with your team members. Allocate some time for non-work related conversation. Arrange events like virtual happy hours or a meeting session. Give a chance to your workers to speak about themselves and their current situation. Also, share your experiences. Current research shows that those managers who practice this lead a more productive team. Use communication tools like Zoom for this purpose.
Managing a remote team is not that easy, especially when a remote team manager is not prepared. With the sudden onset of Covid-19, where many organizations have transformed their operations, the managers faced a tough time.
The above seven tips for managing and leading a remote team are very simple. With time and consistency, you can achieve more from your people, and your team and organization will both thank you.