Leading a remote team has become an essential skill for managers and supervisors over the past few years. As organizations continue to embrace remote work arrangements, it is vital to understand the intricacies of this dynamic work environment and how to successfully navigate it all, ensuring collaboration, productivity and team satisfaction.
Top business leaders and staffing agencies often note that effectively managing a remote team requires setting clear expectations, facilitating open communication, building trust, embracing flexibility and using available technology for seamless connection and collaboration.
This post will discuss five tips for leading a remote team that you can put into action.
1. Build a Solid Foundation for Remote Communication
Effective communication has always been the foundation for successful teams. However, it is even more crucial for remote teams. Without the benefit of face-to-face interactions, leaders need to prioritize regular, clear and transparent communication. Fortunately, technology provides many highly effective communication tools, including email, messaging platforms, project management software and video conferencing platforms.
Use these tools and set clear expectations, establishing communication protocols and encouraging active participation in virtual meetings to minimize misunderstandings and maximize collaboration and productivity.
2. Develop a Remote Culture Based on Trust and Autonomy
A healthy remote work arrangement relies and thrives on trust and autonomy. As a leader, you need to commit to trusting your team members to accomplish their tasks without built-in on-site supervision. This may feel like a leap of faith, but putting your faith in remote workers boosts their confidence and productivity.
Foster a culture of trust by encouraging open conversations, recognizing achievements, providing constructive feedback and welcoming questions and feedback from team members. Focus on balancing employee autonomy with accountability to ensure that team members take ownership of their responsibilities, meet deadlines and comply with company standards.
3. Be Available and Approachable
While employees might seek, appreciate and relish working remotely, they also need human interaction from time to time. Let them know that you and their coworkers are there with and for them, no matter where everyone is physically located. Keep an open virtual door policy that welcomes them to reach out via phone calls, emails, text messages and video conferences.
4. Foster a Strong Team Culture
A cohesive team culture in a remote setting is critical to your mission to boost employee engagement and retention. Here are some things you can do to encourage a positive team culture:
- Play online games
- Take virtual coffee breaks
- Join team challenges
- Set up in-person meetups
Schedule brief daily video team meetings to give everyone a chance to engage in positive social interaction together and show each other support.
5. Focus on Humanity
With so much work to do and so much technology that allows us to do it on a somewhat impersonal level, it is easy to let awareness of our humanity fade into the background. Bring humanity into your interactions, providing an opportunity for everyone to connect on a deeper level.
Ask everyone to share their stories, struggles and emotions related to work or their personal lives. These insights can help you understand work performance and productivity issues and how you might be able to support your employees to ensure that they and your organization flourish.
Leading a remote team isn’t all that different from managing on-site employees. It requires trust, increased engagement, creative new communication strategies and robust use of technology. With these, you can all overcome challenges and enjoy great success.
Sara Riggs is Senior Vice President and Head of Swoon Staffing, where she works to create even more collaboration between Swoon’s recruiting and sales teams to build a true synergy. She has 15 years of experience in the staffing industry, Riggs’ expertise has advanced through the recruitment ranks with her determination, passion, strategic vision and unwavering commitment to organizational growth, her team and Swoon’s customers.