Communication may seem obvious, but it’s crucial that remote team members receive clear and consistent messaging. Otherwise, misinterpretations and missing key points could occur through text messaging or video calls.
An important aspect of managing remote teams is creating an atmosphere of autonomy among team members. Otherwise, team members could easily become isolated and lose sight of their personal goals.
1. Focus on Communication
As team members don’t always have an opportunity to approach one another directly and ask how something should be done, clear communication becomes even more essential. Encourage video conferencing and messaging tools that have documented processes so everyone has access to them; this will give employees a better idea when and how they should expect their supervisors to contact them should any queries arise.
Communication is also key when working remotely for any business. Provide employees with multiple channels for communicating updates and company changes – such as video calls, emails, slack and meetings – in order to meet employee needs without interrupting other team members or becoming a distraction in any way. This enables employees to find an outlet that best meets them without feeling like an intrusion to your group’s productivity.
2. Build Trust
Starting a new team can be challenging, as communication may lapse and team members feel alienated; this lack of trust can result in diminished performance despite everyone working hard.
Managers can build trust by modeling the qualities they value in their employees. For instance, if you expect your remote team members to communicate freely among themselves, make sure that this also happens within your own team.
Be attentive to all aspects of team communication – from brainstorm thoughts to virtual water cooler chitchat. Listening will build trust between team members. Also highlight their successes during broader meetings so they feel appreciated, and check in periodically with them to assess how well they are managing the challenges associated with remote work.
3. Set Expectations
As part of their onboarding, it’s crucial that new hires understand how their company’s remote work culture operates and what can be expected when managing from afar. This knowledge is essential to their success.
By setting clear communication expectations in one mass video call and reinforcing them through team meetings and one-on-one calls, employees who work remotely should feel more at ease communicating with supervisors directly. Establish a routine for these sessions so remote employees feel secure interacting directly with supervisors.
Make sure that remote team members have access to essentials like production schedules, project timelines, background documents and the like in a central online location such as Smartsheet or wiki. Also ensure they can communicate their progress on specific goals with other team members and managers easily.
4. Give Flexibility
Effective remote team management requires providing team members with flexibility. This doesn’t mean allowing them to stay home all day, but rather making sure that deadlines and deliverables can still be met when working from outside the office environment.
Encourage team members to align their personal goals and aspirations with those of the company, as this is a proven method for increasing loyalty and building trust in employees who may not work alongside one another directly.
Communication channels must remain open and transparent. Sharing production schedules and relevant information in an easily accessible online repository makes this easier for everyone involved, helping prevent miscommunication and mishap. In addition, one-on-one meetings should be scheduled periodically to monitor productivity and provide feedback.
5. Focus on Output
Remote workers tend to work at different times than co-located employees, so it is crucial that productivity standards focus on output rather than time spent working on work at their best. Encourage team members to finish up during their peak productivity time and reserve some personal activities such as yoga classes – this will promote healthy work-life balance within your team and will benefit everyone involved.
One of the hardest parts about working remotely is maintaining relationships that thrive through regular social gatherings and casual discussions in person. To combat this challenge, make a point to set aside one-on-one meetings with each direct report on your schedule for regular conversations about progress or development needs.
Make sure all team members are getting the support they need by devoting some of your weekly group meetings to discussing individual needs and challenges, keeping communication open will prevent your team from feeling isolated or dismotivated about remote working arrangements.