How to be Effective in Managing a Remote Team

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By Dr. Anam Zehra – Trainer & Consultant

Remote working now is more than just a trend; the recent COVID-19 pandemic forced a lot of organizations globally to let their employees work from home. Being quite a fresh concept for most of us it would likely take us some time in getting used to as most of us are experiencing this situation for the first time with almost no preparation.

With all the benefits it brings along of commuting less and saving time, remote working has its own challenges specially for the team leads that are managing remote teams. Here is a list of 5 ways that can help in setting your team up for success:

  1. Have Daily Huddles

Staying connected is the key – teams are based on trust and relationships that are built on the basis of daily interactions we do. To keep the momentum going the daily huddles will create an opportunity for each member in the team to discuss how they are feeling, their tasks updates and how they plan to achieve them. Ideally these should be face to face video meetings – it’s extremely important for the team to meet, thanks to tools like Zoom and Microsoft Teams that have made it extremely easier to connect, collaborate and have video meetings.

  1. Set Clear Expectations

We have all been struck by the uncertainty of the current situation and this brings a lot of confusion within teams. As a manager setting clear expectations of what each team member should do is crucial. This can be really simple by following two steps:

  • Discuss the tasks in detail and the purpose behind them
  • Help your team understand exactly how the success of each task would be measured
  1. Train Your Team on Making Work from Home Effective

Not everyone can jump out of bed and do his or her best between a certain time frame. Also, we can’t deny the fact that everyday waking up – getting ready and leaving for work prepared our brain for the work ahead and it’s in habit of it.

As a manager, you can discuss with your team to build their new routine to begin the day, this can be really similar to what they did when they left for work. There can be few simple steps to share with your team:

  • Do your morning rituals as usual; this may include exercise, making breakfast and then gradually starting the work planned for the day
  • Identify an environment that suits you, if you can sit at certain place in your home and be productive, that’s awesome [This should ideally be a separate room or desk]
  • It’s always preferred to have a workspace setup where you can keep your posture right – it’s not about working on a couch whole day; the idea might seem relaxing, but this can actually be harmful for your wellbeing
  • Feel responsible and keep yourself motivated to accomplish your daily goals – since this is the time where your work ethic would be in check more than ever before
  1. Focus on Achieving Results

While managing a remote team, it’s almost impossible to control every aspect of the work being done, as a manager one should not be even trying to closely monitor each aspect of team’s work. Instead of whether the procedures are being followed and the number of hours given at a certain task the focus should be on the outcomes and the results achieved.

  1. Trust Your Teams

Be empathetic as your team has a lot going on and trust them to deliver. It’s essentially a time where we all have to reimagine what exactly productivity would mean in this situation. Giving strict check and balance might not what your team needs – instead trust your team and give them the flexibility to achieve their tasks done according to the schedule that allows them to be the most productive.

We all agree that remote working is a new experience and a challenging one for all of us, but that’s the beauty of this time that we can try, learn new things, make mistakes and do better every single day and in this whole process who knows – we might end up achieving more with our teams than we did earlier! Start working on these five areas today and I am sure we all will have some great results with our teams.