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How To Manage Remote Teams and Keep Them Engaged

Updated: Jun 27, 2023



Many businesses these days are using remote teams to get work done. This can be a great way to save on overhead costs, but it can also be challenging to manage. How do you keep your team engaged and motivated when they're not in the same room as you? This blog post will discuss some tips for managing remote teams and keeping them productive!


 

How Do Remote Teams Work?


These days, remote teams are becoming more and more popular. With technological advances, there's no need for everyone to be in the same office anymore. This can be a great way to promote work/life balance and attract top talent worldwide.


However, managing remote employees comes with its unique challenges. This is because you can't just pop over to someone's desk to ask a quick question or give feedback. You need to be intentional about communication and building relationships.


To understand how to manage remote employees properly, it's essential to first understand the benefits of working with a remote team:


More Flexibility


One of the most significant advantages of working with a remote team is that it offers more flexibility. This is because people can work from anywhere worldwide, as long as they have a good internet connection. This means that you're not limited to hiring people who live near your office. You can hire the best talent, no matter where they are. Sure, remote employees lack face-to-face interaction, but this should not hinder those who are working in a remote setting from doing their best every day. With the flexibility that remote team members have, working remotely is a blessing for those who wish to have more time on their hands.


Increased Productivity


Another great thing about managing remote teams is that you can expect increased productivity. This is because employees feel more comfortable working from home and can design their own work schedule around their personal life. Work-life balance is an underrated and often overlooked aspect of managing remote teams, but keeping employees happy and engaged is essential.


Working in a remote environment may be challenging at first, but employees working remotely will be able to adjust quickly as long as they are given clear expectations and are given the right emotional support. Managers should also encourage team members so that remote management becomes easier. After all, motivated employees are those who have high emotional intelligence that allows them to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances.


Enhanced Communication


Last but not least, managing remote teams can also enhance communication. This is because you are forced to be more intentional about the way you communicate with team members. When everyone is in the same office, it's easy to rely on body language and nonverbal cues. However, when managing a remote team, you must communicate clearly and concise to avoid misunderstandings.


 

What Are the Challenges of Managing a Remote Team?


Despite the many benefits of managing a remote team, there are also some challenges that come along with it. Below are some examples:


More Misunderstandings


One of the most challenging things about managing a remote team is that there are more opportunities for miscommunication. When you're working with a team in the same office as you, it's easy to pop over to someone's desk and ask a quick question or clarify an instruction. With a remote team, you have to rely on email, instant messaging, and video conferencing to communicate, which can sometimes lead to misunderstandings.


Lack of Spontaneous Interactions


Another challenge of managing a remote team is that there are fewer spontaneous interactions. In an office setting, you might bump into a colleague in the break room and strike up a conversation about something that's not work-related. These types of interactions help build relationships and bonds between team members. When everyone is remote, these types of interactions don't happen as often.


As a result, it's essential to be intentional about creating opportunities for your team to interact with each other on a personal level. This can be done through regular check-ins, video conferencing, and chat platforms.


Lack of Clear Communication


Despite the opportunity for enhanced communication in remote teams, it cannot be denied that there are more chances for miscommunication to occur. This is because team members cannot see each other and pick up on nonverbal cues. To counter this, it is essential to be clear when communicating with your team. This means being concise and avoiding ambiguity as much as possible.


Another way to ensure clear communication is by setting up regular check-ins. This could be in the form of daily stand-up meetings or weekly one-on-ones. These regular touchpoints will help to ensure that everyone is on the same page and no misunderstandings have occurred.


Lack of Engagement


It can be easy for team members to feel disengaged when they are not in the same room as one another. This is why it is essential to find ways to keep them engaged.


One way to do this is to have regular check-ins with each team member. This allows you to see how they are doing and if they have any concerns. Another way to keep team members engaged is to give them opportunities to lead. This could be leading a project or managing a team member.


Giving team members opportunities to lead will help them feel more engaged and invested in the team. Lastly, make sure to provide feedback regularly. This will enable team members to feel like their work is valued and that they are contributing to the team's success.


Less Motivation


Unfortunately, one of the downfalls to managing remote teams is that they can often be less motivated than in-person teams. This is because there are no face-to-face interactions or water cooler talks. Additionally, working from home can be distracting with family and friends around.


As a manager, keeping your team members engaged is essential by providing clear goals and deadlines. You can also create a sense of community by setting up regular team check-ins and encouraging team members to interact with each other outside of work. This way, they'll feel more connected to their colleagues and their work.


