Working remotely has been on the rise in recent years. Given the current global health situation, remote work is at an all-time high and business owner and managers are starting to notice significant improvements in performance and team morale. So, it’s safe to say that many companies would make remote work one of their top priorities in the future.
Even though this approach is greatly beneficial not only to employees but to employers as well, there are some things to think about when it comes to managing workflow and keeping everything on pace and schedule. Since it’s fairly obvious that remote work will become the norm in the years to come, we’ve decided to give out a few tips on how to keep everything running smoothly when managing remote teams.
1. Establish A Schedule
One of the first things that come to mind when thinking about working remotely or from home is schedule flexibility. By its nature, the schedule of those who work from their home is a lot different than when working from the office, but that doesn’t mean that anyone can work at any time they please. Coordination is one of the key factors when it comes to working from home. Everyone on the team should coordinate and cooperate with each other in one way or the other. The best way to keep everyone on pace and in sync is to have them work in fairly similar hours. This doesn’t mean that there should be a strict policy on work hours because the key to productive remote work lies mostly in schedule flexibility, but some work-hour guidelines should exist.
2. Encourage Flexibility
Now, we know what we’ve said just a moment ago, but hear us out – sometimes this approach can be quite useful, too. It’s all about understating your team and what they bring to the table. Let’s say you have an early bird and a night owl in your team and they are the two of the best workers on the team. Should you force one or the other to change? No, of course not. Embrace them. Set everything up in such a way so that you can benefit from both of them. Set their goals in a way so that it doesn’t matter which time of day or night they get to work. Sometimes it’s best to tailor to your employees’ needs or preferences if it delivers quality results.
3. Have Weekly Online Team Meetings
One of the greatest setbacks a company or a team can suffer is the lack of communication. Lack of communication, especially with remote teams, can lead to missed deadlines, failed projects, misunderstandings and so much more. It’s somewhat easy to stay on the same page when all of you are under the same roof each and every day and just a desk away, but, since that’s not the case here – you have to adjust to the situation. The best thing you can do here is to schedule regular team meetings to discuss on-going or future projects. That is a great way for everyone to stay in the loop and on top of their assignments and the keep the whole thing moving forward.
4. Embrace The Technology
You’re already dependent on technology in one way or another if you’re dealing with remote teams and work from home – so why not use the most of it? Numerous apps and programs can make your life so much easier in these instances. Email and Zoom meetings are certainly a big part of it, but they do require you to put in some additional time and effort and they’re not necessarily ideal for situations where you just need to relay a short message across. In those instances, you’d be much better off using something less formal and certainly a lot quicker, are we correct?
Phone calls can feel a bit too excessive and DM-ing someone just feels too unprofessional, but how about the combination of two? With EchoApp, you can record and send transcribed voice messages in real-time to any of the team members and virtually recreate an office setting where you’d walk across to their desk to ask a simple question. It’s things like these that make working remotely effortless and highly productive.
5. Set Goals, Not Schedule
When it comes to remote teams, it’s sometimes hard to get out of the 8-hour shift mindset. In some cases, there’s just not enough things to do for 8 hours and in some cases, even 12 hours isn’t enough to get everything done. That’s why it’s important to change the approach when it comes to setting goals. It’s not about your employees clocking in a 40-hour workweek – it’s about hitting the goals for that week, month or a quarter.
If your employee can hit his goals in half the time it’s a winning situation for both of you. You have your results way ahead of schedule and they have more free time on their hands and you can even come to an agreement for an employee to take on additional tasks and responsibilities if that’s what you both want. On the other hand, if they’re required to stay logged in for 8 hours each day, their focus will be on being logged in for 8 hours – not on the goal and the project itself.
6. Recognize Their Work
Everyone can agree that office celebrations upon finished projects or hit milestones are a great thing. Everyone’s happy and congratulating each other, everyone’s hard work and contribution is recognized and valued and situations like those are crucial for team morale and motivation. With remote teams, it’s almost impossible to recreate those situations. You don’t have an opportunity to walk up to someone, shake their hand or tap them on the shoulder and congratulate them on the job well-done.
However, what you can do is, every time there’s a virtual meeting or milestone is hit, recognize and compliment the team on the hard work and met goals. Recognition is easily one of the greatest motivators in business and is always a great strategy to keep things moving forward.
As you can see, managing workflow in these situations is certainly easier said than done, but, it’s not impossible. If you follow a few of these simple tips, you’re guaranteed to see positive results within a time period.