Before the COVID-19 pandemic, remote teams were an anomaly in the workplace. Not many businesses knew how to manage a remote team effectively.
Now, of course, they are ubiquitous – at least as flexible and semi-remote have seem to become a standard in 2020. Yet still, many companies struggle with remote work. Some are even throwing it out altogether.
Why should you go to a remote workplace, and how can you manage your remote team? Read on to find out.
Why Offer Remote Work?
Many companies are returning their workplace to full in-person model. At Circle View, we believe a remote/flexible option should be offered. I wrote about the benefits of remote work earlier in-depth, but here are the highlights:
- Remote teams are more productive
- Remote teams are more efficient
- Companies offering remote options experience lower employee turnover.
So, if you have decided to use remote work in your business, how can you be sure it is an effective method of working?
Move to a Results-Based Work Model
In a remote work model, workers will not be at the office from 9:00-5:00. The business cannot rely on employees getting their work direction by coming to the workplace. Employee worth can no longer be measured by the worker who puts in long hours at the office.
Instead, the business must move to a strict results-based working arrangement.
Here are some of the practices:
- Company/team objectives should be obvious. Meaning, what exactly are we trying to accomplish with our work tasks right now? (Alignment)
- Clear delineation on task ownership, task detail, and timelines. (Transparency)
- Employees at all levels completing their tasks on-time and to expectations. (Accountability)
Successful remote workplace models operate this way. When the entire team has alignment, transparency, and accountability, the company succeeds.
Without proper alignment, every employee is potentially working on the wrong tasks. Workers do not understand the main priorities for the company and are left to their own opinions as to what they should be working on.
When managing a remote team, this can be a bigger obstacle because of the physical distance between everyone.
To address this problem, it is important that the company goals and priorities are clearly understood by all. Make them easily available for everyone to see and champion them often. If the goals are clear, workers can fit their individual tasks into the framework of the company priorities.
When some employees are not onsite, it can be difficult to manage the remote team without a clear view of work duties. Who is handling each project, and when will they be delivering their work?
There should be a way of each employee seeing tasks clearly. This doesn’t only mean their tasks, but the entire team and the managers as well. The act of capturing and displaying this information helps ensure alignment. It also builds trust and teamwork amongst the employees.
Lastly, developing a sense of accountability will help you manage your remote team. Simply put, are people getting things done on agreed upon timelines? Are the requests from people getting put into actions that are getting completed?
Again, a clear picture of tasks complete by their owners goes a long way. Building accountability also helps to foster trust up and down the command chain.
Allow for a Changing Workforce
Not everyone thrives in a remote work model, and businesses will need to accept this fact. Change management will be needed as some employees may not succeed in a remote setting.
Not surprisingly, the biggest barriers coming up against remote teams often come from the managers. They may struggle to give up traditional methods of guiding their employees.
Sticking to the key characteristics of Alignment, Transparency, and Accountability will help with changing dynamics and should ease the transition.
Still want more info on how to manage a remote team? Download our free Remote Roadmap to Success here to get you started on the journey.