managing a remote team

Ways to manage a remote team effectively

With the rapid changes in the business world come interesting variations in the way they operate. The digital revolution has brought new trends at the workplace and in the way they function.

A particularly novel development is the emergence of remote working and the advent of remote teams. It does broaden the scope of hiring and also cuts down costs of premises and related expenses. But with that come the challenges of distance and the disadvantages of the regular office set-up.

So if remote teams are the need of the hour and the way forward, how best can you work around the challenges and manage them more effectively?

Hire the right people and keep them trained  

Without getting the right people who can be up to delivering without regular supervision and are self-starters with the right blend of initiative and maturity, it will be an uphill task.

Find the people who fit this brief and half your battle is won. Keep them updated and on top of things, ensure that you follow up their hiring with systematic and top quality training. Make sure that you communicate all changes and updates to them on an ongoing basis.

Keep in touch regularly, Communicate, Provide Feedback

Of course, even with the best of talent, remember this is no ordinary work arrangement. Your team members may be in the same city or far away in another country but they are not in your office premises.

It is critical that you are constantly in touch with them over the phone or, better still, on Skype or any other video platform for all day to day requirements. Be it to catch up or share feedback or even to wish them, keeping in touch is the way to go!

Set goals, KRAs and KPIs and track them regularly

Not being face to face or under the same roof, it is paramount that there is absolute clarity in what is expected of each team member. Spell it all out clearly in terms of the team and individual goals, the key result areas and the performance indicators and outcomes.

Regular tracking and monitoring at periodic intervals need to be done. Besides the constant feedback, build a formal performance evaluation system too.

Bring and retain an office culture and bond well

Even if you are not in a conventional office environment, it is all the more important to simulate it and retain that corporate feel even when working remotely. Build an office culture by making team members feel that they are part of the company and are key players.

Holding daily huddles over a video or a con-call, having both one-on-ones and team meetings, having an organised work schedule and adhering to it can help instil this. Respect each other’s time but also while giving it demand commitment. Applaud top performers publicly and also celebrate as a team through physical meetings at least once a year.

Build loyalty and make trust the cornerstone

In spite of the remoteness and the lack of proximity, every team member needs to feel bonded and connected to the immediate team and the overall organisation.

They should see and feel the trust factor the company has in them and given complete transparency on matters pertaining to them. The more they connect emotionally, the more they will be able to contribute positively.

Managing a remote team can be frustrating, at times. That said, ticking off the above key points can make it an enjoyable and productive arrangement.

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