Did you know that, according to SmallBizGenius, the number of people who work from home has had a 140% increase since 2005? Additionally, over 4 million people in the US, at least half of the time, work from home.
There are many benefits to offering your team the opportunity to work from home, which is part of why it’s becoming such a trend. At the same time, managing remote teams can be a bit of a challenge.
How do you make it possible for your team to stay motivated and ensure tasks get done, even if you aren’t there to meet with them in person? These challenges can be stressful for any business owner.
That’s why we’ve put together this article. In it, we’ll review the best tips for leading and managing your remote team.
Finally, your team can be productive, making your business more successful than ever. Read on to learn more.
1. Set Clear Expectations
One of the best things you can do to ensure that your employees reach the goals you want them to is to set clear expectations. Provide them with your expectations in terms of availability, hours of operation, and communication guidelines.
Additionally, set your expectations regarding key projects and their deadlines, attendance requirements for team meetings, and what the turnaround should be when they reply to your emails and requests.
You can also set up communication guidelines about how
By providing your employees with this information, they’ll know exactly how to go about their work. This will lead to fewer misunderstandings and higher productivity.
2. Create a Virtual Office
Even when you don’t have a physical office, it helps to have a virtual office where your employees can “go.” CRM systems can be helpful for this. One great choice is Trello, a software that makes it possible for you to automate management tasks and other tasks.
You can assign employees to specific tasks and they can see the larger layout of where a project is going.
Other helpful tools for planning projects and working on them include Wrike, Teamwork, Monday, and Asana.
3. Provide Collaboration Tools
In addition to having a virtual office, your employees need a way to be able to collaborate and communicate with each other. One of the most popular communication solutions is Slack, which is useful not only for communicating but also for file transfers.
Zoom is useful for meetings where you want to include many people and have additional abilities such as screen sharing and breakout rooms.
Other face-to-video communication solutions include Pexip, LiveStorm, BlueJeans, and SuperNormal.
If you want a solution that makes it possible for people to collaborate on projects together, you could use Miro.
It’s a whiteboard-style software that can be useful for brainstorming, offering features such as gluing stickers, writing, and drawing.
Other similar options include Easil, Stencil, Teemyco, and Tandem (which you can use with Spotify).
4. Use the Right Security Programs
When you’re running your entire business online, you need the right security programs to protect your business’s data, as well as your customers’ and employees’ data. One great choice is 1Password, which makes it easier for you to store passwords.
Another must-have is Norton 360. With this software, you can block unauthorized traffic, monitor connections between devices, create backup files on the cloud, and protect your business against viruses.
5. Use Only One Tool for Communication
One of the biggest mistakes remote team managers make is communicating with their employees through many different communication methods. You might use email, Slack, WhatsApp, or Facebook messenger…and it all starts to get overwhelming.
If possible, choose only one tool for communication. And when you’re thinking of sending out an email, ask yourself if it’s really necessary.
By keeping communication focused and only sending out emails when you have to, you won’t overwhelm your team. This will make it easier for them to focus on the tasks they already have at hand.
6. Assign Mentors to New Employees
One of the biggest challenges of working remotely is getting used to the company culture and getting the hang of things. While in a physical office, it might be easier for a new employee to get used to how the office works, this can be challenging on a remote team.
This is even more difficult if your remote team is run across various time zones, handling a variety of tasks, and not always communicating directly.
A way to make the adjustment easier is to assign mentors to new employees. They can provide support, answer any questions, and go through the usual processes involved in working at your business.
In the first week, the mentor should have daily meetings with the new employee.
In these meetings, they can both help the employee and review their work so far, letting them know if there are any ways in which they excelled and how to improve in other areas.
7. Allow For Flexibility
While it can be tempting to have all your employees working at the same time, one of the reasons many people choose to work remotely is because of the flexibility this type of setup offers. If possible, provide your employees with flexibility.
A bonus of this is that your employees are likely to do better with self-motivation. By allowing them to work when they’re most productive, they’ll feel motivated, respected, and more capable of getting the work done.
Of course, there are certain times when you’ll need to schedule work-wide meetings.
There are also some days your employees might want to take off, whether it’s a holiday where you’re based or where they are.
