Learn 5 easy tips and tricks to manage remote teams successfully
A good communication and having well designed processes is key to make it work. Learn how to be efficient and productive while working remotely in the article!

Around March 2020, companies around the globe were forced to send their employees home and start to manage remote teams overnight (most literally). Yes, we are talking about the changes accelerated by the new Coronavirus pandemics. 

Little did we know that we would be having to deal with a decentralised reality for much longer than anticipated. And now, remote work and home office just seem a one-way road. Even in the post pandemic world, most companies decided to incorporate at least a hybrid working schedule: some days at the office and some days in which their teams can work remotely.

However, the work-from-home routine came as a sudden change for most companies and professionals. This means many are still ascending on the learning curve. In this article, we will help you with this challenge in the following topics:  

  • What are the pros and cons of having a remote team?
  • What are the main challenges to manage remote teams?
  • How to manage remote teams?

So, grab your mug of coffee or tea and let's master this work-from-home reality together!  

What are the main advantages of having a remote team?

Remote work is a huge shift not only in our day-to-day lives, but mainly in our culture. Although it is far from perfect, this work organization model also has many advantages. Let's start with them.  

Having more options when it comes to hiring

Working with a remote team definitely increases your possibilities when you need to hire good professionals for different roles. Instead of limiting yourself to the surrounding areas of your company, you can literally have your dream team member come from anywhere in the world. 

Not only will this give you the chance to find a better fit to your positions, but also you will fill in these gaps faster.  

Happier and more productive workers

More leaders than we can count are afraid that, working away from their sight, employees won't dedicate as much time to the job as they do on site. What researches reveal, though, is the exact opposite: remote workers tend to dedicate more hours to their jobs. 

Nevertheless, it is easier to choose when to work and also to conciliate working hours with other activities, such as family life, courses or hobbies. This is a great advantage that will increase your employees' quality of life, which will reflect on their productivity.  

What are the main challenges to manage remote teams?

But of course, it also poses many challenges both for workers and for leaders who must manage remote teams. Decentralised work is based on two pillars: trust and communication (besides, of course, a good internet connection). Consequently, the first challenge we would like to point out is the trust issue.

There is no way your remote team will succeed if most of your working hours are spent micromanaging their every step. To successfully manage a remote team, the leader must be confident enough to delegate tasks and know that they are being executed, even though the leader can't see it.

The second challenge we would like to highlight is communication. It will become more difficult once you don't have all your team in the same space. There are ways to get around that, as we are going to see in just a few minutes in this article. 

Finally, there is the thing that might be most difficult to admit: working remotely is not for everyone. Some people just don't feel comfortable being away from the office, while others seem to need a lot of remote work training before they can start to show satisfactory results. 

One implication of this challenge is that you might want to be more careful in your recruitment process, in order to find the best fit for the role. You will also probably need to invest in training, so that your team members adapt to the remote routine. And ultimately, you may need to let some of your members go, in case they really are not fit to life outside the office. 

The silverlining is that, as remote work becomes the norm, more skilled professionals will have the chance to learn how to operate under this system. So, odds are this last challenge won't be an issue in the near future.  

How to manage remote teams?

If you are a leader who is currently struggling with the challenge of managing remote teams, there are a few tips and tricks that can make a huge difference. Read the following topics to learn how to manage remote teams and lead them towards success.    

1. Design and present a roadmap

The first thing that will turn your remote work management into a positive experience is having a strategic plan and a roadmap that is widely known by every team member. Your employees must know what is being done, which are the main and specific goals of the project, who is accountable for what, which are the KPIs that will help you keep track of your progress.

Remember that good goals are SMART goals. That is, they must be:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time bound

Break big goals into smaller tasks which are easier to execute. The feeling of accomplishment when you get to the end of a phase is important for the motivation of your employees when you manage remote teams.

2. Specifically assign the people responsible for each task

Every process and every task must have someone who is accountable for it. Otherwise, there is a high risk that it won't get done. One person thinks that someone else is doing a specific task and no one actually does it.

Also, once you present to your team who is in charge for each process or activity, it is easier for other team members to know who could help them in case they have questions. 

3. Have a calendar with clear deadlines

By now, you already know that micromanagement is not the way when it comes to managing a remote team. Instead, what you can - and should! - do is set a calendar with specific deadlines for each task.

Once everyone knows when they are supposed to deliver an assignment, they will find their own way to make it happen. Make sure the deadlines are negotiated with the team, not imposed by the leader. Once people actually participate in the decision making process, they tend to get more engaged.

4. Work on your communication

Good communication is key to your remote team to succeed. As a leader, you must open channels and establish a routine to encourage your employees to exchange information, report to you and their colleagues and have a holistic view of the current situation.

One of the most efficient ways to do so and not get lost in endless virtual meetings is by organising your processes. Once you have a clear workflow, with predetermined steps and people responsible for each task, it is much easier to keep track of what everyone is doing. 

In addition, we recommend you establish a video call routine for quick updates on the status of work. Use agile methodologies to keep them brief and efficient. 

5. Start working in an extranet environment

An extranet is a secure and controlled space that can be accessed from outside the company's walls. In this area, you can upload documents that your team needs to do their work, set and share the work calendar, assign who is responsible for what, monitor the team's productivity and optimise their communication. 

If you are already feeling more confident to manage remote teams and would like to start making changes right away, preparing the environment where your employees will work should be the first step. 

Scriptor Server by Viatecla is a highly customizable tool that offers the possibility of an extranet environment to fulfil your specific needs. Besides creating the perfect digital and decentralised space where your team can work and collaborate, you can also have different areas for various teams. For example, your HR area can have access to documents that your marketing department doesn't need, and vice versa. 

Working as a BPM system, Scriptor Server will also allow you to easily build your business processes, keep track of your KPIs, and generate reports. As a result, your team will gain in productivity and efficiency

Tell us your needs, and we will help you co-create the perfect environment for your remote team to succeed! 

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