How to Successfully Manage a Remote Team

In a world of rolling lockdowns and seeming perpetual uncertainty, companies are learning that, with just a computer and an internet connection, business can be done, projects can be completed, and profits can be made. One of the deciding factors of what makes a successful business in 2020 has therefore become how to successfully manage a remote team. If you’re a manager who has found yourself thrown into the world of remote team leadership, make sure your company isn’t falling behind by doing the following.

1. Know that Communication is Everything

The only way that business can ever get done is with effective communication. When you’re not with a team in person, communication becomes even more important. Studies have found that one of the biggest impacts that working from home can have on employees is that it enhances loneliness, which can impact on productivity and lead to burnout. Make sure you don’t let this happen—check in with individual team members daily to get a sense of their progress as well as their happiness and try to accommodate them as much as possible. Try to arrange Zoom coffees or cocktails and make sure that they feel connected with others at the office.

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2. If You Ignore Tech, You’re Setting Yourself Up for Failure

There are countless technologies that will not only make work easier for you, they’ll replace whole departments when you’ve gone digital. HR is a great example—human resources are incredibly important, but difficult, when you’re managing a remote team. Thanks to modern HR software, the following can be done through the cloud with AI analytics:

  • Performance management
  • Recruitment
  • Learning and development
  • Expenses
  • Payroll
  • Timekeeping and attendance
  • Timesheets
  • Overtime

3. Relinquish Control Over Activity—Focus on Results

If you’re a very hands-on boss, you might still feel inclined to pay very close attention to the activity of your team. You will soon find that it’s next to impossible to micromanage a remote team. Some companies do try to implement technology that monitors all actions an employee takes on a computer, but this is coming under fire for being invasive and it has been criticized for also being ineffective. Everybody works differently, it makes much more sense to monitor your team member’s outcomes and simply incentivize them based on that. Setting up key performance indicators (KPIs) for your team is much more preferable to restricting how they work—what if you have a team member who gets everything done to a high quality in half the time? If you made decisions solely by looking at their activity log, you’d see the low activity and jump to the wrong conclusions. 

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Most of All, Be Flexible

Protocols and structures are what most businesses are used to, but we are living in unprecedented times. People have a huge amount of personal stress and for many, remote work is a new adventure. Keep this in mind and remember that adaptation isn’t just a smart decision—it’s the driving force behind successful evolution. In business, just as in biology, success is the survival of the fittest and the fittest adapt to new environments. 

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