How to manage remote teams effectively could be a challenging task. Often, the team is cut off from the everyday communication that the rest of us take for granted. While everyone might be clear about a project at the beginning of the week, by the end it could be something very different. During the work week a lot of things happen, talks and isolated changes that can impact the team that did not have access to these conversations. The remote team members could end up being behind everyone else. You might assume that they are on the same page, but in reality, they have been side-lined and the opportunity to add value just vanished. Here there are five ideas that will help you to stay well-connected with your remote team:
Create a daily summary and manage remote teams with regular checkups
At the end of each day, one member of the team should summarize the main points and progress on the key projects. If during the day there were any discussions, issues, concerns, or decisions, it should be documented, archived, and sent to the remote team members. That way, nothing is lost along the way. The results will always be positive, and remote members will feel more included and informed. Be sure to have a clear pipeline of information for the person composing this summary as well, so that the information that’s distributed will be accurate. Consider sharing this job so that all of the responsibility doesn’t fall on one person’s shoulders, and so everyone can come to appreciate the importance of the task.
Have clear goals, tasks, and deadlines
Remote members shouldn’t feel isolated from the rest of the team and sit waiting for their project tasks. It is important to let them know exactly what they should accomplish during a certain period of time, so that they will feel empowered, independent, and in control. Felling in control is important while you manage remote teams. During regular meetings, it’s necessary to verbally agree on tasks — short and long-term — and to document them on an ongoing basis. Checking on the progress regularly is absolutely essential, particularly for those who are reluctant to bring up their own work.
Acknowledge efforts publicly
It’s worthwhile to regularly acknowledge team members’ individual contributions, and even better if it is done during a team meeting or in a team email. This will help each person to feel that their efforts are recognized, valued, and contribute to the team. This acknowledgement can be as simple as telling them they have written a good email or thanking them for proactively completing a task.
Schedule meetings within your time zone
When you are managing people outside of your country, hold your meetings at a time that is most convenient for everyone. Don’t commit your colleagues to a meeting during breaks or before/after work. There are several apps that can help you to organize your time and make remote meetings more efficient.
Slow down meeting agendas, so you have time to manage remote teams one by one
Telephone conversations and conference calls can be difficult. For people on the receiving end it is often difficult to listen or interact. It is critical to avoid rushing through the schedule. Remote teams need an opportunity to contribute. Avoid confusion and make every member of the team feel listened to and included. This should give a remote team an opportunity to repeat, clarify, or explain things. Whenever possible, phone meetings should be recorded and distributed, and then they should be followed by a personal phone call to ensure that everything was understood; that way, you can give remote team members the opportunity to clarify things in private. When it comes to managing people remotely, it’s important to make an effort to over-communicate and include everyone as part of the team.