Remote work is our current workplace reality, but managing remote teams and keeping distributed employees engaged can challenge even the best of managers. However, this unique environment can also present a myriad of opportunities to support our teams and grow some key staff as up-and-coming team leaders. As a leader, it's your responsibility to care for a team not only as colleagues but as human beings. Managing a team, even when located together in one location, isn't for everyone. On any given day, you need to balance your own workload, overall team success strategies, and working with individuals within your department. To do this, you have to balance being a team player as well as being a leader. You also must be highly organized, strategic, and have a high level of emotional intelligence.
The transition to working remotely can impact a team’s culture as anxiety grows through the inherent lowered quality and quantity of communications. Add to this the unknowns between the current pandemic and the uncertainties of the current business climate and you're fraught team uncertainty. Additional factors such as kids at home, the caretaking of parents, and more will now be a part of their typical workday. So it's crucial for those in leadership to support our teams in ways that are different than ever before.
In a company that's primarily in-office, a manager can directly impact the success of their team. But, this role is even more important when it oversees a fully or partially remote team.
Why? When your team is widely dispersed, a manager is tasked with bringing together their employees and giving them the tools to work well together. In times of confusion, questions, or ambiguity related to remote work styles, the manager is expected to make calls or answer critical questions.
As the manager of a remote team, you need all the skills of an in-office manager -- and more. Not only do you need to be tactical and organized, but you also need to take extra time to make sure that colleagues feel in the loop, included, and like they can succeed at your company. This takes added time, much more communication, and a strong sense of inclusion and empathy.
So, what does remote work mean for those in positions of leadership? How can managers continue to lead and inspire their teams without meeting in person? What practices can we implement to care for our coworkers beyond the office?
Here are few best practices along with some practical tips for successfully managing remote teams...
1. create an effective remote hiring and onboarding process
2. Schedule and run effective virtual team meetings
Determining Which Meetings You'll Need
When you or your team members are remote, team meetings will be a crucial means of communication. Not only do they allow you to all join on one video call to talk about projects or goals, but they also enable teammates to get to know each other and stay visible.
3. CHECK-IN WITH INDIVIDUALS ON YOUR TEAM REGULARLY
4. EMBRACE AND IMPLEMENT DIGITAL PRODUCTIVITY TOOLS
5. BE MINDFUL OF TIMEZONES AND REMOTE EMPLOYEE BOUNDARIES
6. TAKE STEPS TO ENSURE ALL TEAMMATES FEEL INCLUDED
7. add moments of fun
8. encourage empathy among in-office and out-of-office teammates
9. USE EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE AT ALL TIMES
What are you doing to improve the management and leadership of your remote teams? Are you doing anything specifically to improve this part of the work environment for your staff? How do you manage this? Please share your thoughts in the Comment box below or shoot me an email if you'd like to chat about this in more detail.