How to Effectively Manage a Remote Team

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With the onset of the coronavirus in the U.S., many companies moved quickly into a temporary work-from-home model. Many didn’t want this but adapted (perhaps roughly) anyway.

Supervisors face the acute challenge of keeping tabs on their teams without maintaining a physical presence with them. A dispersed team is more intimidating to corral than one under the same roof. If you’re a stressed manager in this position, consider how to effectively manage a remote team without burning out or burdening your staff.

Maintain a Predictable Stream of Communication

To compensate for a lack of physical presence, establishing consistent channels of communication facilitates your supervisor-supervisee relationships. Find a chat platform that accommodates your team’s needs—a video chatting feature is a boon to many—and stick with it.

Carve out specific times for one-on-one check-ins as well as team-wide meetings. These help your employees avoid the creeping sense of isolation that grows when contact with work diminishes. Also, meetings allow managers to operate with peace of mind because they know what people are working on each day. Also, to avoid disrupting your employees, send out messages at consistent times. This alleviates the deluge of messages that distract from focused project engagement.

Reward Their Remote Efforts

Maintaining motivation for work-from-home staff, while not quite as difficult as some anticipated, is still important. As a manager, structure in times for feedback, so your supervisees can continue to experience growth.

Beyond feedback, consider implementing an employee reward program. You can get creative—there are all kinds of employee awards you can think up. Find what fits your group best and foster some healthy competition. Even if it’s silly and only tangentially related to work, there’s no telling how encouraging an award system may be to your remote workers.

Promote Workers’ Work/Life Separation

Rounding out this list of ways to effectively manage a remote team is the importance of paying special attention to employees’ work/life balance. When working from home, it’s harder to distance oneself from work. This means longer hours on the job and difficulty resting after a shift is over.

To promote employee well-being, dedicate yourself to educating your team about unplugging from work. Also, make clear your desire for them to step away. Your people are only effective if they can rest properly.

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