What was once a catchphrase thrown around the entrepreneurial space, working from home has now become somewhat of the norm amidst the current pandemic, COVID-19. In an attempt to contain the virus, many countries have closed their borders and implemented strict regulations to prevent it from spreading, thus working from home suddenly became a reality.
The days of idle chit-chat in the kitchen by the microwave are nothing but a distant memory of a simpler time. Taking the elevator to another floor with a more hygienic toilet is no longer necessary, as you now can enjoy the comforts of your own porcelain throne. For employees, it is a dream come true.
Sadly, that’s not the case for all, and in the world of project management, it has brought about a whole range of problems. How do you manage a team when they’re not there? Of course, you have to trust your team to get the job done, but if you’re not there to monitor their work how do you keep up productivity?
The challenges of remote teams
Communication is the biggest hurdle when managing remote teams. Being able to clearly assign tasks and keep a channel open between manager and staff is the key to a successful project.
Keeping track of tasks and productivity is an absolute essential to making sure projects are aligned with deadlines and budgets.
Disorganised and disjointed teams. Without an open channel for communication, team members can feel as if they’re not part of the team and that their efforts go unnoticed or unappreciated. There is also unnecessary downtime between goals/tasks as staff await instructions.
5 Best Practices for Managing Remote Teams
Hold a Daily WIP
By WIP we mean Work In Progress, that being said, you could think of this as cracking the daily whip. Having a meeting each morning (preferably video conferencing) not only helps set the agenda for the day, it also gives everyone some much needed facetime to boost morale.
Set clear expectations
And give clear instructions. With a lack of communication, the need to be precise is now more essential than ever. Share your calendar, so the team is aware of what and when is due. Provide clear deadlines and set milestones, clearly highlighting what are the wins for the week.
Stay engaged with video
Invite the team or employees to a Zoom call and set up weekly catch-ups, so you can get a feel for how they’re doing and if they need anything from you. It’s far easier to gauge their reactions or just try to judge their overall mood in a video call rather than an audio-only call, or email.
Focus on goals, not activity
It’s going to be impossible to manage every bit of work completed by a remote team. Rather than try to manage everyone’s work, focus on individual tasks, activity and hours worked. Focus on the goals achieved and measure them accordingly.
Take advantage of technology
From communication tools to project management softwares, keeping your team connected and on-task has never been easier. Tools like Slack, Zoom or monday allow for straightforward collaboration and communication, as well as activity and time tracking.