Four tips for managing a remote team (even if you’ve never met them)
BlogHR Advice Posted: Tuesday 31st July 2018 by
Virtual teams, remote working, telecommunicating. Call it what you will, in the digital age there’s increasingly less need for colleagues to share the same floor space or even the same geography.
However, as popular as it has become, working via virtual teams brings its own challenges. The role of the team leader, in particular, becomes that bit more complex when you might never meet some of your charges in the flesh.
For remote working to be successful, an organised and structured approach is required with the manager taking control and each member of the team working in sync. Here’s our tips for managing a remote team and making the process run as smoothly as possible.
Before any team can function efficiently there needs to be a clear understanding of who’s accountable for the various parts of the operation. With people working independently, there’s greater room for confusion and overlap than usual so make sure individual responsibilities are ironed out as early as possible.
Working effectively from the get-go requires significant organisation and forethought. A get-together early on in the process is a good way to allow members of the team to get to know each other, raise any issues and establish a rapport. Failing this a group video call is the next best option.
As a rule, instant messaging works better than email when a significant amount of back-and-forth is required, though different time zones can make this difficult. There are numerous free messaging tools out there including Slack and Skype.
Remote working can foster a more individualistic approach with team members taking responsibility for their own workflow. To maintain a cohesive structure you need to be on top of things such as scheduling, submissions and communication. Schedule regular times each week for catch-ups and progress reports, making sure each member has a contribution to make.
While perhaps more relaxed than a traditional office environment, this doesn’t mean virtual teaming has to be any less organised, or indeed effective. Though your team may be scattered far and wide as a manager you’re there to manage so don’t lose sight of that.