Long-distance relationships are pretty challenging, and the same goes for managers and employees who need to maintain a working relationship remotely. Employees will likely need to cling to that 'office feeling' to keep themselves productive.
As a result, they may find it hard to balance work and life now that they're working at home. Productivity also tends to drop simply because remote workers may not be motivated enough to keep up with their tasks and deadlines. Therefore, you will need to think of strategies as a manager to run your team effectively.
How To Manage Your Remote Team
As the team's manager, the challenge lies in knowing how to efficiently oversee the operations while supervising the workers' performance and output. You can't fully establish physical workplace practices now that the company utilises a digital workspace.
Remote work is tricky. The key to managing your remote team efficiently is to look for new approaches that could simplify your operations while also uplifting your team for outstanding results. For more tips you could use, take a look at the list below:
1. Take Advantage Of Technology
You're lucky to be in an era that offers plenty of tools and platforms for virtual work and collaboration. You can use technology to ensure your business processes and online communication would be as efficient as possible.
For example, paying globally distributed teams is now easy and more convenient with the help of digital wallets and payment methods. Your staff won't need to worry about getting their salary on time, potentially affecting their motivation and productivity.
You can also use tools for human resource management, like employee attendance trackers, which are extremely helpful for remote hiring, accounting and payroll processing, and managing independent contractors. As for collaboration and communication, invest in tools for project management, channel messaging, and file sharing to help streamline your operations.
2. Be Clear With Your Expectations
As the team manager, expect to set work rules and boundaries so employees can adhere to them as they work remotely. It's best to let them know early what your expectations are, so they can think of ways to meet them. If you’re managing different departments, setting weekly or monthly goal settings for each department or employee to seamlessly gauge and measure their work can be a good idea.
In return, you can expect visible output and results that’ll come in handy when employee evaluation comes around. These goals and expectations may include work procedures, communication rules, working hours, company culture, and project guidelines.
It may not be a traditional work setting, but managers like you should maintain clear guidelines and protocols so that everyone can perform their duties according to the company's goals. It is also a chance to find out if your team is reliable enough to keep up with valuable performances even when you're unable to check on them constantly.
3. Respect Cultural Differences
Having remote workers and contractors from different parts of the globe means you'll need to deal with various cultures and personalities. Knowing the background of your team and their general perspectives can significantly help in understanding cultural differences. When you can understand and respect such differences, connecting with the team will be more seamless and successful.
Various countries have their own way of approaching a typical workday. You should also expect their work ethics to be different from yours, and that's okay, as long as people can meet your expectations and produce the required outputs.
Read more: 8 Etiquette Tips When Working With Different Cultures
Embracing diversity is critical when working remotely with employees from all around the world. Not only will it encourage better communication and collaboration, but it'll also reflect your company's outlook on cultural differences.
4. Show Empathy And Flexibility
Working from home poses challenges and differences in situations and environments. As the team manager, you might want to take the time and understand the condition of your employees. Not everyone has their own home offices or dedicated workspaces. Unfavourable or inapt workspaces can be another factor that’ll affect the team’s productivity in the long run. As their manager, you need to learn to be tactful and diplomatic when approaching such situations.
Supplementary reading: Why Empathy Makes for Stronger Organisations
Some may also need to work around children, spouses, and pets. Employing workers from different countries also means you need to find a workaround for the difference in time zones, so adapting to such challenges is a must. At some point, employees get sick or struggle with a life crisis. They may also get easily distracted and be overwhelmed with stress. It’ll also be good for the team if you take charge and not let an ill employee be overwhelmed with tasks until they’ve recovered.
When that happens, try your best to understand their circumstances. Doing so shows that you care about them. It's important to keep in mind that flexibility doesn’t mean allowing your workers to procrastinate or do what they want to do. Instead, it could mean being receptive and sensitive about their situations and providing the necessary adjustments to help them out.
5. Encourage Continuous Collaboration
Collaboration is a crucial element in any work setting. Remote teams may find it challenging to maintain continuous collaboration, mainly due to time zone differences. However, this shouldn't hinder teamwork in the organisation.
Keeping employees engaged is vital in encouraging a harmonious relationship with one another, despite working apart. Interactive communication can be a powerful method that you can take advantage of to keep the team collaborative. You can schedule video conferencing or calls regularly to maintain engagement at its peak.
Set up team meetings regularly, maybe at least once a week, even when you don't have any project to discuss. Virtual meetings can be an opportunity to consistently brainstorm and exchange ideas to stimulate your team's creative juices. You can also have game nights or meetings where you can pitch new ideas while building rapport with the team. Your remote workers can take the opportunity to spend time together, strengthen employee bonds, and correspond to cultural discourse.
6. Offer Support
Another thing you should remember when managing remote work is that employees should always feel supported and included in the team. It's up to you to schedule one-on-one meetings or catch-ups so you can reach out to your workers and stay updated on their whereabouts, particularly those that they feel comfortable sharing with you.
Take the time to ask if they need anything or how you can be of help. Perhaps your employees have been meaning to request extra vacation leaves but couldn't mention it during the team meeting. Those meetings and catch-ups can also be an excellent chance to give feedback on their performance. When the team knows how hands-on you are as the manager, they won't feel left out and will work harder to meet your expectations.
This may interest you: The Leadership Of A Giver
Giving support and showing that you care for the welfare and comfort of your workers can also show that you’re an approachable team manager. As a result, your employees won’t be easily intimidated by your aura, which may lead to tension and unfavourable output in the workplace.
Remote work is here to stay. Whether you've been practicing it for a while now or are just about to get started, the tips mentioned above can help team managers or business owners like you to manage your remote team effectively.
These tips include taking advantage of technology, setting your goals and expectations, respecting cultural differences, showing empathy and flexibility, encouraging continuous collaboration, and offering support to your team when needed.
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