Remote Team Management: The 24 Best Tips for Leading Remote Teams in 2023
Remote work it’s a concept that has existed since the 70s but it was never used to its full potential until the beginning of the pandemic at the end of 2019. Nowadays, you’re able to see that word every day, on job openings, company policy, and even on the transformation of online jobs all over the world.
With the constant development of the internet and the establishment of new and revolutionary platforms, there are endless possibilities to simplify and improve your work method.
Throughout this article, you’ll discover the definition of remote team management, its importance, how to manage a remote team, and its challenges.
This is your chance to focus on this master guide and grasp the significance of leading remote teams in today’s environment.
What is remote team management?
Remote team management means leading a team within an organization that primarily works off-site from a location other than a traditional office.
The manager plays a very important role in leading this remote team, especially when everyone is in different places and even different countries.
Working remotely is challenging, so managing a whole team can be difficult. Focus on the tips you’ll get from this article and pave your pathway toward success while keeping prepared for the challenges.
The benefits of managing a team remotely
It’s established that remote work has come to today’s functioning industries to stay a long time, some might say even forever. But in reality, the question is, why is it that remote team management became so important so quickly?
With the pandemic, people were forced to stay home, and to secure their job they made the most out of their computers and platforms.
1. Liberty in finding the best person for the job
As a manager, you could have extra difficulty finding the expert profile you need for your team.
You often experience geographical restrictions to comply with your company policies. With remote team management, you can choose the best person for the role, without necessarily limiting yourself to a certain geo area.
2. Saving the company on budget
Caring for a large office can be expensive, especially with large companies.
Remote work transformed this reality because every single team member can work from the comfort of their own home. The only thing managers and team members need to do is maintain the mint conditions of their work life.
Nevertheless, it’s important to provide employees with everything they need to work efficiently, like a laptop, and an extra monitor, and ensure they use an ergonomic chair and desk.
3. Flexible work hours
With employees from around the world, you not only have different cultures and skills, but you also have different time zones. Of course, it stands also as a challenge because your work hours may rarely meet, but the truth is that it’s great to have this flexibility.
4. More productivity and efficiency
With remote work, productivity and efficiency have spiked. However, it’s fantastic to have social interaction during the workday too. As a remote team manager, you have the advantage of having a less/distracted and more productive team, but on the other hand, you’ll have to ensure your employees have social breaks as well.
TIP: Find out the difference between productivity and efficiency.
The 24 best tips for leading remote teams
Now that we’ve covered the benefits of remote working, let’s jump into the tips to lead a remote team best.
1. Plan ahead
While working with a remote team, it’s imperative to schedule meetings and projects ahead because people might not be available due to time zones or private matters. Ensure to organize thoroughly events and meetings ahead.
Are you planning recurring meetings? Then, it might be a good idea to adopt time blocking in your team.
2. Embrace diversity, create inclusion
Cultural diversity is crucial for remote teams because bringing together people with different backgrounds, perspectives, and skills, leads to greater innovation and problem-solving. A team that is diverse in culture can better understand and serve global customers and partners, making it easier to communicate and collaborate across borders. To enhance team collaboration across employees from different cultures, managers can organize activities such as virtual team-building exercises, cultural exchange programs, language classes, and cross-cultural training sessions. These activities can help foster empathy, understanding, and trust among team members, leading to a more inclusive and cohesive team.
3. Establish expectations with your team
From the get-go, especially in the hiring process, you must be honest with your employees about the company’s requirements and their role.
It’s crucial that you tell them how you expect them to stand in specific subjects such as schedules, meetings, communication, work goals, and work hours.
4. Establish great communication
Make sure that you set up the best kind of communication tools for your whole team. Since you’re working remotely, you must establish excellent communication, so nothing is misunderstood.
Don’t forget to be clear with everything you’re trying to say to your team and encourage your employees to communicate as clearly as possible.
Read our guide and learn how to improve team communication.
5. Be supportive of your team
It’s essential that your team stays engaged with the job they’re doing and with the people that they’re working with.
Invest in periodic one-on-ones, so you can get a sense of how everyone is doing and if there are any team dynamics to be addressed. When possible, offer your help to solve obstacles and provide guidance to your team.
