Businesses all over the UK are increasingly going remote which means that if you can’t effectively manage a team of remote workers, you’ll likely be left behind. So, what do you do?
At times like these, taking a step back and considering the full scope of what it will take to run your business in a remote environment is essential.
And although it sounds like a lot of hard work at first, the benefits are worth it.
Setting your business up for success means that you won’t face any significant disruptions in productivity, and you’ll be able to maintain your bottom line.
Whether you’re thinking of going remote or have already taken the plunge, the first step is to figure out how you’ll manage your remote workforce. In this post, I’m going to share some tips on effectively managing a team of remote workers.
Why are more businesses going fully remote
Remote work is the new normal for lots of businesses. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
If you think about it, working remotely is cost-effective because it eliminates the expenses of running a physical office space – rent, business energy bills, upkeep, and so on.
Going remote also means you won’t be impacted by business and operational restrictions imposed due to unprecedented challenges like COVID-19. Essentially, you can allow your team flexibility by making it possible for them to work remotely.
However, as is the case with most things in workplace management, it’s easier said than done.
Getting everyone on board with the new way of doing even the most basic of things is nothing short of an impressive feat. And the absence of face-to-face interaction can cause a lack of cohesion within teams.
It’s enough to challenge even the best managers.
The good news is that you can make the transition to working remotely a pleasant experience for everyone involved.
How to effectively manage a team of remote workers
As I mentioned earlier, effectively managing a team of remote workers can help you boost productivity and maintain (even grow) your bottom line.
Here are some actionable tips you can follow to ease the transition of going remote and streamline operations as quickly as possible.
#1: Have the right tools in your tech stack
One of the most effective ways to combat the challenges surrounding the lack of face-to-face interaction is by adding the right tools to your tech stack.
How you ask?
It’s simple, really. The right tools can help you simulate an in-office working environment. In a way, you’re able to give your remote team a means of communicating that integrates visual cues. If it’s not face-to-face, it’s the next best thing.
Of course, it’s good to have a mix of different communication tools and options. While video conferencing tools are often the obvious answer, having VoIP or live chat options is also desirable.
On a day-to-day basis, your team will probably run into different scenarios for which they’ll need different tools.
Need to organise a meeting? Launch the video conferencing tool. Need a way to quickly collaborate on a client project? Use live chat. Need to quickly get in touch with the team lead? Pull up the VoIP tool.
We offer a web-based remote working platform that packs a suite of tools for video conferencing, live chat, and voice calls. The most significant benefit is interacting and communicating with your team through a single platform.
As a manager, you might consider using other specialised tools for better team collaboration or project management. Tools like Trello and Asana are designed for remote teams and are great for tracking project milestones.
#2: Develop a remote working policy
There is a reality of going remote that you may not realise until you take the leap. And that is the inevitable lack of cohesion among your team. The truth is that your existing company culture might be getting in the way.
Think of it this way: your team is used to doing things a certain way. The way they communicate between departments, request IT support, or access resources and supplies all boils down to how things have always been done.
That makes sense, right?
So, when you go remote, you need to develop a remote working policy that outlines the new way of work. This way, you can make resources more accessible and ensure that managers and team members are on the same page.
Now, you might be wondering – How do I develop a remote working policy? And more importantly, What should it contain?
Although the specifics vary from business to business, you’ll want to make sure your remote working policy:
- Defines the roles and responsibilities of managers and team members.
- Lists the team’s tools for communication, collaboration, project management, etc.
- Reinforces how these tools can be used to accomplish goals and complete tasks.
- Explains how remote meetings and daily check-ins will be handled.
- Lists points of contact for technical and corporate needs.
Feel free to use this as a base and build upon it to write up a remote working policy for your business.
#3: Create opportunities for teamwork
I could go on about why it’s essential to create opportunities for teamwork. Still, the long and short of it is that it instils a sense of synergy and productivity and increases transparency. Surely that’s reason enough to take the necessary steps.
But what are those necessary steps?
Start by creating a culture of reaching out. Let team members know they can get in touch with you for little things – whether it’s work-related or otherwise. This can be a quick voice call or video chat.
Another way to encourage teamwork is by incorporating team members into decision-making activities. For example, you can encourage your remote team to weigh in on the remote working policy. Or, you can ask for their input on how to handle projects by organising virtual brainstorming sessions.
You might also consider creating an employee newsletter or setting up a Slack channel or Discord group for your team.
#4: Set times for remote social interaction
Setting times for remote social interaction can help your remote team break through feelings of social isolation during work hours. And it’s pretty simple. The goal is to have conversations about non-work topics to add fun moments to your otherwise dull routine.
For example, you can take 10 minutes at the start of weekly meetings to catch up with your team. Ask them how their weekend was and if they did anything special. You can also plan for virtual coffee breaks during the day or schedule virtual lunches or office parties where everyone can hop on a video call to spend some time together in a non-work environment.
Stay productive while working remotely
At the end of the day, it’s all about acknowledging the stress that comes with remote working, taking steps to lessen anxiety, and providing affirmation of your confidence in your (newly) remote team of workers.
To recap, you can manage a team of remote workers while staying productive by:
- Having the right tools in your tech stack
- Developing a remote working policy
- Creating opportunities for teamwork
- Setting times for remote social interaction