In today's digital world, remote work has become increasingly popular. With advancements in technology and changing work dynamics, more and more companies are embracing the concept of remote teams.
For example, when I created Hillstock Consulting in 2019, I intended it to be a virtual company. I did not want to require team members to relocate or commute to an office building daily. As it stands, our entire team works remotely. Our team members are housed in various time zones throughout the US.
While there are some distinct advantages to employing a remote workforce, managing remote team members (especially those in various time zones) comes with its own set of challenges.
While there are some distinct advantages to employing a remote workforce, managing remote team members comes with its own set of challenges. In this blog post, I'm going to share a few effective strategies that I believe will help you manage your remote team members efficiently.
1. Clear Communication Channels
Communication is the key to successful remote team management. It is crucial to establish clear communication channels right from the start. Utilizing tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams, or Zoom to ensure seamless communication among team members is key. Set expectations for response times and establish regular check-ins to keep everyone on the same page.
2. Set Clear Goals and Expectations
When managing a remote team, it is essential to set clear goals and expectations. Provide your team members with a clear understanding of what is expected of them and what their deliverables should be. This will help them stay focused and motivated, even when working remotely. One of the basic expectations of our team members is to keep calendars shared and updated. That includes me. I do not anticipate or expect that team members will work a straight 9am - 5pm shift. That simply doesn't work for us.
Hillstock Time means logging into each session at least 10-15 minutes in advance of the scheduled start time.
Instead, Hillstock Consulting team members are expected to ensure that they meet with and engage with clients in a quality way (starting with being on Hillstock Time - that is logging into each session at least 10-15 min in advance of the scheduled start time), communicate effectively with their project leads and team members, and ensure deliverables are completed and submitted on time and within budget. So, if they want to make a late-morning run to the grocery store, enjoy a midday walk, or take in a movie during the day, it's totally fine by me. In fact, I encourage it, as it helps with self-care. I have found that in my experiences when team members are taking care of themselves, they take extra special care of our clients.
3. Foster a Positive Team Culture
Creating a positive team culture is vital for remote team management. Organize virtual team-building activities, encourage collaboration, and celebrate achievements. By fostering a positive team culture, you will help your remote team members feel connected and motivated. I must admit that we have our share of online parties. A little music and fun, sometimes in the middle of the day, can go a long way.
4. Provide the Right Tools and Technology
To effectively manage remote team members, it is crucial to provide them with the right tools and technology. Invest in project management software, video conferencing tools, and other collaboration platforms to ensure seamless workflow and efficient communication. For example, our team chooses to use Smartsheets for project management and ZOOM for video conferencing. These tools work quite well for us.
5. Trust and Empower Your Team
Trust is the foundation of any successful remote team. Trust your team members to deliver quality work and empower them to make decisions. Avoid micromanaging and give your team members the autonomy they need to thrive. Remember, if you feel you need to micromanage professionals, you may need to ask yourself why are they on your team.
Managing remote team members
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