Successfully managing remote teams comes down to everyone knowing their role and playing it effectively.
But, studies show that the majority of people at work don’t understand what’s expected of them, which often leads to higher stress levels and poor productivity in both individuals and teams.
If you want to overcome this challenge, setting clear and concise expectations with your team is an effective strategy that can pay major dividends in performance.
So, read the rest of this article to discover 5 tips for managing high-performing remote teams.
1. Practice Clear and Concrete Communication
Regular communication is a key factor in the success of any team. But, having different individuals on the same team who are physically isolated from each other presents managers with a huge problem when it comes to maintaining the visibility of all team members at one time.
That’s why it’s crucial to have clear and concrete communication with everyone on your remote team. And for that to happen in a safe online environment, we suggest you use a secure video conferencing software like Tauria.
Although there may be communication gaps when monitoring your team from a distance, you can still make a point of scheduling regular discussions using efficient communication tools so you and your team members stay in touch.
Tools you can use include:
- Video conferencing tools and video editing software to convey your messages to your team creatively and clearly
- Project management tools
- File sharing and collaboration tools
You can also use simple email processes to improve communication. Darshan Somashekar, who runs gaming platform Spider Solitaire Challenge, explains, “Everyone on our team sends a daily email about their progress and goals for the next day. It’s easy, keeps us in sync, and as a result we’ve improved the development speed of our solitaire games.”
To help you get rid of communication barriers such as those that might arise when trying to communicate with a team that works in vastly different time zones, make sure you think ahead, particularly when it comes to bigger discussions so you can schedule calls ahead of time.
By staying extremely organized, and using the right tools, you will maintain clear communication and avoid wasting your time, as well as that of your team members.
2. Conduct Regular Check-ins
Staying in touch through structured check-ins is another important factor in managing remote high-performing teams. You need to conduct regular check-ins so you can track employee productivity.
It can be challenging trying to track the productivity levels of your remote workers on a ground-level basis.
But, even without an “umbrella” approach for monitoring remote workers (such as you would have in a traditional scenario), you can still achieve the objective by organizing yourself ahead of time in order to facilitate structured check-ins for your team members, and your entire team as a whole.
A good recommendation is to conduct a weekly team meeting, as well as one-on-one meetings with your direct reports so you can provide your employees with a dedicated space in which to receive coaching and advice on their priorities.
You can also use this time to exchange feedback and set or update professional development goals.
As long as you create a transparent environment where your team members feel safe to communicate and offer feedback, your regular check-ins will provide you with a ton of helpful information that will help you to move your team forward.
3. Focus on the Right Touchpoints
Every operation involves a lot of moving parts. Remote operations, in particular, require more focus on the different touchpoints in order for managers to successfully manage teams.
Whether you are upholding team rituals or establishing new ones, having frequent touchpoints will help to keep your remote employees aligned and in rhythm. It also helps to provide opportunities for human connection.
Some of the most important touchpoints to focus on include:
- Kickoff: An initial face-to-face meeting with any new team members will go a long way in keeping your team connected. If not possible to meet in person, using video will do.
- Onboarding: Give an in-person welcome to new members whenever possible, or encourage them to video conference with you and the rest of the team in order to help set up the foundation for their success.
- Milestones: As a virtual team leader, you need to continually motivate your team members to help them deliver their best. One way to do so is by getting people together (in person or online) to crack through tough problems or celebrate achievements of short-term goals. This is a great way to sustain momentum.
Of course, just contacting employees at certain designated times doesn’t have to be the only time you reach out. You can also consider creating internet communication channels to help with this as well.
This includes things like a private YouTube channel, monthly webinars, building a company podcast, email newsletters, or any other consistent means of communication.
4. Develop Standard Operating Procedures
Yet another key factor in successfully managing high-performing remote teams is having established processes that are constantly being refined.
You need to develop and strengthen a set of rules for your remote workers to follow as they work to complete the assigned tasks.
This can be done with courses that your team personally creates, or by getting a hold of some PLR courses that you find helpful.
Put your SOPs together in a document that is easily available to all members of your team.
This document should explain the following:
- The tasks assigned to the different employees in specific positions
- The most productive or efficient way to complete said tasks
- All the resources required to complete the tasks at hand
Although it’s essential to specify and make the processes as clear as possible, it’s also important to build flexibility into your standard operating procedures.
This will give your remote team room to exercise their critical thinking skills and autonomy whenever necessary.
Consider automating repetitive, unproductive tasks like client invoicing or employee expense management to give your remote employees more time to focus on their core goals.
5. Boost Your Team’s Sense of Purpose
Although last on the list of the 5 tips to managing remote high-performing teams, this is no less important than the rest. This whole concept was originally examined by scientific management theory and without it, most companies wouldn’t focus on keeping their employees happy.
You need to be able to boost your team’s sense of purpose if you are going to help them maintain their success over time.
Whether you’re hiring college students to work online, or you have full-time employees who have years of tenure, giving a sense of purpose will build a stronger relationship between your employees and the company itself.
An effective way to do this is by using the company mission or goals for the year and making sure the team knows how their work fits into achieving those goals.
It’s easy for high-performing teams to lose direction and defining the future picture and helping them understand exactly what they’re working towards can help to boost their sense of purpose.
As a manager, it’s your job to emotionally connect employees to the company’s mission and ensure that each member of your team knows their role in helping the company achieve success.
A good example of this can be seen below by the folks at Grubhub.
While this post is mostly showcasing how Gurbhub has teamed up with a partner to support local restaurants in the pandemic, it also helps all Grubhub Drivers understand that what they are doing goes far beyond delivering food.
By helping Grubhub succeed, they’re allowing the company to help many small businesses make it through this tough time.
These 5 tips will help you manage high-performing remote teams. Use them to ensure that you are always doing your best to maintain your team’s productivity, meet your goals, and keep your company growing.
Are you using any of the tips in this article to help you manage your remote team? If so, share your experience in the comments below!
Ron Stefanski is an online entrepreneur and marketing professor who has a passion for helping people create and market their own online business. You can learn more from him by visiting OneHourProfessor.com