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Managing Remote Teams: The Tips, Tricks, and Tools You Need to Succeed

Managing Remote Teams: The Tips, Tricks, and Tools You Need to Succeed

By the end of 2021, one in four Americans is expected to work remotely. But how likely are they to succeed from their sofa? 

Remote teams enjoy plenty of long-term benefits with increased productivity, employee engagement, and cultural diversity amongst them. The short-term switch, however, can be tricky. As employees grapple with isolation, interruptions and niggling inconveniences, you’ll need to busy yourself with building a solid foundation for your remote team to stand on. How? We’ll show you in this blog.

Establish Etiquette

Etiquette might seem like an outdated term for a simple set of rules. However, a new environment calls for new expectations that you’ll set both in writing and practice. 

For management, there’s no better time to implement model behavior. This means calling in sick when you’re not well enough to work, being the first to speak up on video calls, and taking each obstacle in your stride. Your actions are helpful examples to your peers, helping them to navigate new situations without feeling alone or afraid to act. 

Some rules are solidified in writing, helping to form remote-friendly contracts and a revised code of conduct. These more formal expectations include practical changes to employment, such as working hours, salary, company benefits and data protection, as well as behavioral changes. How you expect your employees to act likely won’t change too much, yet the scenarios they find themselves in will. Be direct about rules relating to client calls, team meetings and instant messaging systems. The key here is clarity. Don’t assume every team member will turn up to Monday’s meeting in a tie or perceive all emojis the same way. 

When the rules on communication are clear, your remote team is happy. 

Create Trustworthy Templates

According to the experts, managing a remote team is easy. 95% of remote workers claim to be more productive when working from home. Yet, this type of success doesn’t happen overnight — it’s likely because they did all their admin work upfront.

Taking a few minutes to create templates for recurring tasks, training modules and specific teams is time well spent. It means you don’t have to explain the same thing to five different people, on five different days of the week. 

If software is the bread of remote working, templated tasks are its butter. 

In creating a template, you’re providing any team member with a set of detailed instructions so they can get started on a task without needing input from anyone else. Tasks can be short and simple or, they can be more extensive, requiring subtasks and links to external resources. With any template, the goal is to write a document that a stranger could understand. 

In doing this, an employee can confidently tackle their workload and make progress independently.

Make Meetings Meaningful

Quality communication is a given in any remote team. But remember, quality doesn’t translate to quantity, so don’t overcompensate for the lack of face-to-face conversations. Daily work calls, hourly group messages, and minute-by-minute updates won’t guarantee a project’s success. Coincidentally, over-communication can often hinder it. 

Instead, schedule meetings with a sensible frequency and make sure you prepare for them. Each remote meeting should have a lead, an agenda, and a note-taker (if it’s not already being recorded). 

While small-talk can provide some welcome social interaction, too much of it can throw a meeting’s purpose off-course. And let’s face it, we didn’t brush our hair or button up our shirt just to talk about the weather. A meeting lead can help marshal this, while an agenda will give every attendee a sense of structure and involvement. 

Finally, recording a meeting helps to keep those that couldn’t make it in the loop, as well as take note of the discussion and any deadlines that were set. You can refer to meeting recordings after the event to avoid hearsay and confusion.

Depend on Data

Much of managing a remote team is about embracing its digital differences. 

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Focusing on what you can’t do in a remote team will cause you to fail. Focusing on what you can do, however, will help you to be one of the few firms to feel its benefits. 

Although your employees are no longer visible from your home office, it doesn’t mean that you’ve lost control of your team. 

Remote work is so unique it can be captured in patterns, trends and timelines. As we collect data about remote work, we can understand employee performance, project progress and team dynamics to an even greater degree than we could in a traditional office. 

Depending on data to make decisions will help you to identify star performers, address issues as they appear, and even prevent these problems from arising. And you can do all this using an unbiased, free from human error and automated method. 

Handdy Timesheets is the easy way to manage teams that are happier in their role and more effective at work. 

This affordable employee monitoring software gives you instant insights into your team’s way of working. From app usage and productivity reports to employee keyboard activity, Handdy Timesheets gives you a granular overview of your team’s performance –– no matter where they are in the world.

Start your free trial of Handdy Timesheets today and make managing your remote team a breeze.