Whether you see remote work as the future or just as a temporary necessity, it’s your role as a manager to keep your remote team motivated and engaged. How you manage your team directly affects team performance and productivity.
Especially, if you and your team are not used to working remotely, it might be tough at the beginning. Lack of communication, uncertainty, frustration, loneliness - these are just a few potential struggles experienced by employees when working remotely.
When forced to work from home, it’s challenging enough to manage yourself without the face-to-face communication and clear structure of a typical in-office environment. Now add to this the task of managing your team remotely, especially if you’ve never done it before. We feel you, it’s hard.
In this article, we will guide you through some simple, yet actionable steps you and your team can follow to build trust and improve everyone’s engagement and team performance.
Establish open communication
Ineffective communication is one of the key reasons for employee frustration. It’s the manager’s responsibility to lead by example: communicate effectively and as much as possible.
Consider sharing your daily agenda and status updates, and writing down all your key processes and guidelines.
Make sure it’s ok to stay in regular touch, ask questions, schedule extra 1-to-1 meetings, and communicate transparently on any topics.
Set clear goals and accountability
When your team is working remotely there is always the fear of losing control. Set achievable goals, or in other words SMART goals.
To make sure your goals are clear and reachable, they need to be:
- Specific - State exactly what you want to accomplish
- Measurable - Use smaller, mini-goals to measure progress
- Achievable - Make your goals reasonable
- Realistic - Ensure your goals are result-based
- Timely - Give your team time but set deadlines
When your team has clear and realistic goals they won’t feel frustrated or unproductive.
In these unusual times when we have to deal with work and personal life at the same time, you cannot expect employees to spend X hours per day working because they’re simply supposed to. Set weekly goals to keep them aligned so everyone knows what they need to achieve.
Acknowledge everyone’s work
Trust and optimism are essential. Managers who demonstrate confidence in their teams and the future, help their employees find meaning and purpose in work.
During your weekly meeting and team standups make sure everyone feels valued. Try to highlight big and small achievements, bring up projects that are currently in progress, bring up recent wins to motivate and repeat successes. By acknowledging everyone's work you’ll make sure your co-workers don’t feel forgotten or unimportant.
If you want to take a step further, think of rewards to celebrate successes. It can be an online course, food delivery, some technology or home service perks.
Whether you decide to offer any tangible rewards or not, remember, a few simple words of positive recognition is an incredibly powerful reward.
Use the right set of tools
In addition to your standard stack of tools, you might need some special software and apps to help your team members stay in touch. Although, the challenge here is to use the least number of tools that possible while making the most out of the common ones that your team is already using.
At Gmelius we use Gmelius. It offers the most complete and easiest solution that offers internal visibility and enables team collaboration within the inboxes of each team member. Check out our video guide to see how Gmelius can help you manage your remote team.
For documentation, we rely on Slite. It helps us document our company processes in an easy-to-find and collaborative way.
Last but not least, we use Slack which also integrates with Gmelius allowing us to communicate and stay connected across departments, allowing everyone in the teamwork from their preferred platform.
Once we had to go fully remotely we wanted to make sure we won’t lose the sense of real-life quick chats. Thus, we started using Discord - one click and you are in a virtual room with your colleagues whether it’s a daily standup or a coffee break. Otherwise, for more formal team meetings we’ve been always using Hangouts.
If you’d like to know more about how we switched to the remote work almost overnight, here is an actionable guide from our CEO.
In conclusion, remote work does not have to be less effective than working from the office. With the right mindset, company policies and processes your team will deliver great performance while staying motivated and organized.
And by the way, we just opened our community, where everyone can join, ask questions and share insights or practices regarding their organization as a remote company: Join the discussion here!