Some companies like Zapier, Trello, and Buffer have had remote employees since as early as 2012. And due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many more companies have switched their employees to remote work–and some plan to keep it that way even after social distancing is a thing of the past.
So whether your company is already remote or you simply want to be prepared to manage a remote team someday soon, read on to learn the ins and outs of keeping your team on track from your home.
How To Manage A Remote Team in 2020
Working remotely isn’t always easy. Managing a remote team can be even tougher. But here are the important things to know to help make it easier:
Hire The Right People
Some people simply aren’t going to thrive in a remote environment. When hiring for a remote team, look for “doers.” Doers are people who are motivated and independent. They work well on their own with minimal direction. When you need something done, a doer will make it happen.
Trust Your Team
When you’re not working in the same office with people, it can be easy to think they might be slacking off. You might even be tempted to give into the urge to micromanage.
But remote teams only work when there’s a level of trust between members. Worrying about what your team members are doing takes time and energy away from your tasks. If you can’t trust your team members to do their work, they might not be right for your team in the first place.
Communication Is Key
The key to successfully managing a remote team is setting up clear communication channels between all members. Make sure your team members are connected to each other, as well as yourself. A good manager will be available through a few different mediums, like slack, email, and phone, so that people can contact them the way they’re most comfortable.
It’s also important to hone your written communication skills, as most information shared remotely is written. Your writing should be clear, grammatically correct, and informative so that you and your team are on the same page.
Part of communication is managing expectations. If you want your remote team to thrive, you need to set clear (and realistic!) expectations for their work.
This sets your team up for success by making sure everyone knows what tasks need to be done, why, and when. It’s also important to share how you measure success, so team members know what to focus on.
Support Your Team
Let’s face it, remote work can be difficult on many levels–especially for people who were forced to work remotely by COVID-19. That’s why it’s crucial to make sure your team knows that you’re there to support them. According to the Harvard Business Review, managers should make a point to check-in with employees, acknowledge their stress, and empathize with their struggles.
Not sure how to approach the situation? A quick message asking about how they’re adjusting to remote work can start the conversation.
Companies like Zapier, Trello, and Buffer have been remote since as early as 2012–and for good reason. It’s cheaper, can encourage productivity, and lets you hire from a wider pool of talent. As remote work becomes part of the new normal during COVID-19, being able to manage a remote team is bound to become an indispensable skill.
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