6. Bet on a great project management tool
Centralize your tasks, communication, and performance monitoring under one platform.
You’ll optimize time by only having to check one tool to overview the current context of your project and your team.
In that way, you’ll be able to track everything in a more elevated manner and establish a more productive method of work.
7. Be empathic
As a Manager, you can receive complaints and worrisome facts about the project or the team itself.
There could be an employee that might not feel so good, so it’s your job to listen to them and show some support towards them. With your guidance and empathy, they will feel much more confident and heard.
8. Be flexible
Your whole team shares very different lives, time zones, and cultural elements from each other. That can impact greatly their daily lives.
So, it’s important that you understand your employees and treat them with kindness and openness to the flexibility of work hours.
9. Be ten steps ahead of tools’ issues
When working and leading remotely, everything is online and must be performed at all times. Get insights from the team to see if the current tech stack is working or needs an upgrade.
10. Make their time count
Time tracking is an essential aspect of managing remote teams. It helps to increase employees’ productivity by providing managers with valuable insights into how employees spend their time on different tasks.
When employees know that their time is being tracked, they become more accountable for their work, which can lead to increased productivity. Additionally, time tracking allows managers to identify areas where employees may be struggling, and provide support and resources to help them be more efficient.
Finally, time tracking data can be used to identify patterns and trends in work processes, allowing managers to optimize workflows and allocate resources more effectively.
To show the importance of time tracking to your remote team, you can explain how it will benefit them and the organization as a whole.
Download ” The Complete Guide to Managing your Team’s Time”
Learn how to boost team time management by leveraging the power of time tracking
It is not a measure of micromanagement but rather a tool to help everyone stay on track and be more productive. You can also explain how the data collected through time tracking can be used to improve workflows and allocate resources more effectively.
Encourage your team to use time tracking tools for remote employees and provide training and support to ensure they use them effectively.
Overall, by demonstrating the benefits of time tracking and providing a good time tracking tool and resources, you can increase employee productivity and help your remote team succeed.
Read also: How to get employees to track time
11. Pay extra attention to the onboarding of a new remote employee
When welcoming a new member to your team, make sure that you give special attention so the new employee feels welcomed and aware of everything that’s going on.
You want to keep your team up to speed and ready to communicate with newcomers.
12. Trust your team
Don’t try to micromanage your team during the process of your project. You hired this team for specific reasons that would lead you to success. Trust that feeling and give them the opportunity to grow, learn and complete the tasks.
13. Ground rules
For a team to get along and establish a line of communication, it’s necessary to establish rules, so everything runs smoothly. From daily meetings to periodic one-on-ones, ensure you have a rule for every type of interaction.
14. Define your goals and their purpose
For every team, there’s a project with a vision aligned. To complete that vision, the team has to understand what it involves, and why.
Only when the team understands the goals, that’s when everyone is ready to tackle every task and the obstacles that may appear. That’s why it’s critical to set realistic goals: team alignment.
15. Eradicate obstacles
Unfortunately, there are many unforeseen obstacles that cross every employee’s path in one way or another. What matters is how you cope with it, while granting tranquility to a member of your team.
The main goal is to eliminate every possible obstacle that disables your employee’s capacity to do tasks.
16. Open the team for social bonding
When working remotely, sometimes, you may never get to meet some of the members of the team.
Social bonding is deprioritized but should be highly considered for the well-being of your employees.
Set up some online parties, activities, and social meetings that improve the humor of your teammates. At the same time, you’re finding different ways to motivate your team to be more productive.
17. Guide your team as a mentor
Make yourself available for needed guidance for your employees. As a good team leader, you represent an influence on your team. Commit yourself to the evolution of their roles in the context of this project.
18. Update your knowledge of remote management
Because this is a new-ish concept, its definition constantly evolves, and everything changes daily. With that in mind, make sure that you update your studies with new essays and investigations about the subject.
TIP: It might be a good idea to enroll in an online project management course.
19. Make sure that everyone on your team feels they belong
Do periodic and individual check-ins with your team to find out if they’re acclimating to the rest of the teammates, the project’s goals, and even social bonding.
20. Demonstrate how to avoid distractions
Working from home brings a lot of different distractions, some more serious than others.
