With the rise of remote work, effective management of remote teams has become more important than ever before. Managers need to adapt their leadership style and implement best practices to ensure productivity, collaboration and employee satisfaction. In this post, we will explore ten essential best practices for managing remote teams, and why Zight is the ideal communication app to make team alignment seamless.
Did you know? 43% more remote employees work over 40 hours a week than onsite employees do.
That’s right, remote workers often overwork, not underwork. As you read these best practices, keep this default work behavior of you and your teammates in mind.
Let’s dive deep into each best practice!
1. Establish Clear Communication Channels
Clear and open communication is crucial when managing remote teams. We all, by default, utilize various communication tools like email, instant messaging, and video conferencing to ensure everyone stays connected and informed. It’s important to train all members of your team the purpose of each channel and what communication is best suited for each. An over-reliance upon instant messaging, for example, can easily burnout remote or distributed teams due to different time zones. Ensure these channels’ purposes and rules are defined and documented for all team members, when training and onboarding.
2. Set Clear Expectations and Goals
Clearly define roles, responsibilities, and performance expectations for each team member. When you establish measurable goals and provide regular feedback and support, your remote team members stay focused and motivated. It can be difficult to maintain this level of motivation across the board when you aren’t sitting next to that person 8 hours per day. Incorporating a project manager such as Jira, and utilizing the task management features, can help track progress and ensure everyone is aligned.
3. Foster a Positive Team Culture
Create a virtual team environment that promotes camaraderie, collaboration, and mutual support. Encourage team members to engage in non-work-related conversations and organize virtual team-building activities. A favorite Slack channel of Zight’s team is our #watercooler channel, as it helps facilitate team bonding and create a sense of belonging for everyone.
Additionally, some project management tools like Asana incorporate cognitive behavioral therapy with UX/ UI design hacks, including a unicorn, or a celebration. For anyone who completes a task, a creature rapidly flies from the bottom-left to the top-right of the screen. It feels like a celebration for each task completed. By choosing tools that include these celebratory experiences, you can boost the morale of your team.
4. Encourage Regular Check-ins
Schedule regular one-on-one meetings and team meetings to keep the lines of communication open. These check-ins provide an opportunity to address concerns, provide guidance, and offer support. The face-to-face time is critical for emotional context and support. Remember these check-ins do not necessarily need to be weekly. If calendars are overcrowded, make them biweekly and do an asynchronous update with a screen recording to stay on the same page.
5. Embrace Flexible, Async Work Time
Remote work offers flexibility, allowing team members to work at their most productive times. When do you work best? Many people’s ideal “deep work” time is in the mornings. Once you’re able to acknowledge your own ideal workday, you can acknowledge and respect other team members’ schedules, and encourage a healthy work-life balance. As you develop a communication strategy for your team, ensure you keep in mind time zones with asynchronous communication best practices. Survey your teammates to see when they are most productive, and schedule meetings outside that time as much as possible.
6. Promote Knowledge Sharing
One of the keys to knowledge sharing is documentation. Having an organized and documented knowledge base for both internal and external use can keep everyone, quite literally, on the same page. Additionally, knowledge sharing is not just a task or a to do; it’s a culture. A manager must emphasize the importance of knowledge sharing within the team, encourage open communication, value diverse perspectives, and create a safe environment where team members feel comfortable sharing their ideas and insights.
Once you have the culture and documentation, then it’s all about the tools. Leverage digital collaboration tools and platforms that facilitate knowledge sharing. Zight’s video libraries help teams document the key ideas, themes and instructions that each member needs to be aware of to be aligned and in-the-know. Teams can access the documentation anytime, anywhere. Lucid is a great visual collaboration platform teams to digitally draw out and iterate on ideas.
Organization, documentation, culture and tools encompass the best practices for managing remote teams to keep team members aligned and engaged.
