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8 Tips for Managing Remote Teams

Woman doing a virtual conference call

With your team now remote, leaders face new challenges when it comes to managing their teams. Digital is the way of the future, but remote working without a strategy is bound to fail both companies and its employees. Here at EG Workforce, we’re sharing the tips we’ve acquired as our team has become entirely virtual.

Leaders Must be Visible

Your team cannot be there best if their leader isn’t visible. Successful leaders of remote teams can retain positive relationships with their team, and the best way to achieve this is through remaining visible to their employees. A Gallup poll found that positive relationships among teams lead to higher employee engagement. Managing these relationships is easier in a traditional office setting; it is even more crucial while your team is remote. Without managers, team members, and even the organization’s leaders putting in the time and effort to foster relationships with their newly remote employees, it’s all too easy for those workers to feel isolated and left out. Isolated employees will burnout quickly and will not feel engaged in their work.

Leaders must make a conscious effort to remain visible to their teams and continue building their relationships with their employees. Leaders should be seen on camera over video, call their team members on the phone, over-communicate what’s happening, and set up regular check-ins with their team members.

There Needs to be Team Collaboration

Since your team is no longer sitting in an office together, it’s essential to keep the collaboration going digitally. Utilize tools like video conferencing, Google Docs, project management software like Monday.com, or chat tools like Slack to keep your team collaborating and working as a team.

Without team collaboration, your company’s efforts will either fall through the cracks or efforts will be duplicated, leading to less productivity and time wasted. Leaders should encourage collaboration by implementing team-centric tools like we mentioned earlier.

Always Use Video When Possible

With the lack of face-to-face connection, using video is a key component to remote team success. Instead of relying on just a phone call for your next meeting or check-in, leaders should encourage the use of video when possible. There are plenty of resources available for companies to use video conferencing, the most popular being Zoom, but you may already have access to video conferencing on the phone system your company currently uses.

Being seen on camera reinforces the connection between your team and leads to higher engagement and productivity.

Using video also allows leaders and co-workers to pick up on the nonverbal cues that occur. Research shows that up to 93% of communication is nonverbal. So while phone calls are great, they cannot make up all of your meetings and communications as video conferencing allows you to pick up on your team’s non-verbal cues.

Provide Face-to-Face Communication

Much like using video conferencing is important for maintaining employee engagement, it’s crucial for providing face-to-face communication. Leaders should plan to set up personal check-ins with their team members where they can communicate virtually face-to-face.

These check-ins provide the space to connect with your team deeper than a regular phone call can and helps strengthen the professional relationship between you and your employees. Face-to-face communication also reinforces that your company is still operating as it would (given the circumstances) in the traditional office environment.

Leaders Must Set Clear Expectations

Leaders must set clear expectations for their remote teams to eliminate as much uncertainty as possible and avoid any miscommunication. Each member of your team will have different ideas of what working remotely looks like, and it’s up to you as a leader to get everyone on the same page by laying out clear expectations.

You may want to mandate calendar sharing, project check-ins, or daily task lists. However, while these are great tools to help keep your team accountable, you’ll want to make sure you avoid becoming too much of a micro-manager. Research shows that employee productivity and engagement drops dramatically when an employee feels like they are being micromanaged, and this will lead to burnout quickly.

Be Hyper-Focused on Your Core Values

Now more than ever, your company should be visibly living out and hyper-focused on its core values. This time is uncertain and full of challenges and stressors beyond what a typical workday looks like. On top of worrying about how to adapt to working remotely, your team members will be stressed about what the future of the company looks like, their financial state, and of course, getting sick. If your employees have children, their home is also doubling as a school as well as an office.

To help their employees succeed while working remotely, leaders must show empathy and live out the company’s core values. Here at EG, we have 5 core values: Do the Right Thing, Value the Individual, An Attitude that Works, Red Hot Chili Pepper Urgency, and Healthy as a Whole. We are going above and beyond during these uncertain times to live out our values in the work we do individually and as a whole team.

Encourage Your Team to Set Boundaries

To avoid employee burnout, leaders must encourage their team to set boundaries. While people work from home, it can be difficult for people to know when to “turn-off.” When the office and home mesh into one, it can be tempting for your team to not power down their email of close-out projects at the end of the day. While this may seem like an exciting prospect to increase productivity, it will quickly backfire as your team will become overwhelmed and burned out.

Leaders should encourage their team to set boundaries between work and free time. Be sure to remind your team to take a lunch break as they would in a traditional office setting and to turn off their computer at the end of the workday. One tip is to have a separate workspace from the space you relax in, if possible. If your team member isn’t able to have a separate work area, encourage them to put their computer out of sight when it’s time to power down. Setting these boundaries to “turn-off” will lead to happier and more productive employees.

Trust Your Team

Finally, simply trust your team. You hired this team for a reason, and when they have the tools to succeed, believe that they will. When you have trust in your team, you will see better results and a higher level of productivity. A team with the right tools and trust from their leaders cannot fail, even while being completely remote!

Times are changing; we believe we will see the lasting impact of teams being able to work remotely outside of COVID-19. Companies will need to learn to adapt to this new normal, even if teams aren’t fully remote on the other side of these challenging times. Leaders and employees will need to work together right now to be successful while remote and build strategies for virtual work in the future.

About EG Workforce Solutions

We’ve been in this business for decades and have developed a deep network of professional connections. Whether they’re companies looking for talent, job seekers looking for work, or an up-and-coming store in need of some temporary help, we know the right people to bridge the gap between the hiring and the hired.

But what’s more, we get to know people. From employers hiring to candidates looking, we take the time to listen and learn. We hear your likes, talents, and needs. We gain an understanding, and with it, we’re able to facilitate lasting relationships between businesses and people.

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