Remote Leadership
How to Effectively Manage a Remote Team
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Managing a remote team is enormously complex for the uninitiated and inexperienced. There’s no reason to fear it, however. Several studies show that remote work environments are more productive, less costly, and strengthen working relationships over time. 

Managing a remote team can be challenging if you’re unwilling to change, adapt, and optimize. Adopting the remote model can be tremendously straightforward and equally rewarding if you are willing to expand your organization’s capabilities by evolving your existing processes. 

Adopt remote work tech

As with most management systems, technology creates a more streamlined environment where communication and productivity are achieved through aggregated workspaces. Remote teams are unique in that they require a host of different applications to simulate a working environment. 

Naturally, micromanagement has started to decline which assists in the transition to self-registered tasks and deadlines. Google Drive, Asana, Slack, Trello, and Basecamp are all excellent examples of apps that can bring your teams together across the world. Even creating unique groups through Discord or Reddit can help to bring remote teams together in a way that is usually missing from the traditional working environment.

Create a friendly digital working environment

Adopting remote technology is not enough to ensure that your teams will thrive in their new online roles. It is absolutely imperative that remote managers set guidelines early and implement an open environment by either inviting others to post or by creating the initial threads themselves. Creating a friendly and open digital environment is key to maximizing team engagement

Communicate early and often

Creating a maximum engagement environment for managers boils down to communication. Managers must consider the flow of communication both ways in a remote environment as directors and role players must be able to communicate efficiently or risk destabilization. 

The best way for managers to stay on top of this is to communicate often with team members and before anything becomes an issue. Additionally, instituting a protocol of early and frequent communication creates a more transparent workspace regardless of the team’s location. Communication is the bedrock of great management and in a remote environment, it only becomes more valuable. 

Track progress by setting clear goals

A large part of this management communication comes from setting clear and concise goals that are easy to track in your workspaces. The quickest way to lose the advantage of remote work is to dial up the confusion and then slink away into the darkness. This style of management is incompatible with remote work. Goal setting and task tracking are the best ways to keep a remote team motivated and engaged. 

Leverage agile principles

To help with goal setting and task management, it may be best to adopt the agile method. The agile method is a management style that professes communication and teamwork through a mindset of consistent improvement. These principles are focused on iterative work and communication from the top to the bottom. Consistently having work to show and a stream of information throughout the department results in fewer surprises and less stress. Of course, this allows for a higher level of productivity and decreases confusion which is truly the key to creating a thriving remote environment. 

Consult remote work experts

If all of this sounds too much, it may be beneficial to enlist the services of remote management consultants. These professionals know what it takes to get a remote workspace up and running with minimal headache. They can demonstrate how to use technology efficiently so there is less time spent trying to get everything optimized. Getting off the ground and moving is the first step to a new working future. 

Conclusion

For those willing to learn the basics of asynchronous communication, cloud-based collaboration technology, and agile principles, managing a remote team is a relatively easy endeavor. Learning these basics is well worth it for the potential boon to your business’s productivity. Investing the time to master the art of remote team management helps your organization dramatically increase productivity, adaptability, and worker satisfaction.

Adopting the remote work model takes time and dedication as well as a little trial and error. Using software services like Trello, Asana, and Slack can help your team create, manage, and track projects with relative ease. These tools aren’t enough on their own, however, and will need to be coupled with smart communication strategies and agile management principles.

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