Managing a remote team requires different skills and strategies than managing onsite workers. If your IT team will work remotely in 2023, you’ll need to strike a balance between accountability and trust. You will also need to rethink how you measure performance. Here are a few tips.
Set Clear Expectations
Employees and managers need to be on the same page, especially when a remote team is involved. Create process documents and best practices that include everything from working hours to production workflows. Also decide how and when you will check in with remote workers. It’s not fair to suddenly initiate a video call, for example, with an employee who may be in their pajamas.
Your remote team members will largely work autonomously, but regular check-ins are vital for keeping the lines of communication open. Set up short one-on-one meetings once a week, and let employees know how to contact you between times. Give them the option of written communication rather than relying solely on video chats.
Schedule Team Meetings
Depending on your team’s workload and project schedules, plan for team meetings once every week or two. This is your employees’ opportunity to virtually get together with their coworkers and remain engaged with the team. While the meetings should be productive, allow your employees some room to be human. Encourage them to have fun while also remaining professional, and don’t stress out about dogs barking or children popping into view. Consider using icebreakers to encourage your more introverted team members to participate.
Utilize Communication and Collaboration Technologies
Set your workers up for success by providing them with the platforms they need to collaborate remotely. Be sure to provide adequate training and a system for requesting help. Allow them to communicate with each other in the ways they prefer, such as text messaging or email, while keeping all major project discussions on a single platform.
Measure Outcomes, Not Seat Time
One of the things remote workers love most is the flexibility it provides. Resist the urge to log keystrokes or require remote team members to keep a camera in their faces. Let the work product speak for itself, regardless of how long it takes or what time of day each employee chooses to work. It’s reasonable to set a few core hours for everyone to be available, such as 10-2 on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but try to keep these to a minimum.
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