In today’s working environment, it is increasingly common to find yourself managing a team staffed with people from all corners of the world. High performing internet connectivity, robust no cost Wi-Fi and secure remote access to your company’s network allows employees to work from virtually anywhere in the world. In the US, remote working grew by 103% between 2005 and 2016 and the trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Fueled by average cost savings of $11,000 per employee per year and increased employee satisfaction, the ability to manage remote teams is a must have skill.
Here are 5 tips to help Project Managers transition to an effective remote team manager role.
Leverage web conferencing
Web conferencing allows businesses to share ideas and information among people and across the organization in real-time. Web conferencing and other real time collaboration tools that also include video along with sound are well suited solutions for working remotely. Experts reveal that up to 93% of communication is non-verbal and companies can improve meeting efficiency and prevent miscommunications by enabling teams to actually see one another. The ability to see each other also increases employee engagement, connection and collaboration in meetings. Leveraging collaboration technology will connect remote employees and help preserve the productivity and efficiency of the on-premise team environment.
Know the time
Having team members spread across different time zones is a challenge that can mean extra work or longer hours for a project manager. Managers must accommodate their remote teams by managing all of the collaborative tasks during hours where the majority of the team is working. Depending on time zones, this could mean some team members will need to log-in earlier or later to join the rest of the team. If this is the case, try to know your people’s personal commitments before you schedule them off-hours.
Run efficient meetings
When running a remote meeting, make sure to give yourself extra time for preparation so the meeting can start on time. Virtual meetings require more prep as a rule, and if the first 5 minutes of your meeting are spent logging-in or getting logistics set, your chance of losing employees to multitasking increases greatly. Use agendas, visual aids, media and rotate speakers to keep the meeting moving. Ask team members to be ready on time and stick to the agenda as much as possible.
Building relationships with remote team members is often more difficult than building relationships with the people down the hall. It requires active work as there is a lack of organic connection time. To help build comradery, work to create open connection time in your 1:1’s and team meetings. Build in time for chatting about the weekend on the Monday AM meeting. Take time to know team member’s hobbies, friends, families and outside interests. Ask questions and practice active listening.
Be Clear on the mission
Nothing brings a team together more than a shared experience, mission or vision. With a remote team, shared experiences are difficult to achieve, however, having a clear team mission and vision will be valuable for brining your team together. Make the time to create a shared mission or vision with your team, involving all members in the creative process.
Geographically dispersed teams can offer huge benefits in efficiency, cost savings, employee satisfaction and access to top talent regardless of location. Managing these teams requires you start with trust and that you find new ways of keeping your team running smoothly. Assume your remote employees are doing their best work and leverage these five tips to build a high performing remote team.
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