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Managing a Remote Team

Managing a Remote Team: Best Practices to Follow

by Abby Portugal on and last update on July 23, 2020

The digital workplace opens the door to productivity despite geographical limitations and crises that could render on-site work impossible. However, the successful management of remote teams can be a challenge. Below are the best practices for managing a remote team and ensuring optimum and consistent levels of staff effectiveness.

1. Choose Skilled Team Leaders

Leaders managing remote teams, or varied teams with a portion of staff working remotely, need great leadership skills and an ability to connect employees to ensure smooth information flow and collaboration.

Experienced leaders in managing remote teams can anticipate obstacles and introduce mitigating actions to curb their potential consequences. When managing remote or mixed teams, leaders have to establish an inclusive work culture and incentivize team members to collaborate using virtual communication tools.

It’s up to team leaders to build a framework that sparks productivity and collaboration among team members. This can be achieved through various socializing and engaging virtual experiences. Good leaders will provide the necessary direction and guidance, helping remote staff remain motivated and work effectively.

Leaders need to know all members of their team, along with their skills and knowledge, to be able to create a workflow that takes advantage of these assets and facilitates the execution of business processes.

Leaders should also know how to effectively communicate with the team. Because the work is remote, employees can feel disconnected from their workplace and colleagues. It’s up to the team leader to ensure all team members are equally engaged (internal link to Your Guide to the Digital Workplace). Schedule frequent conference calls to keep team members updated, informed, and motivated.

To keep employee engagement on a stable level, it’s good to introduce socializing activities in virtual communications. It’s good practice to organize lunch hours or coffee breaks where employees can have casual conversations.

2. Create Effective Teams

To ensure that remote teams stay productive, place double emphasis on their structure.

While every company will have unique preferences as to team size that is capable of generating desired results and cohesive management, teams consisting of five to six members facilitate individual contributions of their members at high productivity rates. But the exact team size depends on many variables, including the skills of the leader.

Determining the best team size for remote teams can therefore be tricky: small teams can exhibit skills gaps, while large teams can show drops in productivity, preventing effective collaboration.

To help you figure out the optimal team size, answer these questions:

What is the team’s goal?

Determine if that goal can be achieved with more employees without compromising on quality. On the other hand, can a small team effectively attend to the task? Are team leaders capable of managing larger teams and steering them toward objectives?

Does the team have enough expertise to achieve its goals?

To maintain the desired level of performance and quality of output, each team needs all the unique roles filled to prevent skills gaps. Conversely, it might be a waste of talent and resources to keep experts who share skills and knowledge on a single team.

What is the deadline for goal completion?

If you need to complete a goal quickly, extending a team beyond the normal size can be necessary. You can consider staff augmentation for temporary project needs. Staff augmentation also lets you hire specialists from third-party companies that will provide all the necessary expertise or workforce.

3. Establish a Strategy

When building remote teams, a functional strategy is key to help them achieve goals effectively. Create blueprints outlining what is the project scope, desired quality, and team member roles.

If team members have conflicting information regarding project context, they might struggle in their delivery. The strategy should then clearly describe how business processes can be translated into the digital medium.

Furthermore, every team should have clear goals set. These goals have to be understood by all team members. There needs to be joint coordination and understanding of what tasks are to be done individually and when the team has to come together.

4. Pick Tools and Technologies

Remote work depends on the tools and technologies employed in the digital workplace. These tools have to facilitate meeting specific business needs and drive collaboration and spur employee engagement.

Because communication is critical to the success of remote teams, use solutions that offer a rich digital experience with audio, video, chat, and file exchange. Consider tools such as Slack, Trello, Azeus Convene, Office 365, or Google’s suite to keep employees productive and connected.

Ultimately, whichever tool you choose, keep in mind that each should automate work and increase productivity. Effective, robust, and intuitive tools are one of the main drivers behind employee engagement.

Read: Your Guide to the Digital Workplace

5. Measure Employee Effectiveness

To get tangible information on remote employee productivity, use analytics. Many remote work solutions pack insightful reports with visualizations. Some, offer detailed workplace analytics that provide team leaders with detailed insight on collaboration patterns and productivity.

Develop benchmarks to quantify the use of collaboration software on workforce effectiveness and employee satisfaction. The simplest way to establish a productivity benchmark is to work out an average operation output and divide it by the number of employees. While many companies might not be able to calculate the output using this method, establishing productivity benchmarks is critical to effectively measuring employee effectiveness.

Manage Your Remote Team Successfully and Enrich Employee Experience

Managing remote teams can be a challenging task. The remote environment calls for leaders to be more responsive to the slightest nuances in their teams to maintain a satisfactory level of productivity. However, by using tested software solutions and best practices for remote work, team leaders can effectively steer remote teams toward success. Azeus Convene helps senior management and the board communicate efficiently across time zones in a secure and collaborative manner.

Digital Workplace
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