We’ve seen an incredible boom in remote working over the past couple of years. While many employees love the opportunity to work from home or from a remote location closer to home, this practice certainly presents some challenges for managers. Fortunately, no challenge is insurmountable. With the right plans and processes in place, you can manage remote teams with just as much success as in a traditional office environment.
Let’s take a look at some tips on managing remote teams while maintaining the sense of togetherness that all workplaces need.
Set up the right infrastructure
The right infrastructure is crucial to support remote teams. It’s not just about technology, but more about providing the physical setup that your staff need. If staff choose to work from home, make sure they have access to items like laptops, printers, telephony, filing space and anything else that’s important for their daily work. Many people have what they need already, but some businesses like to provide this. In addition, for staff health and wellbeing, you may choose to even provide ergonomic chairs and desks if practical.
For remote teams working in co-working spaces or serviced offices, the same applies – it’s just a little easier to ensure everybody has what they need.
Invest in technology
Of course, the other major piece of infrastructure you need is technology. We’re specifically talking about software here. There are a considerable number of software tools available for collaboration these days, with many companies choosing Microsoft or Google products to stay connected. However, you can find plenty of other tools online too, such as CRMs and even custom software programs specific to your business.
These tools allow employees to communicate easily, attend virtual meetings, quickly connect with other staff members through chat and messaging functions, and even work on documents together at the same time.
Provide clear expectations
When managing remote teams, especially hybrid teams where some staff might be in the main office and others are in smaller co-working spaces or at home, there can often be confusion or even resentment regarding people’s perceived output.
When staff are working remotely, you need to set clear guidelines of what is expected. This might include being available for meetings, being online at certain key periods of the day and of course, an expected level of work output. Essentially, the way people work can be different, but the performance expectations should be uniform for everyone.
You’ll get a sense of who in your team needs a daily check-in and who doesn’t. However, many managers choose to have a daily check-in with everybody. It might only be a 5-minute video call, but it’s a great way to make sure your remote staff members feel connected, supported, and have everything they need to complete their daily work.
Focus on outcomes
Remote work has started to change the way we look at what makes a staff member effective. It all depends on the type of work, of course. A customer service/support employee needs to be available at rostered times for enquiries. However, other roles may not require that constant presence at their desk.
For these staff members, it’s becoming more common to focus on outcomes rather than time in front of the computer. If you’ve got people who can complete just as much work with flexible schedules, there’s no reason not to encourage this.
Communicate, communicate, communicate
Finally, like most things in life, communication is the key. There is a certain level of isolation that people can experience when working from home or in remote offices. Keeping them connected as part of the team is perhaps the most challenging aspect of managing remote teams.
Regular staff meetings on Zoom and other catch-ups are great for maintaining a sense of team. The technology you implement also opens up many avenues to keep people connected. As a manager, though, it’s crucial that you maintain contact with either daily check-ins, or at least regular communication to ensure the staff members are supported.
If you’re looking for the perfect way to manage remote teams in Wellington, contact the team at Urban Hub today about co-working spaces and serviced offices in the heart of the CBD.