5 Tips on How to Manage a Remote Team
We can all agree that working remotely is great for both employees and businesses; a better work-life balance and more freedom on one end, lower costs and more flexibility on the other—what could possibly go wrong?
The answer: everything.
Managing dozens of disjointed people comes with unique trials and tribulations, especially if you’re in charge of a delicately woven network of freelancers in Timbuktu, New England, and some country whose name you mispronounce no matter how hard you try.
But that doesn’t mean there’s no hope. With the right tools, methodology, processes, and a bit of elbow grease on your part, you can make remote work…work!
In this blog, we’ll cover five tips on how to manage a remote team the right way.
1. Focus on Nuance When Hiring
Recruiting a team member is where we have to start. Since your team can’t learn by looking over your shoulder, choosing the right candidate is even more important when it comes to remote team management.
Everyone knows the basics like hiring a “doer” or getting someone who is proactive, but if you really want to avoid a toxic work environment and days of unanswered chat messages, you’ve got to focus on a few key nuances:
1. Are they a written-communication wizard?: Their ability to communicate in a concise and effective manner via chat and email will be a game changer.
2. What’s their work environment like?: Will they toil for your dream startup at home or are they at a busy Southeast Asian co-working space where you can’t hear yourself think? You want someone who isn’t constantly distracted.
3. What’s their life situation like?: Are they a fresh grad, provider for a family, or just a freelancer only out to get spare cash? Each of these factors should weigh in on your decision.
Be aware: Employers will spend the equivalent of six-nine months of an employee’s salary to replace them.
2. Set Clear Expectations
There is no mistake worse than a mistake made in the beginning. If you don’t lay the groundwork for how your team will function, everything will break down.
Make sure each team member is well aware of:
- Work schedules
- Productivity goals
- Accountability lines
Apply the same rules to the whole team and check in regularly on progress.
3. Schedule Regular Interaction
Even though we all have days where we don’t want to see anyone or talk much, social interaction is good for both the team and the company.
- Scheduling regular meetings
- Having lightning sessions every week at a set time (20 minutes max)
- Using a chat application (check out the best ones here)
- Setting up a random call just to chat (not about work)
- Pairing someone up with a buddy
Regular interaction will keep everyone updated on progress, maintain healthy knowledge flow, and get everyone to know each other better. The last thing you want is for your remote workers to feel “remote.”
When learning how to manage a remote team, it’s important to learn how to keep everyone connected.
4. Make Your Team the Support Team
Everyone on your team should be doing support.
The most important person in the whole operation is the customer, and they need to be managed delicately by faces they know are directly involved in the process.
When the people who build a product also support it, the customer wins (and so do you). It also keeps everyone united behind the goal of providing a great customer experience.
And last but not least….
5. Have the Best Tools
Your tools form the backbone of your operation. When it comes to learning how to manage a remote team, you have to have the best tools in your proverbial belt.
Communication, document management, and project management software, as well as cloud storage and signature software, are a must. Google Docs, GitHub, Slack, and a bevy of other great online wonders will be a lifesaver. There’s even a tool that combines many of the features of each of these in one place…
Our intuitive, portable PDF software relieves some of your team’s most stressful challenges:
- ESIGN to be there when a pen can’t
- Cloud storage for easy access to docs
- Easy sharing for streamlined communication
- Secure digital documents at the click of a button
Remotely managing a team might seem stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. If you follow these five tips on how to manage a remote team, get yourself the best tools, and stick to your plan, it will all work out.
For more articles on working remotely, check out:
If you’re thinking about upgrading to document management software that solves your team’s remote challenges, try Soda PDF today.