Let’s face it! Until COVID struck, ‘remote working’ wasn’t a widely embraced concept and nor was it encouraged in any form or way. Yes, we would hear about the nomad working, the boom of freelancers and outsourced teams – still, the idea of managing remote employees long-term wasn’t on the table.
Why do you ask? Simply because of the many drawbacks it posed. First, the communication barrier. Although technological advancements have allowed us to basically rely on the electronics and the internet to carry out the majority of our processes. However, when it comes to team collaborations and meetings, in-person discussions were deemed more productive. Simply because there is no room left for miscommunication. Also, the managers or supervisors have a better grip on everyone’s progress.
Now, after all, said above, we are now in a different and challenging time. Even if we don’t talk about how COVID has changed workplaces’ dynamics by pushing everyone to ‘Work-From-Home’ – there are still teams that are stationed in various parts of the globe. So, managers could definitely use some tips that would allow them to keep their teams motivated and on top of their game.
Tip #1: Track Worked Hours, Attendance, and Other Metrics
In case your team is in quarantine, then chances are they work a 9-5 job that is easily trackable as the hours are fixed. However, if you are paying by hours, then you would need something more substantial, like custom software to track how long each person worked and which project they are active on.
You can get in touch with a software development company in Houston that is well-versed in making such applications that cater to your needs and requirements, ensuring easy tracking and managing of teams.
For instance, you can ask the developers’ team to show you team members working on tasks in real-time. In addition, you can also check on the websites being visited, applications in-use, and the time and quantity of breaks taken. Moreover, you can have a complete system of leave applications, and in-app chat (group and single) enabled as well.
Tip #2 Allow Flexibility in Work Hours
Since working from home does come with its set of distractions; so, one or two members would request you a different set of timing or a certain level of flexibility from you. It is essential that you allow a certain level of ease within their work hours. However, tread carefully because if everyone is independently working on their own requested timings, things can go out of your hand. The entire idea of remote collaboration as a unified team will be lost.
Nonetheless, occasional relief is important and should be given.
Tip #3 Build a System
Remote team handling requires a specific system that should be followed religiously to ensure streamlined work processes. Having a system and process by which everything is carried out – from communication, collaboration, handling of errors, and much more – will keep things running smoothly without everyone treading in separate directions.
You need to understand that since this isn’t an office setting where members can simply chat up in person and discuss – a systemic process that provides guidelines as to how to carry out work is of utmost importance.
Tip #4 Arrange Meetings with Time Zones in Mind
If your members work in different time zones, that can make communication quite a challenge. This will also make it hard for important meetings as well, and you would have to come up with a time that overlaps and is perfect for everyone – including yourself.
However, depending on your work, having members from different countries working on the same project can make it difficult for everyone to be present for important group meetings. This is why, if possible, it is best to hire members from the same time zone.
Tip #5 Do ‘Well-Being’ Review Every Three Months
In the light of COVID and otherwise, remotely working from home isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. It is your job to make sure each member is doing well and is not facing any hurdles or issues. Often times, working from home lessens productivity and progress over time. Other times, a member may be facing specific issues pertaining to mental health or others that they are unable to communicate. As a manager, you need to do a quarterly check-up making sure everyone is doing well and is not in need of any help.
Tip #6 Make Use of Documents and Spreadsheets
Yes, it is 2020, and you must be wondering about spreadsheets. Believe it or not, these shared spreadsheets that can be edited by multiple people help keep track of important details. You can place these documents in shared Google Drive or Dropbox – convenient. We usually speak about elaborate software that makes project management a breeze, these handy pre-existing tools are also quite useful.
Tip #7 Choose a Suitable Communication Style
Depending on the need of the hour, you can choose a communication style that suits best with your entire remote team.
There are many styles that you can make use of:
Email: For the quick briefing, memos, and interactions that can wait and viewed when each member clocks-in. You can use the group chat option as well, but if it is an elaborate content that requires a proper medium, then an email will work best.
Chat: For quick and instant real-time communication, you can use chat platforms like Skype, Google Meet, and others.
Video Chat: Communication that needs to be handled via voice and video calls can be handled over tools that facilitate that. Moreover, voice and video chat gives you clues as to what context and tone are being used; which ultimately allows you to understand your members on a better level.
As much as it is important for you to effectively manage remote teams, it is equally important for you to make sure they all are comfortable with each other and have a developed bond. Since teamwork is the most important factor, your members should be able to communicate properly and openly with each other to avoid unnecessary issues, delays, and miscommunication leading to project delays and losses.
Zubair is a digital enthusiast who loves to write on various trends, including Tech, Software Development, AI, and Personal Development. He is a passionate blogger and loves to read and write. He currently works at Koderlabs , that offers top-notch software development services to clients across the globe.