Tips for Managing a Remote Team

Remote work is here to stay, which means managers have to master the art of handling a geographically diverse workforce. While the logistics of remote work are entirely new, the need for mutual respect and cooperation is as old as time. Here’s how you can get the most out of working with a remote team.

Make Sure Everyone Is Included

Zoom meetings represent a fantastic way to bring a remote team together, but they can make it difficult for introverts to speak up and get involved. To ensure you’re hearing from everybody, make a point of asking people for their input directly. You can also encourage people to type their contributions and send them through the chat feature.

Keep Team Members Motivated

One downside to remote work is that workers often struggle to feel engaged. You can overcome this by prioritizing motivation. Set realistic goals for team members, and see if collaborative projects help people stay involved.

Establish Clear Expectations

Workers enjoy the flexibility that remote work provides, so make sure you take advantage of that by encouraging workers to set their own schedules. Instead of creating rigid rules, try drafting a set of basic expectations related to schedules and productivity. If you state clearly that everyone is expected to be online on Monday mornings and Thursday afternoons, you can keep your workforce together while letting people create a routine that works for them.

Set and Maintain Boundaries

Remote work shouldn’t mean people have to spend their entire lives in “work mode.” To ensure everyone maintains a healthy work-life balance, set boundaries and create certain times when correspondence is off-limits. Burnout is the one disease that can spread even in a virtual office.

Engage in Consistent Communication

While you don’t want to take up too much of people’s time, daily communication will keep everybody on the team fully engaged. Find a cadence that keeps people in the loop without driving them insane.

Provide Plenty of Feedback

In a remote environment, workers don’t naturally receive interpersonal cues telling them how they’re performing. That’s why managers have to make a conscious effort to provide consistent feedback. If someone is doing a good job, send them a message to let them know. Otherwise, they won’t understand what’s working and what isn’t.

Make Time for Team-Building

Remote work might make team-building less practical, but it also makes it especially important. There are plenty of activities you can do online, from virtual games to hilarious quizzes. These silly, lighthearted moments will bridge the gap between workers sitting on opposite coasts.

Be Kind and Empathetic

Working remotely means missing out on the day-to-day interactions that we used to take for granted. As a manager, you can make up for this shortfall by going out of your way to be gracious and kind. Ask about people’s weekends. Check in on their family lives. A little empathy can go a long way toward creating a genuine sense of camaraderie despite the limitations of virtual communication.

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