How to manage a remote team

Ten tips for effectively managing a Remote Team

The unprecedented emergency situation caused by Covid-19 has meant that all those companies that are able to run their businesses remotely have had to embrace Remote Working.

Not so long ago, remote working was virtually the sole preserve of corporate giants or trailblazing start-ups. But now it has become a core asset in the new approach to organising work, both to guarantee business continuity and to protect the health of workers and the community.

That said, some care needs to go into in setting up this working method to ensure efficiency and productivity for teams; after all, just days ago they were used to sharing physical tools and spaces and had the “privilege” of working face to face. And while some companies have simply had to speed up a process that was already underway (the gradual shift to agile working), others have found themselves unprepared for the challenge. 

At Jobrapido we’re well-acquainted with this situation, as we work closely with HR managers at our client companies. That’s why we’re presenting these ten top tips from Patrizia TurriGlobal Vice President Human Resources at Jobrapido, to help teams and human resources managers tackle this change:

  • Make sure that people have clear goals and priorities

Clarity of goals and priorities — already a key part of managing any business — is even more important nowadays. It’s essential to dedicate each employee the time needed to clarify their responsibilities and give them a chance to raise any doubts or ask questions, so that everybody is kept in the loop.

  • Plan regular conference calls/video calls

It is vital to communicate frequently and at regular intervals. This will help everyone stay aligned, and enable them to monitor the progress of projects and activities, and meet deadlines. Punctuality is of the essence, and it’s equally important to avoid postponing deadlines. Sharing an agenda and order of business beforehand will help make virtual meetings more efficient and productive.

  • Keep different channels of communication open

Alongside scheduled meetings, it is important to be available for your team to contact you if they need to, and to encourage interaction. This will make it easier to offer reassurance, avoid wasting time and pick up on innovative ideas. Setting up a shared instant messaging platform could be a wise decision.

  • Set clear expectations

Everyone should be absolutely clear about what is expected of them, in what timeframe, and to which quality standards. That way, they can perform as necessary and take ownership of their responsibilities.

  • Use appropriate tools and technology

A truly efficient remote work team needs file-sharing tools, an instant messaging platform, screen-sharing software, time-tracking software, project management software and any other sector-specific tool or resource.

  • Ensure that every team member feels at ease

Making sure that everybody feels comfortable in this situation will help them to perform at their best, and help the team to complete the project successfully. Some personality types need social interaction to feel inspired and motivated. In such cases, it might be useful to spend some time talking with that person over the phone or by video call. It will help them to really feel part of the team, and to build a more personal rapport with you.

  • Respond to requests for support

When you are managing a team remotely, a key priority is being ready to provide support when problems arise. Some of the most common and, alas, frustrating problems you might encounter are IT-related: e-mail blockages, difficulty accessing the company network or using file-sharing systems, etc. If there’s nobody on hand to help the team members with these things, the practical and psychological impact can be considerable.

  • Keep process documentation up to date

Process documentation is of the utmost importance for completing tasks and shared projects. Keeping these documents up-to-date and making them easy to understand will ensure significant savings in time and resources, as well as being particularly helpful for less expert team members or recent hires.

  • Encourage a good atmosphere

It’s crucial to foster a team culture based on mutual trust and respect. Show resources that you appreciate them. Don’t forget to highlight the good work they’ve done and the valuable synergies created between them. Keep everyone up to date on what’s going on in the company or on other teams: this helps create a sense of identity and belonging.

Having a structured performance appraisal system will help people working from home to fully understand their strong points and areas to improve. Monthly personal performance reviews can fuel motivation for those working remotely, especially when combined with a clear professional development plan based on measurable objectives.

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