The ongoing global pandemic has created new normal routines which will be part of our day-to-day work routines going forward commonly acknowledged as remotely working. I must say from the onset that managing a team, even isolated to one office, isn’t for everyone. On any given day, you need to balance your workload, overall team success strategies, and working with individuals within your department. To do this, you must balance being a team player and a leader. You must be highly organised, strategic, and have a high level of emotional intelligence.
In a company that’s primarily in-office, a manager can directly impact the success of their team. But, this role is even more important when it oversees a fully or partially remote team.
When your team is widely dispersed, a manager is tasked with bringing together their employees and giving them the tools to work well together. In times of confusion, questions, or ambiguity related to remote work styles, the manager is expected to make calls or answer critical questions.
As the manager of a remote team, you need all the skills of an in-office manager and more. Not only do you need to be tactical and organised, but you also need to take extra time to make sure that colleagues feel in the loop, included, and like they can succeed at your company.
This takes added time, much more communication, and a strong sense of inclusion and empathy. To better manage this transition, it’s important to share some nuggets on how best to manage remote teams from the planning stage to shaping culture and the use of emotional intelligence to drive team dynamics.
- Schedule and run effective virtual team meetings.
When you or your team members are remote, team meetings will be a crucial means of communication. Not only do they allow you to all join on one video call to talk about projects or goals, but they also enable teammates to get to know each other and stay visible.
Determining which meetings you need
When you have a remote or global team, you’ll want to have at least one fairly regular meeting to regroup and get on the same page.
For example, you might want a monthly meeting with your team and other stakeholders to discuss team performance and goals, and a weekly stand up meeting to learn what your immediate team is doing.
Conduct a weekly stand up meeting for everyone on your team to be together in the same virtual room, It’s important to have that face-to-face time each week.
Preparing for a virtual meeting
Start by choosing a meeting software, such as Zoom or Google meetings or Teams based on your needs, budget, and how large your virtual meeting will be. Make it a point that all of your team members have the program on their computers. Follow through with an agenda as well as a calendar invite too.
- Check-in with individuals on your team regularly.
When you or your teammate is working remotely, you can’t easily turn to them to ask them a question, get to know them, or have a casual work conversation. This is why, on top of your roster of remote meetings, you should also consider booking one-on-ones or informal virtual chats with people you don’t often see daily.
This will allow you to keep up with your employees, discuss their work with them, help them with any blockers they might be facing, and offer visibility so they can feel like you’re an accessible manager.
Aside from discussing work with each employee, you should also schedule times to discuss your employee’s career growth and progress.
- Embrace and implement digital productivity tools.
On top of video call software, there are many helpful tools that you can use to manage remote or dispersed teams you should consider implementing
When everyone is remote, having an email or Slack discussion just to determine a good time for a meeting can be redundant and non-productive. Luckily, there are plenty of tools that allow you to request, manage, and schedule meetings with your team.
For example, if you have Microsoft Outlook or GSuite, you can see your teammate’s calendars, working hours, and availability. Then, you can send a meeting invite for a time that they’re free. From there, your teammate can accept, reject, or suggest a new time for an event.
Task management systems
With a task management system like Trello, you can create a joint team project and assign different team members to tasks virtually. You can also give tasks deadlines and check to see if they’re been marked as completed.
- Align with outside teams virtually.
At a company with remote or dispersed employees, you shouldn’t just focus on your team. You should also be sure to communicate regularly with other departments to see where your team’s work can align with there’s and where you can benefit the bigger business.
One example of this is sales and marketing alignment.
While marketers aim to reach goals related to traffic and brand awareness, salespeople are focused purely on the bottom line.
While both teams are vital for their businesses, they can get disjointed due to their differing success metrics. However, when these two teams work well together, marketers can hit their KPIs while also benefiting the company’s overall sales.
If you are a marketing manager, you should try to plan virtual chats with sales managers and other teams to discuss goals and where your team can align with theirs.
You can also use digital tools, like marketing attribution software, to get an idea of how your work impacts the greater company.
◆ Robert is a business growth expert and influencer. He writes in his capacity. For comments and views: [email protected], robert_gonye