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How to Manage a Remote Team Efficiently?

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Remote team building and employment have risen by 140 percent since 2005, almost 10 times more than the rest of the workforce, well before COVID lockdowns. Face-to-face working is becoming less common as technology advances. Knowledge and services have become available to anyone working from the remotest corners. It is preferable to develop a specific remote-work policy and training in advance. However, this degree of planning might not be possible in periods of crisis or other quickly evolving circumstances since managers have little time to plan. Fortunately, there are specific, research-based strategies that managers may take without much effort to increase a remote team‘s motivation and efficiency.

What is a Remote Team? 

A remote team is a group of people collaborating on a single project from multiple locations and time zones. Team members are separated from each other in time and space. Each member brings with them a different level of expertise and culture. Working from home is one thing, but building remote teams and them leading them is a different level altogether. There is a significant contrast between teams seated within the same building and those that operate remotely.

If you’re in charge of remote workers, you’re well aware of the problems that come with it. It becomes challenging to manage simple things such as project management, team management, and meeting deadlines.

Roadblocks to Overcome

To begin with, managers must understand the conditions that can make remote work particularly taxing. When high-performing workers start operating remotely, they can see a drop in job performance and commitment, particularly if they haven’t had any prior planning or training. 

However, even in the most well-intentioned companies, the bulk of workers are already consciously or unconsciously disengaged. Consider how deeply operating from home would affect their degree of participation, efficiency, and commitment to the task. 

Below are some of the difficulties that come with remote work: 

  • Inadequate coordination tools 
  • Getting the best people on board 
  • No transparency system in place 
  • Respecting the attention of others 
  • No well-defined positions and responsibilities 
  • Creating timetables 
  • To keep track of employee results 
  • Lack of cooperation 

Top Management Tips for Remote Team

Below are some of the best strategies that remote team leaders and managers can implement for better productivity and smooth remote working.

1. Keep track of Fundamental Productivity Indicators 

If you compensate your employees on an hourly basis, keeping track of how many hours each worker dedicates, makes a lot of sense. Even if you are not monitoring attendance in a physical workspace, you will see who is coming in each day. In a virtual setup, it is challenging to grasp what is going on, how long each individual is working, and what they are working on. 

Some individuals are highly organized and motivated. They arrive on time, stay focused on the goal, and avoid any distractions. However, the majority needs a level of transparency. Managers must implement the “clock in” strategy to stop distractions such as Facebook and YouTube.

2. Improve Communication within the Team

One of the most common reasons why virtual teams struggle is that team members do not interact with each other. Working remotely, individuals lose sight of the other team members, focusing only on their own work. Tasks that require teamwork suffer greatly in such a situation. Managers must find ways for team members to simply “speak” to each other formally and informally. Even if team members over-communicate as a result, you would end up with a team that works together and learns from each other. Monthly meetings are a great way to improve communication.

3. Short-term Employment to Test Prospective Workers

You don’t have to employ anyone on a full-time basis right away. You will have a taste of collaborating with others by recruiting them on a single project, and if you like them, offer a full-time role after its completion. However, treat the short-term option only to transition into a full-time role for at least some employees. The focus of any employee permanently on a part-time or contractual basis would be split. Likely, they won’t be around when you need them the most. Part-time employees gradually leave the company and cease operating entirely. Full-time employees depend on your business for a living and are more likely to be with you in the long run.

4. Make use of Cloud-based Project Management Software

If your remote team is not being able to locate an essential document, download files, or missed out on an important task, you’ve failed to fix the fundamentals.    

Since you can’t see what your virtual team is operating on in person, cloud-based project management software is a must. You can schedule, collaborate, and track the various phases of a project through a network of resources if you have a cloud project management framework. 

Another significant benefit of implementing a project management scheme is that you would no longer be responsible for organizing work. You won’t need sticky notes or leather-bound planners because they would be backed up and accessible in the cloud. You just have to check the remote team’s activities and results once a week at the weekly review conference, and you’re ready to go.

5. Make an Effort to be Transparent

It’s convenient to refrain from sharing the big picture with your remote engineers. Since they are working from another place, they will often not be aware of what is going on at the local office. But remember, employees, look up to bosses and administrators for guidance on how to act in the workplace and to manage a remote team efficiently. They will be as transparent and straightforward with you as you are with them. 

To integrate your remote team into your work culture, you must be as transparent with them as possible. You win your staff’s confidence, and they won’t be afraid to come to you with any issues or complaints. This strategy also aids in the long-term retention of remote workers. 

When you have something to announce, for example, make sure you tell everybody on your staff at the same time—not just your local team. Your remote staff shouldn’t feel like they’re the last to know about what’s going on in the workplace or like you’re hiding details from them on purpose.

