Being an Effective Remote Team Manager

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Remote work has been a growing trend for some time now. More people are working from home, and it will be a significant part of the labor landscape for many years.

Businesses can see many benefits from remote work. It can open opportunities to work with people from different geographic regions. As the pandemic showed, it can also help you maintain operations even when people can’t come to the office.

As positive as it can be, it does come with challenges for managers. If you are used to managing people in person, remote work can feel strange. You wonder if people are staying on top of their work or if they might need help. It can also take time to adapt to the business tech tools that facilitate remote work.

Adapting to life as the manager of a remote team can be stressful. It will also require some adjustments. In this post, we will look at some of the things you can do to become a more effective remote team manager.

Make Your Expectations Clear

Productivity is one of the primary concerns for many who are new to managing a remote team. You worry that employees might not work as hard without personal oversight. While this feeling is understandable, it is mostly unfounded. If you have good people, they will do the work whether at home or the office. In fact, studies have shown that most employees are either as productive or more productive when they work from home.

The key for managers is to set reasonable expectations from the beginning and make them clear. Make sure employees understand the level of output you expect. If there are certain times of the day people need to be online or a number of hours that should be logged, you need to make sure employees understand. If the expectations are reasonable and clear, most employees will make sure to meet or even exceed them.

Plan Times for Meetings and Team Interaction

It can be easy for the members of a remote team to get disconnected. If you want to maintain cohesion and keep everyone on the same page, you need to set times for regular online meetings.  A simple team meeting once a week can do a lot for a remote team. You could also have daily check-ins via a chat platform or through email. Managers should also make time for the occasional one-on-one meeting with employees. It is also a good idea to let employees know that you are open to them scheduling meetings if they need your time.

Find the Right Tools for Remote Work

Remote work is powered by technology. If you want to have success as the leader of a remote team, you need to make sure your employees have the tools they need. For example, they might need the previously mentioned chat platform for communication or video conferencing software for meetings. Email is another obvious tool for facilitating remote work.

There is so much more beyond communication tools to help with remote work. For one, you could use checklist software to help employees track and complete tasks.  You also have file-sharing tools that can be useful. Teams that need to record hours can benefit from the use of time-tracking software.

Provide Your Remote Team With Resources

It can be easy for managers to focus on the challenges they face as they transition to remote work. What might get lost is that your employees are also facing challenges as they adapt. A good manager will provide resources to help employees adjust to the new work arrangement. For example, you could create various guides to teach people the basics of using different tools. An FAQ to answer common questions might also be helpful.

Fight the Urge to Micromanage

A good manager should always want to be helpful to his or her employees. However, there can be a fine line between being helpful and micromanaging. This usually comes back to the concerns of not being able to manage people in person. Your people are not in the office with you, so you feel like they might need a little more attention. A remote work arrangement requires a little more flexibility.

Even with the best intentions, this is not a good way to manage a remote team. You need to trust your employees to be autonomous and to get the work done. Keep your eye on the outcomes instead of feeling the need to always stay in touch. If productivity or quality starts to slip, then you need to arrange a one-on-one meeting with the employee. Explain the issues you have noticed and give them a chance to explain any problems they might be facing.

Remote teams can be very effective; it just takes a different management style. Follow these tips, and you should be able to get more from your remote employees

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