As a leader, it’s your job to demonstrate a list of insightful tips on how to deflect from those temptations.
21. Delegate tasks
Your job entails a lot of overviewing, interacting, and conferencing, which turns the job of completing tasks extremely hard.
Make sure you delegate tasks that you don’t need to do specifically. By doing it, you’re one step closer to building a high-performing team.
22. Establish time frames
You could choose a daily, weekly, or monthly time frame to evaluate the project’s progress within your team’s effort.
When setting up that time take into consideration the availability of your employees.
23. Be aware of burn-out
remote working can be challenging due to the blurred division between private and work life.
As a project manager or manager, it’s your job to make sure that your team has a fair amount of workload, and that they’re enjoying their role so far.
If something’s bothering a member of your team, it’s crucial that you show emotional support and guide them toward the solution.
24. Meet in person
Working remotely has many perks, but nothing substitutes real bonds and connections when meeting personally.
Make sure you establish a day per year when everyone gets together and celebrates the bond created throughout the project’s journey.
Download ” The Complete Guide to Managing your Team’s Time”
Learn how to boost team time management by leveraging the power of time tracking
Challenges of leading a remote team
Although leading a remote team is a standard practice in today’s workplace, it doesn’t come without its obvious challenges.
People are unique everywhere, and management is also different under various circumstances. But you mustn’t focus only on the obstacles you face while managing your team. Instead, think of a strategy that would eradicate those same issues.
Find out below the challenges you may face throughout your journey as a remote manager:
- Communication: This is a key project management skill when leading remote teams, especially when they’re spread worldwide. If you’re missing that element, managing your team will be a much harder job than you think;
- Hiring: Having a variety to hire an expert is a great thing but it can be overwhelming to make the right choice amongst the list of qualified potential employees;
- Time boundaries: The whole team might be working in different time zones within itself, which complicates the ability to speak about specific tasks at any random time. It could be straightforward to fail and to not respect everyone’s time and start talking about a task that they haven’t even begun to act on;
- Tasks and roles might be confusing: Compiling poor communication with a lack of bonding, your team might feel confused by assigned functions and tasks. Like everyone, your team has expectations, and they would think that they weren’t being considered carefully;
- Scheduling: It’s difficult enough to keep up with everyday tasks, so you can imagine when you have to share your schedule with the team. It can be a nightmare only to try and figure out when’s the best time to set up a kick-off meeting;
Read more: Learn how to handle scheduling conflicts.
- Employee performance: As a manager, a performance report is a must to perceive the progress of each team member, along with the project. While in remote managing mode, it’s hard sometimes to get the authentic feel of everyone;
- Neglection of team members: With everything that you have to pay attention to, from managing to delegation and monitoring, getting to know everyone isn’t a priority. When you leave that for too long, it can be too late to bond with your team;
- Low productivity: Some people thrive on remote work, but for the other part that doesn’t identify with it can be catastrophic, especially if you’re on the other side of the world. There’s a rare possibility of encountering your team members but that’s it. That can really that its toll on the employees, their mental health, and their productivity;
Find how to boost your team’s productivity with these tips.
- Using the wrong work tools: Managing, monitoring, and communicating can be almost impossible if you fail to have the appropriate work tools to help you;
- Missing collaboration: When there’s no collaboration on a remote team, it becomes very difficult to support and guide as a project manager;
- Managing different personalities: When managing a remote team, you find yourself surrounded by different and unique personalities. Especially from afar, it’s difficult to maintain everything cordial and in harmony, because sometimes there are big personalities to tame;
- Cultural elements: When hiring experts worldwide, they enrich your team with a new culture and knowledge. However, when working remotely, it can be pretty frustrating when you’re trying to keep up with different boundaries, ethics, and so on;
Remote team management has come to stay in our midst, with several success cases worldwide. This new normal grants us a unique spectrum of possibilities to improve and transform our daily work.
It’s never an easy adaptation because everything we once knew for many years has evolved into something we’re currently trying to figure out.
Throughout this article, you can see the definition of remote team management and what it entails for the better or worse. When you know the challenges you might face when guiding a remote team, you can calculate the efforts and outcomes.
With a balance between obstacle awareness and learning insightful tips to help you be the best manager you can be, you’ll be prepared for everything that may come to you.
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