 

6 Tips for Managing Remote Teams


Now that we have tackled the basics of managing a remote team, let's get into some more tips and tricks for managing remote teams. Here are six tips for managing remote teams effectively:


Check-In Daily


As mentioned, daily check-ins are crucial for managing remote teams. This is the time to review what everyone is working on and their goals and see if any issues need to be addressed.


When checking in, ask open-ended questions that will encourage dialogue. For example, instead of asking, "Did you finish that project?" try asking, "What progress have you made on that project?" By encouraging dialogue, you will get a better understanding of what your team is working on and how they are feeling about their progress.


Use Software To Help Your Employees Stay Engaged


These days, there are a ton of software programs that can help you manage your remote team and keep everyone engaged. Some of these programs include:


Trello


Trello is a great software program to help you track your team's progress and tasks. It is also very easy to use, which makes it an excellent tool for managing remote teams.


Slack


Slack is another great software program that can help you stay in touch with your team members and keep everyone on the same page. With Slack, you can create different channels for different topics, and teams can quickly join in on conversations. You can also use Slack to send direct messages to team members and even make video calls.


Asana


Asana is another great software program that can help you manage your team's tasks and keep everyone on track. Asana works by allowing you to create "projects" and then assign tasks to specific team members. You can also set deadlines and add notes to each task. Asana is great for managing larger projects with multiple team members.


Basecamp


Basecamp is a project management software that allows remote teams to collaborate on projects. It has to-do lists, file sharing, and team chat. Basecamp is an excellent tool for managing remote teams because it keeps everyone organized and on the same page.


By taking advantage of different software, you can manage your remote team effectively while keeping them engaged simultaneously.


Measure With the Right KPIs


KPIs or key performance indicators are what will help you measure progress and success when managing remote teams. But not just any KPIs will do. You need to ensure that the KPIs you choose are relevant to your team's work and accurately reflect whether or not your team is on track.

Some examples of good KPIs for remote teams include:

  • Number of tasks completed

  • Time to complete a task

  • Quality of work

Additionally, you should also consider setting goals for your team. Having goals gives everyone something to strive for and can help keep your team focused and engaged. Make sure that the goals you set are achievable and relevant to the work your team is doing.


Understand Employee Challenges


Managers need to take the time to understand what their employees are facing. This can be done through regular check-ins and asking questions about how they're managing work/life balance, what challenges they're facing with their workload, etc. Employees who feel like their manager cares about them and is interested in hearing about their challenges are more likely to feel engaged and motivated to do their best work.


Keep up the Culture


Culture is always important, no matter how big or small your company is. When managing remote teams, it's even more important to keep up the culture and ensure everyone feels like they're a part of something bigger. Here are a few ways to do that:

  • Encourage team-building exercises

  • Make sure everyone has a way to connect with each other

  • Encourage open communication

  • Celebrate successes together

Doing these things will help your remote team feel more connected to each other and the company as a whole.


Establish Trust


Establishing trust is the first and most important thing you must do when managing a remote team. Your employees need to know that they can rely on you and that you have their best interests at heart. One way to build trust is to be transparent in your communication and allow your team members to provide input and feedback.


Another way to establish trust is to make sure that you are available when your team members need you. This may mean being available for phone calls or video chats outside of regular work hours.


Finally, following through on your promises and keeping your word is important. If you say you are going to do something, do it. Your team will be more likely to trust and respect you if they know that you are a man or woman of your word.


 

Additional Ways To Help Remote Employees


Managing remote employees is a challenging task. Therefore, here are a few additional tips to help you keep your remote team engaged:

  1. Get to know your employees on a personal level. Take the time to learn about their interests, hobbies, and families. This will not only help you build a better relationship with them, but it will also make it easier to understand what motivates them.

  2. Encourage open communication. One of the most critical aspects of managing a remote team is encouraging open communication. This means creating an environment where employees feel comfortable sharing their ideas, concerns, and feedback.

  3. Make sure everyone is on the same page. Everyone must be aware of the company's goals and objectives. This will help ensure that everyone is working towards the same goal.


Talk to a HR consultant


Talk to one of our qualified HR consultants for more information:

 

Bottom Line


Managing remote teams can be challenging, but it's doable with the right tools and processes in place. You'll be well on your way to success by keeping your team members engaged and motivated.


If you need help managing your remote team, don't hesitate to contact HR Coach. We specialize in helping organizations manage their remote teams effectively. Contact us today to learn more about how you can improve your remote team management skills.

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