Managing Remote Teams Effectively

With the Covid-19 pandemic setting in for what appears to be yet another year, the challenge of effectively managing remote teams is set to continue. For business managers and team leaders this includes keeping the business engine running by finding new ways to motivate, support and encourage their staff who are working from home. Certainly, no easy task! With the continued success of business operations at stake, we have put together a list of our top 5 ways, business owners, managers and team leaders can effectively manage remote teams in 2022.

1. Communication

It all starts with communication! Well, at least that’s what the ‘experts’ say. In all seriousness through, communication really is one of those absolute, must have, essentials.

Effective communication really is the key to success when it comes to managing remote teams and is one of the most difficult things to change when it comes to transitioning from working internally in the office, to working remotely or in a hybrid working arrangement. Many staff feel isolated working from home without the social interaction that working within an office can provide. Ensuring that you communicate with your team frequently and regularly can assist in managing the isolation.

Additionally, whilst communicating frequently can take care of the isolation issue, what method of communication you use, and maintaining a level of consistency is also pivotal. Having a set method of communication, can also greatly assist your team in continuing to feel connected and together and can also be a useful tool in terms of record keeping. Some of the most popular methods of communication, particularly throughout the Covid-19 pandemic have been Skype, Zoom and Microsoft Teams. These programs use real time video technology, so your staff can continue to have discussion in real time despite being based remotely.

2. Maintaining morale

The second way to effectively manage remote teams, is really like the twin sister of communication, with morale and communication going hand in hand. Just as in a normal workplace environment, the job of maintaining employee morale falls to business owners, managers, and team leaders. Motivated staff equals a happy workplace and culture, whether that be within and office or at home.

So how do you maintain morale when your team is based at various locations? Simple, create a culture where your employees love the environment and the workplace culture you provide. This involves, being flexible, rewarding hard work with reduced hours and checking in with your staff regularly.

Employees who feel that their employer or manager is simply not hearing or listening to them, can experience a drop in morale, which is why talking an active interest in your staff, exploring their career coals, supporting their future aspirations, and genuinely caring about their welfare are all effective morale raising tools.

3. Flexibility

Ever heard the saying, “flexibility is key”, well that is certainly relevant when it comes to effectively managing remote teams.

Remote teams generally see people working from home, in what was once their own private space, a space in which your business is now imposing. This home environment can come with many other challenges such as children, house duties, pets and potentially other families who are also working and studying from home. These distractions need to be managed.

A flexible attitude to working at home arrangements will assist with this. Having the expectation that your employees will sit at the computer 9-5 isn’t really practical. Offering your employees, the flexibility to start earlier, work later, complete some work over a weekend for example, will ensure that the work gets done and the employee stays happy and motivated in their space, and not torn between their home life and work responsibilities.

4. Providing effective resources

This one is a bit of a given; however, it is certainly worth noting. If you want your employees to work effectively remotely, then provide them with the tools to do so!

This may require you to provide technology, printers, scanner, laptops, and stationery, desks, chairs, telephones and can also include things like subscriptions and access to useful technology programs such as Skype and Zoom, which enable effective communication and maintain their morale whilst they are working in this mode.

During the covid-19 pandemic many organisations, recognising that their employees may be experiencing stress, anxiety, and frustration at the changes to their workplaces and working environments, took advantage of services such as employee mental health and well being programs, and healthy lifestyle programs, which provided employees with access to things like counselling services, fruit deliveries and online workout programs. If your business is in a position to afford these services not only, are they effective resources for your staff whilst working remotely, they are vital in terms of maintaining morale and fostering great workplace culture.

5. Focusing on outcomes

As a business owner, manager, or team leader, you want to see outcomes, increases in sales and overall, you require productivity. By focusing on outcomes rather than activity, recognising that you cannot manage every aspect of your team members processes, whilst working remotely, will ensure that you meet these goals.

It is also really important with a remote team to foster collaboration, which goes back to communication and maintaining morale.

Most importantly, celebrating your wins, and successful outcomes is equally as important for a remote team, as it is for a team that is working in-house. Those Friday night drinks you once used to have in the office to celebrate a successful week, well there is no reason this can’t be done remotely, with everyone logging in to have a virtual drink together.

Despite being 2 years into the increased nature of remote working and managing remote teams, it is never too late to adopt some new effective management strategies, such as those outlined above, into your remote work set up.

If you are looking for advice relating to effectively managing your remote team effectively and considering implementing some new strategies into your HR processes, give the team at Dreamstone HR a call today on (02) 8320 9320 or and let our team take the stress out of your remote team management processes.

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