7. Incorporate an Async Communication Strategy
With remote teams it’s easy for communication channels to become cluttered. Often text threads can become long and confusing. Meetings are over-scheduled, block after block crowds calendars. Zight offers a comprehensive suite of visual communication features, making it easy to connect and collaborate with your remote team members using annotated screen recordings, screenshots and even GIFs. Keep calendars clear, and incorporate visual asynchronous communication into your internal communication strategy so people don’t suffer from burnout.
8. Recognize and Appreciate Achievements
Remote employees often miss out on the immediate recognition received in a traditional office environment. Make an effort to acknowledge and appreciate their achievements publicly. There are many apps like bonusly with built-in recognition and rewards systems that can help foster a culture of appreciation and motivate your remote team members.
9. Prioritize Work-Life Balance
Remote work blurs the line between personal and professional life, making it crucial to encourage a healthy work-life balance. Encourage your team members to take breaks, establish boundaries, and disconnect from work when needed. With Zight, team members can use visual async messaging tools for sharing off-hours, so the content can be consumed at any time that works best for them.
10. Continuously Adapt and Improve
Remote work is a dynamic environment, and as a manager, you should continually seek feedback and adapt your management style accordingly. Regularly solicit input from your remote team members and make adjustments to processes and workflows as needed. You can do this through employee feedback surveys, so your direct reports can share thoughts, opinions, and experiences of their work day in a safe manner.
When creating a survey, take into consideration subjects of communication, workload, job satisfaction and work-life balance. By soliciting feedback, you can foster an environment of engagement and empowerment, one where team members can voice their opinions and contribute to the decision-making process.
Effectively managing remote teams requires a combination of clear communication, goal setting, fostering a positive team culture, and utilizing the right tools. While implementing the best practices for managing remote teams mentioned above, it’s worth trying Zight for seamless visual asynchronous communication. With its comprehensive suite of features, Zight can help you streamline communication, enhance productivity, and create a cohesive remote work environment. Give it a try, and see the difference it can make in managing your remote teams successfully!
Frequently Asked Questions About Managing Remote Teams
a) What are the best practices when managing remote teams?
- Establish clear communication channels and expectations.
- Foster a sense of trust and autonomy among team members.
- Set and track goals and deadlines effectively.
- Encourage regular check-ins and virtual team meetings.
- Provide necessary tools and resources for remote collaboration.
- Promote work-life balance and encourage self-care.
- Prioritize regular and open feedback.
- Foster a strong team culture through virtual team-building activities.
- Adapt management style to accommodate remote work dynamics.
- Support professional development opportunities for remote employees.
b) What 3 things are critical for remote working success?
- Effective Communication: Remote working success heavily relies on clear and timely communication. Utilize tools like instant messaging, video conferencing, and project management platforms to ensure seamless communication and collaboration.
- Reliable Technology Infrastructure: A stable and secure technology infrastructure is essential for remote working. This includes high-speed internet access, reliable hardware, and secure data storage to enable smooth remote operations.
- Self-Motivation and Discipline: Remote working requires self-motivation and discipline to manage time effectively, stay focused, and meet deadlines without constant supervision.
c) What is the hardest part about managing a remote workforce?
The hardest part about managing a remote workforce is maintaining a sense of connection. Without the benefit of in-person interactions, it can be challenging to establish rapport, build trust, and address conflicts promptly. Additionally, managing workloads, tracking progress, and fostering collaboration in a virtual setting require a different approach compared to traditional office environments.
d) What are the 3 conditions that define remote working?
- Geographic Independence: Remote working allows employees to work from any location, whether it be from home, a co-working space, or while traveling. The physical location does not restrict their ability to perform their tasks effectively.
- Virtual Collaboration: Remote working relies heavily on digital tools and technology to facilitate communication, collaboration, and file sharing among team members. Virtual meetings, project management software, and cloud-based platforms enable seamless remote collaboration.
- Flexible Work Hours: Remote working often offers flexible work hours, allowing employees to create a schedule that suits their needs and promotes a healthy work-life balance. This flexibility can enhance productivity and job satisfaction while accommodating individual preferences and personal responsibilities.