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Managing Remote Teams: Best Practices for 2024!

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Do you remember back in 2020 when we thought we would be done with this whole “Managing remote teams” business by the end of the year? Fun times. We are turning the page on another calendar year and as 2023 makes way for 2024, remote team management doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, anytime soon. The popularity of remote work models only seems to be growing with each passing day.

Unless your name is Elon Musk and you just broke the bank on a little blue bird website, then you probably appreciate all the incredible benefits remote working brought to our lives. If by any chance you, our beloved reader, are indeed Mr. Musk we do hope you are enjoying your new billion-dollar toy!

As exciting as the developments in remote workforce models are, managing remote teams does have various intricacies. There is great freedom in managing virtual teams. If that freedom is supported by trust, effective performance management, viable employee engagement strategies, and mutual respect, the sky is the limit for an organization working with a remote model.

Have we beaten around the bush long enough? Our word counts tell us that it is time to let you in on our tips and best practices for managing remote teams.

How do you manage and lead remote teams?

Set clear goals and set them clearly

The first step in managing remote teams is to establish clear expectations. This includes setting goals and deadlines, defining roles and responsibilities, and outlining communication protocols. It is important to ensure that everyone on the team understands the expectations and is held accountable for meeting them. One of the best ways of practicing goal-setting is through OKRs.

An OKR software is the best way to go when you are working in a remote setting. We can hear you asking “Aren’t OKRs for tech companies?”. To that we say, give the title of this list another look! It is almost 2024! Everyone is practicing OKRs!

Connection through recognition

Teamflect: employee recognition software

This can be done by providing regular opportunities for team members to connect and collaborate, such as virtual meetings and video conferencing. When managing remote teams, it is important to ensure that team members feel supported and valued.

One of the best ways to show that support goes through practicing employee recognition. Remote employee recognition is a massive part of managing remote teams. If you are a leader, tasked with managing remote teams then there are some incredible remote employee recognition tools out there in the market today.

Invest in the right tools

When managing remote teams, leaders should ensure that team members have the necessary tools and resources to be successful. This includes providing access to the necessary technology, such as laptops, software, and other tools. Investing in performance management software might be one of the best courses of action when one is attempting to manage a remote workforce.

Deciding what to look for in performance management software might be hard. Every organization has its own unique set of needs. There are, however, three central features you should take into consideration:

  • Customization
  • Integration
  • Ease-of-use

Your performance management system should be able to fit into your day-to-day operations and assist you in managing remote teams. You shouldn’t have to guide your virtual teams through minutes upon minutes of tutorial footage.

Integration into the rest of your software is also key since you don’t want your employees running back and forth between multiple software. A great example of that is Teamflect’s impressive Microsoft Teams integration, letting its users manage remote teams without ever leaving Microsoft Teams.

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Don’t be a stranger

Absence may make the heart grow fonder but too much of it and you will lose track of the remote workforce you are managing. Weekly check-ins with your team should be a crucial part of your remote employee management strategies.

You can conduct these check-ins through virtual meetings, video conferencing, one-on-one meetings, or even phone calls.

These check-ins are important to ensure that team members are on track and to provide support and guidance when needed. Remote work can be an isolating experience. Practicing weekly employee check-ins takes away that sense of isolation on a weekly basis!

What are the challenges of managing remote teams?

Challenges of remote teams

Remote team management can be a tricky thing to handle. A remote team setting presents several challenges that you and your team will have to overcome. Here are a few to keep in mind:

  • Communication Barriers: Since you are working remotely, there is a high chance that your team won’t get to see each other face-to-face much. This can hinder open communication due to a lack of physical interactions. Misinterpretation of messages and things like time zone differences can make this especially hard.
  • Accountability and Productivity Monitoring: It can be a hassle to try and measure the level of productivity without direct supervision. You will have to establish clear expectations so that you overcome the complexities of a remote setting in this sense.
  • Isolation and Well-Being: Remote teams have the trouble of being in their workspace all the time. As they also lack the social interactions a regular office would have, their support system can be very minimal. Maintaining employee wellness should be a top priority in this sense when working remotely.
  • Technical Issues: A remote setting obviously relies heavily on technology but when in a situation where that technology malfunctions, it can be especially difficult to carry out daily tasks and the resolution for these issues can be more complicated as opposed to an office setting’s.
  • Onboarding and Training: The introduction of a new team member is also a challenging subject when it comes to remote teams. Providing effective onboarding will have to be a very planned and strategic structure so that your new team member adjusts accordingly.

