How to manage a remote team

When your team is spread out, and working remotely, how can you keep on top of everything from making sure your staff are okay, to knowing how projects are tracking and whether you’re hitting your goals.

Remember your team is a group of humans

Acknowledge that remote working might not be ideal for a lot of people. While this example below is extreme, don’t be the first guy, be the second. Acknowledge there will be disruption and be ok with there being a disruption.

Remember that people are feeling worried about their health and their jobs – while we can’t guarantee either, we can keep checking in and keep mental spirits up as high as possible.

Ensure you’re aligned on what success looks like

Create clear goals with measurable milestones so that everyone knows what they’re working toward and what progress needs to look like. Make sure everyone can hit the ground running and has a set of success indicators and check in regularly on how they’re meeting their goals.

Create realistic timelines together with enough flexibility for people to also be managing the remote working challenges that may be popping up, such as juggling working with childcare.

Empower your team to be responsible for their own projects

While you should still be doing your one-on-ones with people, you should also be requiring them to update you on a regular basis. Empower them to track their own progress, with their clearly outlined work projects. 

Set clear communication standards

Will you be setting up daily online team stand-ups to check-in? Are you available by phone, email or another instant messaging service like Slack? How often are you checking them and what’s expected of your team in terms of keeping notifications on etc? Are you picking up the phone to talk to people? 

Also important here is what things do you want to be in the loop for? What are the activities that require your knowledge and sign-off and what isn’t as important and could wait for a check-in?

Get your staff set up

Make sure your team can work effectively and efficiently – do they have all the equipment they need? Do they have access to the files they need or need remote login access to be granted? What’s your company’s policy for buying things to help with this?

Use collaborative work tools

Once a week, have a dial-in whiteboard session. You could be using tools like Trello or Monday to keep an overview of projects, tasks and who’s working on what. Others like MIRO or even Google Docs work great as live collaboration tools with version control. 

Make decisions about how you’ll review work

If you have teams working on content, are you able to send a document for suggestions or feedback? (Something that’s possible through Google Docs or Adobe Acrobat’s “send for review” function for PDFs).

Giving your team or assigning a person ownership over a project or section of a project could reduce the backlog or potential for bottle-necking when it comes to your time and free you up to keep managing the wider picture elements.

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