Managing Remote Teams Successfully: Essential Advice from Our Nearshoring Experts
Covid-19 has been a turning point for just about all industries—especially when it comes to approaching team management. If there’s a silver lining to the coronavirus pandemic, it’s the momentum it gave to remote work as a viable alternative to in-office teams.
Frankly, it’s cheaper and more efficient to allow employees to work from home. Remote work might not deliver the level of togetherness that conventional offices do, but it can come pretty close. In many ways, a remote team can function even better than an on-site one.
That, however, is up to a team’s manager. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the best ways to manage a remote team and keep it running like a well-oiled machine.
Set clear expectations and procedures
Don’t let anything get lost in translation after switching to remote communication. Set clear project roles for each team member with responsibilities and duties laid out in detail. All team members should know what’s expected of them for each task, and by when.
With this approach, it’s important to be outcome-oriented. Remote work may be a major adjustment for some people, so it’s key to remain flexible in terms of scheduling and allow them to log their own hours.
Your team should feel like you trust them. If they don’t, they won’t be inclined to give it their all each day.
It’s also a good idea to set parameters for communication. With people spread out over different cities and countries; holidays, working schedules, and acceptable correspondence times should be clarified.
You don’t want employees to feel bothered about having to answer messages outside of their shifts. Offering a certain amount of leeway will alleviate any pressure from receiving direct messages while off-duty, and will provide structure for the process.
Track productivity and metrics
Once your team is working online, it’ll be crucial to not let anything fall by the wayside. That’s not to say you should start micromanaging your employees, but staying on top of all relevant metrics will provide the data you need in order to make assertions about how your team is doing, who’s pulling weight, and who deserves recognition for achievements—which brings us to our next tip.
Great communication is paramount
When it comes to remote work, communication is the lifeblood of your team. Team members should actively be communicating with each other, and you should be communicating with each of them, too.
You can, of course, delegate the task of regular communication to department leaders, but you should be having an occasional video call with those directly under your supervision. Video conference, face-to-face communication fills the void left by not being able to see or hear each other, as you and your team may have been accustomed. In fact, a study conducted by Harvard Business Review found that 87% of remote employees feel a greater sense of connection when video conferencing.
On top of that, employee recognition is essential. Any landmarks should still be celebrated accordingly, and even minor achievements should be recognized and praised in a way that makes team members feel appreciated. This will ultimately reduce turnover rates, and help sustain a happy and productive work relationship.
Lastly, taking the time to get to know each of your employees is a great way to foster a more cohesive unit. Have the discussions and small talk that will let your team view you as a friendly manager, not someone who’s all work, no play.
A technique you can use to encourage bonding is to simply ask, “How are you?” This small gesture has great implications about who you are as a person and, more importantly, who you are as a leader.
Equip your team with the right tools and technology
Choosing the right collaborative software is key. It’ll allow you to streamline communication and work processes all in one place. And, since your remote collaboration software will be cloud-based, you’ll be able to access it from anywhere, at any time, on virtually any device.
Some of the best collaboration tools are Slack, Wrike, Zoom, and Google’s new version of Hangouts Chat. Once you establish your team using one or more of the above tools, you can set up channels or project-specific discussion rooms, where selected members can collaborate using a variety of features.
Promote the organization’s work culture
In addition to being a work collaboration tool, your platform of choice is also a great way to support and maintain company culture. For example, you could have a chat room like #watercooler, where team members can share non-work related things like pictures, articles, and generally shoot the breeze.
Remote teams must also keep sight of broad-spectrum company goals and values. For instance, if volunteering, canned food drives, or any efforts to go green were part of your company culture before the shift to online work, be sure to echo their importance and maintain a level of support for those causes.
Get the right talent and trust them to deliver
Online employees need to take initiative in order to consistently provide high quality work , so it’s critical to find and hire the right staff. To do that, you need to leverage the remote workforce. Outsourcing and staff augmentation are not only great ways to accomplish that, but can also save a significant amount of money.
However, you should make sure that your remote employees are in the same time zone as you, or at least close to it. That way, there won’t be any hiccups in communication. For this reason, nearshoring can be the best outsourcing option.
Nearshoring provides the best of both worlds: affordable yet highly qualified talent that works the same hours as you do, ensuring seamless communication.
The transformation from a conventional to a home office can be a little jarring for some, but with a well-considered strategy and a bit of patience, you can successfully manage your team remotely. Keep the above tips in mind, and if you have any questions or would like additional help, get in touch with us. We’ll be glad to provide professional advice about how to best manage your team.