The Fundamentals of Remote Work Management
Most people work in an office but more and more people are starting to think about working remotely. For some, being in one geographic location isn't the best option economically. Others prefer remote working simply because of its ease and flexibility. Even though remote teams have been around for a long time, we're constantly looking for new ways to manage those teams more effectively. You can best manage your remote employees and get work done smartly and easily with these fundamentals in mind.
1 - Stay in touch
For all companies and teams, communication is a basic necessity. People need to be able to talk to each other people to get work done. This is especially true for remote employees, as they don’t have the luxury of being able to swing by your desk to ask questions. Whether your team is completely remote, or you work in a mixed environment with both remote and office-based employees, you need to have strong communication between all team members to keep things running smoothly.
What happens when you fail to establish the right setup?
Sometimes, your work setup is to blame for making your team members feel left out. If you are not having regular video conferences or online meetings with all your employees, your remote employees can feel especially left out.
This can then lead to disengagement. Your employees can pull their weight back and not contribute to their maximum potential. They simply sit there and wait for the project manager or other team members to provide them instructions on what to do. You would miss valuable insights from those team members, and more importantly, their input.
If you are noticing something along these lines in your team members, it is time to make a few changes.
What’s the solution?
Opt for video calls
Nothing beats face-to-face communication. And you can best emulate that with video calls. Pick up the phone or connect over video, using software like zoom or online webinar, to make the conversation more natural.
A lot of times, a concept cab be too complicated. In such occasions, chat isn't the right medium. So, it is best to opt for a video meeting.
This is a great strategy to use as a manager when you are working with a remote team. If something takes more than a minute to explain, just jump into zoom or online webinar.
With remote work, you want to move from the one-way communication or directives to more of a two-way collaboration. By adding the face-to-face component in your daily remote work management, it helps people feel more engaged and gives them the safety and security to contribute.
Repeat important things three times. If there's something important, you need to say it three times before people will remember it. Since with remote work you don't have a shared space where you run into someone in the hallway. So you need to make sure you communicate really, really well.
Have an overlap time
Another really important thing, especially as you're working across different time zones, is to have common overlap time. Plan out your meetings, schedule tasks and future meetings based on your overlap time.
Have an annual off-site meeting
It’s really important you have an annual, off-site team meeting. Why is it a good idea? Because this is where we make those human-to-human relationships and get to know someone as a human. It is when your employees connect with each other and realize that they’re we're not just an avatar on a software, but an actual person. Make sure that if you're saving a bunch of money because you don't have an office to funnel that money into off site meetings or other fun things where people can connect with each other.
2 - Have the Right Setup
Remote work isn't for everyone, and it's not for every company. In order to have a successful remote work setup, you have to have some things in place before you even get started.
And for that, high-speed internet should be a top priority.
For example, if you are thinking of hiring new people in places where maybe internet access isn't the most readily available facility, you need to think things through. Either you are going to provide them with a means to communicate yourself, or you are going to redirect your hiring elsewhere.
Then, you need tools. Tools are really important, so make sure to choose the right tools for your company. After that, ensure that everyone is using those tools to stay on the same page. Everybody needs to standardize around the same set of tools for different types of communication.
3 - Establish rules
You also need a common set of rules for engagement. You need to have well-communicated policies to make sure that everyone is operating on the same rules.
One of the fundamental rules you need to lay down in your organization is that every person who's working remotely needs to have a dedicated space for work. It can be either their office or a place that they go to do their work.
They can't just be working from their kitchen, because well, that's distracting. They also can’t base their daily work in a coffee shop all the time as it might not have seamless internet access or their concentration can get marred. So you need to have a dedicated space for your employees as a rule, because remote work is all about setting yourself up to be successful and productive.
There you have it, the fundamentals of managing work remotely to ensure that your remote work experiment is successful.
The bottom line is that for managers and co-workers to develop successful relationships with remote workers, they all have to make changes.
Have confidence and trust in your remote employees. Help them stay on the same page with the rest of the team. By setting the right infrastructure to help make remote work as accessible and efficient as possible, you are setting yourself up for success.