Make sure to keep these points in mind when you are creating your remote workspace so that you carry on being the productive and profitable business that you are in any setting.

What are the benefits of remote teams?

As with anything in life, when it comes to managing remote teams, there are two sides to the coin. While there may be challenges to remote team management, there are also benefits that you can consider.

benefits of remote teams
  • Flexibility: Remote team management offers flexibility in scheduling meetings, coordinating tasks, and managing workflows across different time zones and locations.

  • Empowerment: Remote team management empowers employees to take ownership of their work, make decisions autonomously, and manage their time effectively, fostering a sense of trust and accountability in your team.

  • Communication: Effective communication is essential for remote team management, utilizing various communication tools and channels to ensure clarity, transparency, and alignment among team members.

  • Performance Tracking: Remote team management enables managers to track performance metrics, monitor progress on tasks and projects, and provide timely feedback to remote team members, facilitating accountability and performance optimization.

  • Adaptability: Remote team management requires adaptability and agility to navigate challenges such as technological issues, cultural differences, and changes in remote work dynamics, fostering resilience and innovation in your organization.

Keep these benefits in mind when you’re designing your remote workspace so that you can take the most effective advantage of these benefits of remote team management.

How do I monitor remote workers?

Remote employee monitoring is one of the most complicated topics surrounding the discussion of managing remote teams. There are an impressive number of very effective remote employee monitoring tools out there in the market. There are also an impressive number of methods employees came up with to find ways around those remote employee monitoring tools.

For every: Can I spy on my employees via Microsoft Teams?

There is a: Can my boss spy on me via Microsoft Teams?

At the end of the day, the entire discussion boils down to this: Should you spy on your employees via Microsoft Teams? Or any software for that matter? We’ve specified on numerous occasions that we don’t enjoy picking sides on the Teamflect blog but our answer to that question is a resounding: No.

We believe that when managing remote teams, one of the most important values to hold up is mutual trust. Mutual trust and respect are the deciding factors on whether managing remote teams is a successful ordeal or not.

They are not achieved through a “Let me catch my employees slacking off!” mentality. If your organization has effective employee engagement practices, then remote employee monitoring shouldn’t have to be a part of your remote workforce management routine!

How do you hold remote employees accountable?

Holding remote employees accountable can be a challenge, but it is possible. It starts with setting clear expectations and communication. As a manager, you need to ensure that your remote employees understand the goals, deadlines, and expectations of their role. It’s important to be clear and consistent in your communication and to provide feedback in a timely manner.

Steps on how to hold remote teams accountable.

Create a System of Accountability: This could include regular check-ins with your remote employees, such as weekly or bi-weekly meetings. During these meetings, you can review progress, discuss any challenges, and provide feedback. You can also use this time to set new goals and expectations.

Track Progress & Results: You can do this by setting up a system of metrics and OKRs that measure performance. This will help you to identify any areas where your remote employees need to improve.

Provide Incentives: This could include bonuses, recognition, or other rewards. This will help to motivate your remote employees and keep them accountable.

Conclusion

All in all, even though remote teams come with their own set of challenges it also offers an unprecedented level of opportunities for a more flexible and diverse way of working. Whether it is talent acquisition, productivity, or profits, remote work is a powerful tool that anyone can benefit from utilizing in the dynamic landscape of the modern world.

The success in managing remote teams will be up to your ability to curate the right team, provide the right tools and resources, and cultivate a sense of connection and open communication. As the professional space continues to evolve, mastering the art of remote team management will be crucial for the longevity of your success.

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Written by Emre Ok

Emre is a content writer at Teamflect who aims to share fun and unique insight into the world of performance management.

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