Managing a remote team has unique difficulties, ranging from work transparency and differing time-zone communication to fostering a sense of connection and trust.
With remote work here to stay, companies must move beyond an organic approach to remote working in order to purposefully facilitate, support, and grow a robust dispersed workforce. This begins with investing in the proper tools and methods to serve your team in the long run.
In this article, we’ve compiled a list of the most important tips and tools for managing remote teams – from communicating daily and establishing rules of engagement, to allowing easy access to resources and more.
1. Communicate Daily
The more regularly you communicate with your team, the more you develop trust and a sense of team camaraderie – both of which are crucial for meeting your project objectives.
Thanks to the development of communication-enabling technologies, reaching out to a remote workforce is easy to do. You can even tailor this technology to different communication styles or purposes for ultimate efficiency.
Slack and Microsoft Teams, for example, can be used for less formal communication or matters which require an immediate, but short response. The software can also be used to foster stronger connections among a remote team. This is possible through creating a virtual ‘water cooler’ channel where co-workers can interact for casual discussion about weekend plans or T.V shows, for example.
Zoom and Google Hangouts, on the other hand, are vital tools for lengthier meetings that require face-to-face communication. This is particularly vital for discussing project scope and objectives, as well as performing regular check-ins that extend beyond a simple email or instant message.
Encouraging team members to talk face-to-face further strengthens an environment of cooperation and connection – even if your team members are dispersed across the globe.
2. Establish Rules of Engagement
Speaking of communication, managers should set expectations for their teams’ interaction frequency, methods, and timing. Doing so allows remote work to become more productive and rewarding.
Additionally, determine the optimum times of day for team members to contact their manager, and in turn, for the manager to contact each team member. Finally, ensure that team members are providing information or resources as needed, so the work can be completed smoothly.
3. Use an Internal Blog
When managing a remote team, it’s also helpful to have a virtual noticeboard for posting company-wide announcements, updates, or anything related to the team as a whole.
While email is a common method for doing this, an internal blog provides a single home for this information, making it easier for remote team members to access it around the clock. The more visual nature of a blog also allows team managers (or members) to include visuals with their updates, encouraging higher engagement among their peers.
It’s really simple to set up an internal blog using WordPress. It doesn’t have to be elaborate; it’s just a central way for your entire team to connect and receive updates without having to factor in time zones.
4. Create a Team Calendar
Remote teams can also use online calendars, such as Google Calendar, to schedule meetings with one another and keep on top of important deadlines or events.
By syncing Google Calendar with time tracking software, like TimeTracker by eBillity, remote team managers can also follow team members’ vacation schedules and business trip dates, as well as see who’s working remotely at any time. This allows for greater transparency among team members and reduces productivity setbacks that can affect a project’s timeline.
5. Allow Easy Access to Resources
When different time zones and locations apply, it’s vital that workers have a single and easy-to-use destination for accessing relevant resources. When team members have to delay their work to receive information, it dramatically slows down productivity, causes frustration, and prevents them from going about their roles smoothly.
Dropbox, Google Drive, and Microsoft Teams are just three of the most popular cloud-based storage solutions for remote teams. Each tool makes it easier for workers to create folders, upload files, and share these resources with those who require access to them.
6. Assign and Prioritize Team Tasks
Every successful project is built upon the proper assignment and prioritization of tasks among team members. Each worker should know what their specific role is within a project – even more so when they work remotely and lack in-person communication with their peers.
Using software such as Trello or Asana allows team members and managers to view tasks at-a-glance, helping them to know what needs to be completed, as well as when and why. Different categories or “boards” can also be created, which allow workers to organize their tasks by type of work, priority, and more. Plus, team members can share their virtual to-do lists with their peers, making collaboration both easy and efficient.
7. Utilize Time Tracking Payroll Capabilities
Time tracking is an essential tool for every remote team, since it keeps all team activity, performance, and workload visible. It’s also important for team and project management; without it, you can’t track overtime, charge clients appropriately, or monitor a project’s scope.
A time tracking software like Time Tracker by eBillity, however, also links time tracking with payroll capabilities.
Running an efficient, streamlined payroll with a remote team of workers isn’t easy. Not only are you keeping track of workers across multiple locations and time zones, but you’re also working around modified schedules, vacation time, and unexpected sick days.
With an employee time tracking system like Time Tracker, employees can use time cards to clock in and out and take breaks. Managers can also set employee time to round up or down in order to record hours worked as precisely as possible.
Once time is approved, the system can integrate with your payroll and accounting software, allowing you to process payroll quicker and easier than ever before. In fact, it can save you over 30 hours in administration each month.
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