9 Tips to Help You Manage a Team of Remote Workers

Managing a remote team and keeping them motivated can be challenging. Here are 9 tips for managing a remote team successfully and getting the best out of them.

After nearly three years of a new normal, more and more companies are making the complete switch to remote work. But, depending on the industry, managing remote workers comes with a set of new challenges that require a unique management style. 

Of course, every business is handling it differently. Companies like Shopify and Twitter are offering hybrid, remote-first options. Whereas companies like LinkedIn are offering fully-remote options. So, how exactly are some of the biggest names in tech managing remote teams?

Unfortunately, there is no ‘one size fits all’ for managing remote employees. However, this means that you have the freedom to choose what works best for your organization, its employees, and your customers. 

For example, Codility facilitates free movement and productivity by giving all their employees access to any of the 800-plus WeWork outposts. In addition, they set salaries based on the role versus the location giving individuals the freedom to live wherever they feel suits their life best.

There are more innovative examples such as Codility’s, but it really depends on the industry, team size, and more. So to help make it a bit easier, we’ve put together nine tips to help you manage remote workers in 2022. 

9 Tips that will help you manage your remote team

1. Set clear expectations 

When moving to a remote work environment or managing your team from a different location, it’s important to go into the situation with clear expectations for you and your staff. For example, you may want to set clear expectations on dealing with a customer issue or calling in sick. 

Of course, remote working without a manager in the room can allow more room for error, but with clear expectations, your staff will understand what’s expected of them in critical situations when you can’t be there. 

2. Simplify common processes

To deal with the chaos and uncertainty, businesses are finding unique ways to save time on administrative tasks such as scheduling, payroll, and approving hours worked. For example, RosterElf is a complete workforce management tool. 

The cloud-based software also enables businesses to save nearly 8 hours on admin tasks a week using streamlined workflows. For example, users can instantly update their staff of changes, process payroll, and track digital time and attendance without using a spreadsheet. 

3. Reinforce clear goals 

It can be challenging to stay synced on common objectives with remote teams. Whether it’s in their team or across the company, management must take the time to reinforce clear goals. You can do this by focusing on what employees should accomplish individually and as a team. 

Finally, continue to show staff how their work contributes to the greater good. Showcasing objectives and success will drive staff engagement across all business areas. 

4. Set your team up for success 

When work merges with home, it can be hard to balance the two environments. As a result, staff can either work beyond their scheduled hours or struggle to stay focused and productive. To help staff perform at their best, provide them with the right tools, training, and resources. 

For example, consider sending your employees to help them set up a productive work environment. Another way to set them up for success is with proper onboarding into company processes now that the environment is changed. 

5. Focus on organization 

Managing more than one remote team will require a focus on organization. From processing payroll to approving employee leave, you can stay organized and not miss any important details with the right tools. 

A great way to stay organized and on top of payroll is with a rostering tool like RosterElf. They allow you to process payroll within minutes instead of hours and automatically calculate employee pay rates. 

6. Maintain company culture 

With workers going remote, maintaining company culture and a sense of community is now more critical than ever. Weekly catchups, monthly virtual socials, or communication channels to celebrate wins are examples of maintaining company culture online. 

We also suggest implementing team-building activities that can be executed remotely with tools like Ricotta. Then, when your employees understand they're still part of a team, they’ll feel more energized to meet their goals. 

7. Set up regular check-ins 

It’s essential when managing remote workers that your team still knows you’re there for support. To do this, consider setting up regular check-ins with your staff. You can structure these for half an hour every week, bi-weekly or monthly. 

You can check in with your employees during this time to make sure they’re doing okay. Try to come prepared with talking points so it's a productive meeting and they know it’s a time when they can safely open up. 

8. Make yourself available 

If weekly check-ins don’t fit your staff's schedule or your business structure, let your employees know your availability and make it clear where they can contact you if they need anything. For example, staff might feel hesitant to reach out if they don’t know your workload. 

By making it clear where and when they can contact you, they’ll be more likely to reach out when there’s an issue, therefore, allowing you to stay one step ahead. 

9. Prioritize mental health 

Now more than ever, staff need to know that you prioritize and care about their mental well-being as a business. Lockdowns, restrictions, and falling ill are stressful when you’re uncertain about job security. 

So to help make mental wellbeing a priority, put in place a wellbeing policy that empowers staff to look after themselves and their co-workers. Even from afar, letting your team know their mental health matters will go a long way. 

Wrapping Up 

Learning how to manage remote teams is a learning curve. There will be lots of trial and error before finding the right strategy. These tips are the perfect place to start. When in doubt, trust your employees and give them the space to figure out their remote working rhythm. 

Managing a remote team is not unlike managing any other team, though it does present its own sets of challenges. There will be elements of the game that are familiar to what you’ve encountered before and others that will feel foreign. But with the right approach in place, those potential hurdles can become more manageable.

At first, it may seem intimidating to manage a team of remote workers, but it’s also very crucial learning for future leaders. Hopefully, these tips have shown you some great ways to make the most out of your remote workforce. The key is to remember that all employees are individuals, and you will have to accommodate their unique strengths and weaknesses in order to get the best work from them. Remote first isn’t likely the right path for every type of organization, but it’s certainly working wonders for some and is worth exploring if at all possible.

Frequently Asked Questions about remote teams

1. How to manage remote teams virtually?

A virtual team will work well only if it is a well-managed team with effective communication. It is important to put aside control issues, and allow self-organizing. Allowing the team to have a breathing space to take ownership ensures that they achieve their goals efficiently. Also, remember that nothing happens without communication. It is ok to err on the side of over communication rather than lack of communication. In the end, if you’re going to approach this with a positive attitude and realize the upside of working remotely and creating a remote-friendly company culture, you’ll be much more likely to keep your team more productive, engaged and happy.

2. What are some challenges of managing remote teams?

One of the biggest challenges of managing remote teams is keeping in touch with each other. 

There is always a risk that managers are not aware of what remote team members are working on 

and they may not always have the information needed to offer feedback. This can lead to underutilization of efforts as well as overburdened employees. Effective communication is the key to ensuring that work is divided equally among the team members and constantly keeping in touch will help everyone be on the same page. Managing remote teams also includes scheduling and productivity challenges. Virtual teams should have all the necessary tools to remain productive. Moreover, managers need to provide a clear vision for their team and make communication a top priority so that the team feels supported and empowered.

3. How do you build a strong culture with a remote team?

The key to developing a strong culture is creating important rituals that help your remote teammates feel connected on a regular basis, and understand each other more. After all, building a strong team takes more than just skills and experience. It takes a group of people with the right attitude and skill sets. Sometimes constant messaging or calls over Slack, MS Teams, and Zoom would not necessarily work for everyone. On the contrary, it may lead to distractions and Zoom fatigue. 

One way to tackle this is to work asynchronously and engage in team bonding sessions. That’s the core idea of culture hacking: keep your remote team on the same page by using the right tools like Ricotta, but don’t shy away from practical team building ideas that'll help you reinforce a strong bond!

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