Best Management Practices for Supervising a Remote Team
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about many changes over the past two years, many of which directly affect the way businesses operate. Many companies are now giving employees the opportunity to work from home, or to work in a hybrid environment. While this is a great move for employees, this change can often lead to new challenges for managers.
Supervising a remote team needs to be done in a specific way, and we are here to help. After speaking with some of the top business leaders, we have compiled a list of some of the best management practices for supervising a remote team. Read on to learn how you can best manage your remote team this year.
Communicate Regularly With Your Team
Omid Semino, CEO and Founder Diamond Mansion
As a manager for a remote team, one of the most important ways to lead your team effectively is by communicating with your team members on a regular basis, and setting time aside to check with everyone individually as well. While working from home is a huge benefit to work-life balance, it can also sometimes feel confusing or isolating, which is why making time to communicate with your employees is so important in a remote work environment. Whether it’s a daily email check-in, or a weekly video call, this will give you time to connect with your remote team, while also giving them space to do their work. Make sure to use this time wisely by accessing progress, giving feedback, and most importantly, listening to your team, so that you can actively solve any problems they may be experiencing.
Trust Your Team Members
Ryan Rottman, Co-Founder and CEO OSDB Sports
One of the best ways to lead your employees and to see positive results from your remote team is by building trust. Since no one is at this office and everyone is working remotely, it can feel quite difficult to not physically see your team members actively working on projects. However, as a manager, part of your job is to trust the people who you selected to be on your team. You can do this by measuring employee performance based on deliverables, instead of by virtual presence. This way, your employees can get their work done in a timely manner that works best for their schedule and can be judged solely on the product of work they produce. Employees will feel grateful for the foundation of trust that you have with them, and will typically deliver work quicker and with better results.
Dr. Payel Gupta, CMO and Co-Founder of Cleared
As a leader in a remote setting, being flexible is key to reaching success. When your employees are working from home, you have to understand that things come up, and that their family is also a priority. For example, if an employee comes to you and lets you know that they need to take their child to school in the morning, but will work an hour later in the afternoon to make up for the time, then this calls for you, the manager, to be understanding and flexible, as long as all of the work gets done by deadline. You should also make sure that this does not hinder any of the other team members, in which case you can work out a compromise with the individual so that both parties are satisfied.
Share Employee Wins and Recognize Top Talent
Umer Usman, Head of Growth AvantStay
When employees work in an office setting, there is typically a monthly publication or quarterly event that recognizes employees’ honors and successes. These rewarding moments can work wonders on employees, as it boosts morale and lets them know that their hard work is being noticed. If you are a manager supervising a remote team, try to be creative and think of ways to share employee wins and recognize excellence in a remote setting. You can recognize top talent at the end of a team meeting, in a one-on-one video call with that individual, or even by sending out a special email message to your entire team, letting them know about the person’s success. This will help to set the standard for other employees across your team and will create an environment of positivity for all.
Set Clear Expectations Up Front
Matt Woods, Co-Founder and CEO SOLD.com
In this time of change and adaptation, employees are in need of clear leadership, especially when working remotely. Therefore, make sure that as a manager, you set clear expectations upfront, so that everyone on your team knows what tasks they should be working on. Let your team know when to attend virtual meetings, when they have a project deadline, and when they are expected to be available throughout the work day. After you set these expectations, make sure that you give your employees some time to shine, and to not micromanage your team. Simply communicate with them, trust them, and let them show you how productive they can be when expectations are set clearly.
Use Software and Online Tools To Assist With Project Management
Tyler Read, Founder and Senior Editor Personal Trainer Pioneer
While managing work from a remote team can be challenging, using the right software and online project management tools can help your team work together and see each other’s progression. Programs like Notion, Slack, and Productboard can assist with asynchronous collaboration amongst your remote team and is a great system to help you monitor their daily progress. These systems also allow team members to communicate via the platform, making it much easier to comment on documents and complete requests.
Have One-On-One Check-Ins With Your Team
Woody Sears, Founder HearHere
In a remote work environment, sometimes individuals may feel overworked or unheard. This is why managers should hold monthly one-on-one check-ins with team members. These virtual meetings allow for your employees to bring up any issues or concerns they may be having, and is a great time for you to offer advice, and connect on an individual basis with your team. You can also use this time to mentor your employees and make sure that they feel like they are achieving their career goals in their current roles. You will be surprised to see how much you learn about your employees, and how much stronger your team will be as a result.
Encourage Interaction Amongst Team Members
Zach Goldstein, CEO Public Rec
While watercooler moments may have come and gone, as a manager, it is critical to still encourage interaction amongst remote team members. In an office setting, employees are able to converse in passing, when hopping into the elevator, or even on a luncheon. However, in a remote setting, it can be more difficult to foster these moments of conversation. Try to encourage your team to use Slack or an office messenger system to chat. You can also host virtual meetups or events that team members can attend.
Make New Employees Feel Welcome
Max Schwartzapfel, CMO Fighting For You
If there is a new remote worker on your team, taking the time to help your new employee get situated in their new remote role is critical to their success, and to employee retention. Try to offer guidance, and make your new employee feel like a part of the team by holding a special meeting to make them feel welcome. This is key to fostering a strong team, and helping retain top talent.
Be Prepared To Assist With Technology Issues and Training
Phillip Akhzar, CEO Arka
Depending on the size of your company, many businesses have a dedicated technical support staff to help employees who are dealing with technology or computer issues. However, if your company does not have a team dedicated to this, or even if it does, as a manager, you should be ready to help your employees with any technological issues that they may come across. Also, when transitioning from an in-office setting to a remote setting, some team members may need help navigating their computer or new programs. Be prepared to also offer some light technology training, or to have resources available to help your team.
Give Your Employees The Tools They Need to Be Successful
Meghan Biro, CEO and Founder Talent Culture
As an entrepreneur who works with virtual teams, I need a somewhat different set of skills to manage the remote players. I need to maintain a corporate culture supportive of – and with technical and communications systems in place – to enable remote employees to be successful. Here I must be self-aware, in tune with my skills, capabilities, strengths and weaknesses. It also requires me to be empathetic, emotionally intelligent, sensitive to what others need, and willing to provide the tools necessary to success – not just a mission statement and goals, but the communications and technical infrastructure to empower virtual teams. As a proponent of work-life flexibility to recruit and retain talent and an observer of the World of Work, I support the notion of virtual workplaces and the reality of having virtual or remote employees. Not everyone wants to, or can afford to, live in Silicon Valley, Austin, Boston/Cambridge, Chicago, Raleigh-Durham or NYC and around the globe the story is much of the same.
Learn to Trust Your Team
Richard Branson, CEO and Founder Virgin
To successfully work with other people, you have to trust each other. A big part of this is trusting people to get their work done wherever they are, without supervision. It is the art of delegation, which has served Virgin and many other companies well over the years. We like to give people the freedom to work where they want, safe in the knowledge that they have the drive and expertise to perform excellently, whether they are at their desk or in their kitchen. Yours truly has never worked out of an office, and never will. If you provide the right technology to keep in touch, maintain regular communication and get the right balance between remote and office working, people will be motivated to work responsibly, quickly and with high quality.
All in all, after following these management practices, and spending some time in your new role, you will become a pro at supervising your remote team. Remember to communicate with your team members on a consistent basis, and to find ways that your team can bond. Your team will be able to see your dedication and all of the effort that you put in, and will appreciate the leadership you provide.
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