How to Manage Remote Teams

Managing remote teams is the process of overseeing employees and staff that work remotely. Example activities include reviewing time cards, implementing quality control and doing 1 on 1 meetings. This management often includes virtual team building and remote job satisfaction as well.

So, here are a few things to know about managing remote teams.

Managing Remote Teams

1: Trust and Verify

Many organizations use time tracking tools, and even screen shots and cursor trackers to monitor remote employees. However, this approach to online management is ineffective, hurts morale, and often results in employees finding ways to “cheat the system”.

Instead, you need to give your employees a great deal of autonomy and trust. Assign projects, and a timeline or due date if relevant. If employees are consistently finishing the work on time and to expected standards, then don’t sweat the minutes or even hours that went into it.

Basically, you need to trust your employees to do great work, and verify that it was done. In cases where there is variation from the expected timeline or quality, then you can correct this with training or more structure.

2: Make it Fun

One of the challenges of working from home is that you don’t get the usual face time with your colleagues. Instead, you work mostly in isolation and then occasionally jump on a video call for a meeting. The result is a lack of fun and social connection in the workplace.

You can overcome this challenge by adding fun and connection into the work day. For example, many organizations host virtual happy hours or online games for their teams.

Here is a list of the 10 best games to play on Zoom.

3: Start Every Meeting with Icebreaker Questions

Zoom calls usually start with awkward conversation and waiting for guests to arrive. “Is Melissa here yet? Does anyone know if she is coming?” This weak intro can be okay for extroverts that are happy to participate, but is difficult for your introverts to overcome.

Instead, start every video call with a quick round of icebreaker questions. You could ask each participant to share their favorite pizza topping or the last show they binge watched. Whatever you ask, keep it easy and fun, so that participants are excited to share out and not nervous.

We published a list of icebreaker questions for virtual meetings.

4: Focus on Engagement

There are many ways to help boost engagement for employees, and this effort is even more important for remote teams. You might show gratitude more frequently, plan fun social activities, give bonuses and more. Whatever you do, do it often and don’t be afraid to be a little excessive.

Here are some specific ways to boost engagement for remote teams.

Conclusion

Managing remote teams isn’t always easy, but a little effort and care can go a long way. Remember to trust and verify on processes, and beyond that make sure you are keeping your team happy and engaged.

About the author

Melissa Kelly is the CEO & Founder of Virtual Team Building. She writes about topics like remote employee engagement, and how to build successful virtual teams.

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