To help keep track of meetings and days off, it helps to use the right software, such as Calendly. This way, everyone can work from the same shared calendar.
8. Give Your Employees a Remote Work Trial
Even though remote work is incredibly popular these days, that doesn’t mean that everyone’s cut out for it. Some people aren’t able to work from home, getting too distracted by their household chores or sleeping in when they don’t have to physically go to the office.
To solve this issue, it might help to give your employees a remote work trial. See how productive they are working from home. If they aren’t, you can always have them work from the office instead (if you have a physical office).
If you don’t have a physical office and your employee still wants to work from home, you could put together training to help them work more productively from home.
Another option is to employ employees who already have remote work experience. You can also ask them during the interview process about what their typical “working from home” day looks like.
This will show you whether they have the strategies needed to be productive while working remotely.
9. Establish Relationships
When it comes to managing a remote team, it can be difficult to recreate the same collegiate feeling that a physical office has. This is why it’s so important to focus on establishing relationships. It helps if you start.
Share with your team pictures of your pets, family, and home office. Encourage friendly communication by setting up a water cooler channel in Slack.
When speaking with your employees one on one, be personable and open so that they’ll feel comfortable doing the same.
This will encourage your employees to feel like they’re part of something bigger, which will in turn limit employee turnover and boost productivity—and, of course, make your office a fun place to work.
10. Use the Right Motivation Methods
There are many different motivation methods you can use to get your employees excited about the work they’re doing. Of course, there’s always the possibility of the higher payment that comes with a promotion, but it doesn’t stop there.
If you offer career growth possibilities, for example, or provide your employees with training and certification in skills they want to learn, they’ll feel that you’re investing in them and their career future.
This will make them feel appreciated, which means they’ll care about working for you.
Other motivation methods include bonuses, benefits, extra days off, and other types of remuneration.
Set up these motivation methods so your employees will gain more of them if they do well at your business. For example, you could give extra days off to employees who hit certain goals.
Remember, though, that you should still offer some of these as a minimum. Having no days off at all in the calendar, and having to earn them, could create resentment in the team, for example.
11. Focus On Outcomes, Not Tasks
One of the big mistakes managers make when managing remote teams is focusing too much on the small tasks their employees complete. This can make their employees feel like they’re constantly being checked up on, which can create resentment.
Sometimes, managers might also focus on the specific amount of time their employees are working. This can create the same problem.
For this reason, you should focus on the larger outcomes your employees achieve. This will make them feel that you appreciate them for the work they’re doing.
If you want an accountability system, use the right software to track weekly progress. Just remember to do this without excessive control.
12. Allow For Private Communication and Chats
When employees are working in a physical office, they have the chance to get to know their coworkers without the rest of the company eavesdropping on their conversations. They’ll also have the chance to get lunch together or drinks after work.
One of the problems many employees face when they’re working remotely is that the ability to get to know their colleagues more privately isn’t available.
By allowing for private communication and chats, you’ll make your employees feel like you trust them in allowing this to happen. It will also make it easier for them to connect with other colleagues, fostering a sense of community.
13. Provide Your Team With Productivity Tools and Strategies
You can also help your team be more productive by providing them with productivity tools and strategies. For example, you could put together a training session where you review how to organize tasks, split up time in the day to work and work toward larger work goals.
You could also provide them with a list of tools and strategies. For example, there are many Pomodoro Method apps out there you could let your team know about.
14. Encourage Time Away When the Office Is Closed
When you’re running a remote office, it’s easy to feel like it should be running 24/7. Especially if you’re providing flexibility to your employees, you might think it’s okay to have them work during the weekend if they work less during the week.
However, unless an employee specifically requests this, you should be encouraging time away when the office is closed.
It’s important to create a healthy work-life balance for your team. Otherwise, they could burn out. This will not only make the work experience worse for them but will also make your team less productive overall.
Need Help Managing Remote Teams?
Now that you’ve learned about the best tips for leading and managing remote teams, you might find that you need help managing your team. Maybe you want to learn about productivity strategies or how to track progress without being too invasive.
Whatever you need, we can help. At Nizek, we’re experts when it comes to team management. We also offer software that will make it easier for you to run your business.
To find out more about our services, check them out now.