Whether remote work is a temporary solution or a normal day for you, “office work” isn’t restricted to a traditional office space anymore. With organization expanding and being given more unified communication options, they are also progressively embracing remote work and distributed teams.
Managers from traditional office environments are used to the usual 9-5, Monday-Friday schedule, which cannot always work for remote workers. Depending on time zones and family responsibilities, flexibility needs to be key. To succeed in this type of environment, managers need to be able to adapt to their workers and be able to implement techniques that will support distributed remote teams and help them thrive.
Set Clear Expectations
Setting clear expectations of what you want and need done by your employees is always a strong way to make sure you get the results you are expecting. It’s even more necessary with a remote team, since you won’t be able to pop by their desk for an update. It’s common for assignments to get pushed back or forgotten about, and employees from your team are going to work at difference paces. If you’re expecting something to get done by a certain time or date, it’s very important that you make it clear – don’t just assume they will already know. There are also digital tools that you can use to set deadlines that will lay all projects and requests out in one easy to read platform. Our CallHarbor team recommends Trello, which we use for our collaboration on deadlines and projects.
Schedule Video Conferences
Being able to staying connected from a distance is absolutely essential for a team. Not just for keeping each other updated on projects and deadlines, but also simple to maintain the strong relationship that is needed for effective teamwork. Video meetings are a great and easy way to do this. They should be conducted with the entire team at least once a week, like you would have in person update meetings in the office. Video meetings can be much more effective than phone calls/conferences, keeping employees engaged, focused, and aligned.
As any manager should, you should be checking in with your team regularly. Is everyone doing okay? Are projects and deadlines on track? Does anyone need anything or have questions? Sometimes employees won’t reach out to their manager because they assume they are too busy, so reaching out can help break down that boundary and let them know that you are available for them.
Set Healthy Boundaries
Setting boundaries is an important part of life, whether it’s in your personal or work schedule. With a remote team, it’s a really great idea to promote flexibility, as long as your employees are working 8 hours a day and aren’t missing important meetings, giving them the flexibility to work different hours that complement their productivity and work style is a sure way to see success. One con to working remotely, however, is that some people work too much and start to blur the lines between work/life balance, which can also become a problem. Time boundaries can be extremely useful in coordinating everyone and keeping things on somewhat of a schedule, so everyone doesn’t go crazy but things can still get done.
Focus on Goals & Results
How does that famous quote go? It’s not about the journey, but the destination? One thing that employees prefer about flexible work options it that they won’t get micromanaged on a day-to-day basis. It’s important as a manager to evaluate your team based on results, meeting deadlines, and the final product, not necessarily on the specific hours spent working. If assignments are continually being completed and your team’s goals are being met, giving employees (whether remote or in the office) the freedom of flexibility will be a huge crowd-pleaser.
Managing a distributed remote team may seem like a challenge at first, but it doesn’t have to be harder than managing an in-house team. By taking a little bit of a different approach to keep everyone healthy and on track, you can create a comfortable environment for your team, enabling them to get their job done.