Managing a team
is challenging enough with everyone working in the same office. Working remotely has proven to be useful in employee retention since the sense of freedom it brings inspires loyalty, and they’re happier by not having to commute so much to and from work. For parents who also want to be more present for their children, working remotely means they won’t miss a thing.
It is then left to the team leader or manager to ensure that everyone in the workgroup remains productive and that customers and clients alike are kept happy.
So, how do we lead remote teams? Let’s count the 8 ways:
1. Communicate constantly
Depending on how long your team has been together for, you’ve pretty much established relationships with them, from a professional level to personal, even. This does not have to change just because you’re not physically together. Leading remote teams makes keeping in touch with your team on a regular basis very important.
Daily check-ins that constitute a short how-are-you are enough for some people. You can change it up and jump on a quick call just to see how everyone’s doing. Want to see their faces and smiles? Schedule a video conference
. You can do all these with your whole team or even as a one-on-one activity.
2. Make good use of technology to improve collaboration
How to lead remote teams can be nerve-wracking and time-consuming. Thanks to advances in technology, there is a wealth of tools you can use to make sure your team remains productive and motivated regardless of where they are in the world.
Video conferencing and online calls already do so much in making sure the team continues to deliver. You can also make good use of task and project management tools, checklists, schedulers, calendars, and more with Bitrix24!
3. Coach effectively
Trying to lead remote teams can sometimes feel like you’re trying to herd cats if you fail at managing expectations. It’s not enough to just tell them what to do. As a team leader and manager, you need to be able to explain what a task is for, why it needs to be done, and, sometimes, even how it gets done.
Define scopes, roles, and deliverables and set clear deadlines. This helps create a sense of accountability and responsibility among team members, giving each of them a sense of pride in their place in the team and their contributions.
4. Track time and monitor productivity
You might be working out of your home but this doesn’t take away from the fact that you are indeed working and you’re still a manager although you’re leading remotely. Leading distributed teams mean you need to step up your game in making sure they are doing what they should be doing when they should be doing them.
There are online time tracking tools like Bitrix24 that you can use to track how much time is invested in each task. The software provides you also with productivity and attendance reports that you can refer to in keeping your team dependable and high-functioning.
5. Socialize remotely
This might be a little tricky considering you and your team are not in the same place physically but thanks to technology and the option to have a powerful Internet connection, you can still get together and socialize as a group over the web.
Nowadays, it’s not impossible to have remote team-building activities. You can still play games whilst on video conference. The only thing holding you back would be your lack of imagination, if ever. So, be as creative and innovative as you can be and put as much
6. Focus on the output
Part of effectively leading distributed teams includes being able to ensure the quality of the team’s output. If you don’t want to closely monitor their productivity, you can focus instead on the end result.
You can always do spot checks for quality assurance. Even if it’s part of your weekly deliverables when you lead remote teams, you can do an extra round just to make sure everything’s always done properly. You can also focus on the outcomes of your team’s efforts and coach accordingly.
7. Create a channel of supplies
Believe it or not, it’s part of your job in leading remote teams to make sure everyone has everything they need to do their jobs well. Whether it’s the big things like laptops and internet connection, software, mobile devices to the small things like staplers, notepads and pens, you need to make sure your team is well-stocked.
It’s not right to assume everyone has a little of everything and it’s part of your job as a manager to make sure that they do – even if it’s just the most essential things. If they don’t, make sure you’re ready to make the necessary requisitions to get what they need for them. This is part of setting them up for success.
8. Be flexible
Leading distributed teams also entails factoring in the fact that everyone – including you – has a lot going on. Although this is not an excuse for slacking and not getting things done, it’s enough to consider that the team’s productivity, morale, or even camaraderie might not be at the same level.
It’s a delicate balance, for sure, but this is where it will help if you can be a bit more sensitive to their needs and sometimes play it by ear, so to speak, so you can figure out when to put your foot down and when to give your team a little bit of a leeway.
Leading remote teams efficiently
How to lead remote teams takes a lot more effort and focus than when you’re all in one office together because you have a lot of blind spots and a lack of total control. The good thing is that there are tools at your disposal that you can use to make sure leading remotely is easy and done properly.
Bitrix24 is the all-in-one software you can use to help you communicate, coach, track time and productivity, maintain the quality of the output, requisition for supplies and so much more. The walls just happen to be absent, but with the help of Bitrix24’s well thought-out suite of functionalities, leading remote teams to success will be less stressful! Register today for free!