6. Concentrate on Results Rather than Methods

Allow your employees to finish their jobs in the way that is most convenient and efficient for them. In a remote setup, people juggle work and family obligations, and they might not work in exactly the same way you do. 

It’s possible that the 9 a.m. meeting may have to be rescheduled, or you may have to skip a lengthy approval phase. Use interactive methods wherever feasible and schedule collaboration at a mutually convenient hour. Allowing teams to be flexible will enable them to accomplish their tasks in their unique manner. 

As a manager, you must pay less attention to the method and more attention to what is being accomplished. Tell your staff what you need them to do, let them figure out how to get there.

7. Improve Recognition 

Employees’ desire to be recognized for their contributions rises by 30% at times of uncertainty. 

Adequate acknowledgement motivates the recipient and sends a positive message to other workers on the types of habits they can implement. It doesn’t need to be a hike or a bonus. Public acknowledgement, certificates of gratitude, growth opportunities, and low-cost benefits are some ways to recognize employees. Managers in companies facing a decline or a low period should use the time to offer career resources to employees who may otherwise be unable to do so.

Since access is vital for recognition, you must have reporting structures with maximum direct reports. To identify areas of recognition, use basic pulse surveys to ask specific questions or monitor performance. You will find tasks where employees have excelled and contributed significantly to the team by communicating with them constantly and asking what obstacles they have faced or how colleagues have assisted them.

8. Conduct Regular One-to-One Meetings

You won’t have time to discuss problems with your teams because you’ll be operating remotely. So, offer employees more one-on-one attention, and enable them to contact you via Skype or any other app without regard to time zones. Your remote staff does not know when your door is open. Offer them one day a week to meet with you one-on-one to talk about their problems, and then assign them tasks. 

9. Diversity Should be Embraced and Encouraged

When leading remote teams, it’s normal to run into cultural barriers. The problem with multicultural teams is that they struggle because of misunderstandings and disagreements. It may be difficult to treat individuals of various races equally while still promoting cultural diversity to foster teamwork. Finding out how various people from different places react to comments, encouraging a mindset of celebrating diversity, being mindful of national holidays with your global team, and respecting any cultural distinction are all easy ways to start.

10. Refine the Online Communication Abilities 

While working on ventures, several remote working teams face connectivity issues. Without strong leadership abilities, connecting with teams in various fields would still be challenging. And, of course, proficiency in online networking. To avoid confusion among the teams, launch the dialogue quickly and succinctly. Develop your writing skills, speak clearly, and communicate efficiently with the right remote collaboration software, as great communication is essential in a remote workplace.

11. Make a Conscious Effort 

Your local staff sees you on a daily basis. You either walk by them through the halls, have lunch with them, or hang out with them after work at a nearby pub. They’re the ones who are around you and can quickly contact you if they need anything. 

On the other hand, for a remote team, swinging by your desk or meeting up with you during the weekend is not an option. This is where consciously making an effort when handling a remote team will pay off big time. When a remote or non-remote employee is respected or recognized, their morale rises immediately. Simple tasks like answering as soon as possible, designing interactive environments for socializing, and acknowledging and honouring birthdays and job anniversaries can sound trivial, but they can be incredibly rewarding. Make every team meeting a deliberate chance to connect with your remote team and discover different ways to contribute to a productive partnership.

12. Pay A Visit to the Remote Team 

If you can’t make the remote teams feel committed to your business, you can’t trust them to feel connected to your company. 

Even if it’s only once a year, visiting your remote office will help your team become more cohesive. You should hold brief one-on-one meetings during your stay to discuss each individual’s expectations and evaluate their results. You may also plan a work trip where the local and remote teams go to a new location or country together. This period will be utilized to help the teams bond on a more intimate basis. Whatever fits well on the team: team-building events, socials, brainstorming, board games, etc.

Conclusion

When making a decision regarding hiring remote team, make sure you have complete faith in their accountability, work ethic, and abilities. Concentrate on recruiting or giving remote adjustments to those you know can do it. There are several aspects of handling and ways to manage a remote team efficiently. However, assuming that a remote employee is the same as someone who works in your office building is a mistake. 

Remote workers face distinct problems and obstacles, which you must consider in order to handle them efficiently as part of the squad. The more you learn about the demands and complexities of handling remote workers, the better leader you’ll be. Better to add remote team management to your list of skills now since remote work will soon be the standard way of working.

Reach out to Supersourcing to hire or build a remote team at once and manage them effectively to develop your product.

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Mayank Pratap
Mayank Pratap

Mayank Pratap Singh Top writer at Entrepreneur.com, the startup, Hackernoon, StartupGrind | Helped 500+ founders to build awesome Web & App products, Hire Remote Engineers | 30+ funded, 6 selected in Y-Combinator | More than 50 founders from MIT DeltaV & Harvard innovation lab has used Supersourcing

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