How to Manage a Remote Team without the Stress

How to Manage a Remote Team without the Stress

Remote teams are mainstream and no longer a nice to have approach. There has been a significant paradigm shift in how companies are striving to build and manage remote teams successfully.

Managers were forced to wake up to a reality at an unprecedented scale where the entire team is remote.

Suddenly, the normal processes and collaboration practices do not hold good for remote team management.

For most, a revamp of how they communicate, collaborate and support their teams became imminent.

And suddenly, managers had to ask themselves:

  • How do I continue to generate the same productivity levels from my team?
  • How do we collaborate at scale?
  • How to maintain steady information exchange while maintaining data security and privacy?
  • How to work with uncertainties in team availability?
  • How do I support my team well?

At face value, some may say the answers are simple. May be! But implementation and practical results are a different beast altogether.

First and foremost the team’s well-being and ability to work remotely is a must. And then comes the daily operations part.

And even before that managers have to relook into their leadership style and approach.

Let’s see what has worked so far for our customers and us at Orangescrum with remote team management.

Set your home office

Remote work doesn’t mean you become a couch potato. It’s detrimental and will directly impact your productivity. It is bound to slow you down, lead to boredom and inconsistent performance.

Hence, help and encourage your team to have a proper office setup at home. A quiet corner with minimum distractions and all the relevant tools required to operate non-disruptively.

Today all you need is a good laptop and internet connectivity to get going. Well, some communication hardware like a camera, headset and mic have also become necessary.

See, if the company can help provide/fund some of these equipment if possible. Most likely yes. And this will also boost the team’s motivation and commitment to keep going and be serious towards work.

Set meeting cadence

This is very crucial. Stay in touch with your team. But with a set routine so as not to disrupt the daily or weekly proceedings. Too many meetings will eat away productive hours and leave little room for deliverables.

When the teams know when to communicate and how, they are assured you have their back.

This also means they can reach you when required and that they are not left out high and dry.

Moreover, it helps to set a routine to their day and adds a sense of discipline to the work from home approach.

Not only that, they know that they are to report progress, deliver results in these meetings and hence need to prepare well.

And lastly, there is clarity of what is expected from them.

Set expectations

It becomes all the more crucial to ensure that the teams understand the added responsibility while working remotely.

Hence, provide utmost clarity on task assignments, deadlines and desired outcomes. Just doing a task and logging time won’t cut it.

Make it clear that outcomes will be the key performance parameter.

As investigating and snooping won’t help. End of the day it is about the value of the deliverables.

Hence, hold them accountable to the outcomes.

It ain’t done, if the outcome isn’t as expected.

Devote enough time to provide clarity on the customer expectations, project goals and reiterate them as many times as required.

Collaborate Transparently

Enable transparent collaboration across the board. Ensure there are no information gaps.

One missing info with one team member can halt the execution progress.

Hence, all team members must have the same version and information as applicable at all times.

Else, each member will have a different understanding and perception of what needs to be done and create chaos.

Remember that the team is remote and identifying such gaps will be very difficult as there are no more hallways communications or shoulder taps!

Best is to provide a centralized collaboration tool that provides a single source of truth.

Thus information exchange will be seamless, any change of status or arrival of new piece of information is visible to all.

Less confusion, less chaos more execution.

Take feedback, listen and improve

Note, experimenting with various tools, ideas or processes to find what works best for your team is a must.

There are no right or wrong answers or ways to improve coordination and remote team collaboration.

Some prefer using lot of tools for every other type of activity. Some see too many tools as distraction.

Similarly your team may like 2 quick meetings at the beginning and end of the day. Some teams may prefer just one at the end of day.

You get the idea.

Do carve out time for a full-on team meeting. Encourage teams to share

  • Highlights of the week
  • Key accomplishment or learning
  • Obstacles that need attention
  • Ways to fix existing pain points
  • Celebrate quick wins

These meetings will reduce the office connect syndrome. Being in touch with the team, video chats and meetings add fun to a heavy workday and act as stress busters.

Surely, the team will have things to laugh at, celebrate or pain-storm for better results.

Most importantly, it will lead to a cohesive unit that is focused on the goals and have each other’s backs.

Just like the US Navy Seals!

Conclusion

As always, your role is to keep the team, information and communication organized. Don’t be hard pressed for doing things a certain way.

What works for the team is in your best interest too. Give them the framework, communicate the benefits, monitor how they work with it and relax.

Step in when you do not see the desired results. Don’t get all anxious and wreck your day with constant check-ins. Remember you too have work to do and a life to lead.

Empower the teams, coach and lead the way. Let them know you are always available when they need you and define how and where they can reach you.

It will breed further confidence and also enable them to be self-organized.

Most importantly, trust begets trust! Build a culture of trust, open communication and high performance.

Rest will be taken care of automatically!

So, how do you intend to keep your ducks in a row?

Start with Orangescrum’s 14 day free trial today or talk to our experts on our journey with remote team management through 2020 and beyond!

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