Proven Strategies to Manage Remote Teams

Guest Contributor

Jun 18, 2021

This post was contributed to Swingvy by guest blogger Simon Hughes.

With the ever-growing popularity of remote work environments after the COVID-19 outbreak, small remote teams have been facing several management problems. Many of such teams were reliant on locally stored documents and spreadsheets, but now as team members work from home on their own computer, there’s a big continuation gap.

Several other problems could arise in terms of managing teammates, keeping an eye on their progress, scheduling tasks, continuous sharing of files, and much more. To deal with such problems, here are several proven strategies that will help you manage your remote team better.

Sort out your telecommunications

Communication is crucial for a remote team if it wants to be great. However, it’s not easy getting it right, especially in the beginning when you haven’t chosen your communication tools. To get started, choose the pieces of software you’re going to use for your telecommunications. Pick a tool for instant messaging, one for video calls & conferences, one for file sharing, and one for project collaboration.

View Swingvy's interactive Collaboration and Communication Tool Ecosystem Infographic for links to providers.

Swingvy Collaboration and Communication Tool Ecosystem Infographic

Promote clear surroundings

While this may not seem that important, having a clean, distraction-free background is essential for every member of a remote team. You don’t want your teammates getting distracted by some strange artefacts in each other’s backgrounds during a conference. As a team manager, you should start by getting rid of all the distractions in your own background. When you’re done, ask your teammates to do the same.

Set up a schedule (and stick to it)

It’s a proven fact that scheduling is substantially more difficult when remote compared to traditional, in-office work. That’s because managers don’t have a solid way to keep an eye on their teammates while working. There might be unexpected delays in project progression in such cases. To avoid such issues, make sure you lay out the deadlines as clearly as possible. If needed, devise possible penalties for missing these deadlines, or rewards for meeting them efficiently.

Get the right productivity tools

There’s a possibility you have underestimated the importance of productivity tools. But you’ll understand it as soon as you face some difficulty collaborating on a project or sharing a large file with your teammates. Pick, and if needed, subscribe to productivity tools. To get started, find a tool that lets you send large files quickly, a tool that can manage all your remote projects, and a tool for managing individual projects at a given point. Add more tools to the list as you start needing them.

Set specific timestamps for team interactions

As mentioned earlier, it’s substantially harder to communicate and keep your team in check while working remotely. Another aspect of this problem is the limitation in team meetings and conferences. If not done right, it’s possible that at least a few of your teammates might not appear in the meeting. To fix this problem, make sure you’re providing accurate timestamps for when the meetings are going to be conducted. Moreover, tell everyone why it’s important to appear in this meeting and what could happen if someone misses it.

Get regular follow-ups

There’s no one-size-fits-all for how often you should get in touch with each teammate to see how well they’re doing. It varies from team to team, and teammate to teammate. However, following them up is crucial. You shouldn’t leave any teammate unchecked for too long. Get in touch with them regularly and see how they’re doing with their current task.

Understand remote doesn’t mean cheaper

Many team leaders make the mistake of assuming remote work is cheaper for their small organisation. This assumption originates from the fact that they don’t have to arrange an office space for the team. However, 50% savings in office spaces doesn’t mean you’re going to profit 50% more, as there are other things you need to invest in when you’re managing a remote firm.

Managing a remote team is substantially harder than managing an in-office team. Several continuity problems could arise due to the lack of communication and collaboration. However, using the strategic tips mentioned above, you can make sure you’re on the right track with your remote team.

---About the Author
Simon Hughes is a self-employed Employee Recruitment and Retention Specialist, currently living in Singapore. Simon's main job is to research and develop opportunities to recruit, retain, and promote a culturally diverse workforce. Simon is also a freelance writer, who likes to share tips with people abroad. Effectively balancing big picture thinking and strategic planning with hands-on execution has allowed Simon to combine decisiveness, strong business acumen, and formal education to achieve objectives both professionally and personally.


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