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7 Tips for Managing Remote Teams

A chief of staff can help you easily optimize your remote workforce

Key takeaways:

  • Train remote employees on tools and workflows.
  • Find ways to track employee engagement.
  • Encourage collaboration and remove silos.
  • Get to know your employees’ challenges.
  • Offer support and social outlets.
  • Work with a chief of staff.

A remote workforce offers advantages for both employees and employers. Remote employees report higher levels of engagement and a better work-life balance. Employers enjoy reduced office costs while also reaping the benefits of a more engaged workforce. 

Despite these advantages, managing a remote team does come with challenges. Whether your team is all remote or hybrid, you need to ensure they have the tools to do their jobs. You also have to adopt new management strategies. Otherwise, you may end up with an unproductive or frustrated team. Let these seven ideas on how to manage remote teams guide your success.

Provide training on collaboration tools and workflows

The world’s best collaboration tools are worthless if your team doesn’t know how to use them. Make sure that you provide training before they start working remotely. Offer additional training when you roll out new tools or start projects that use new aspects of existing tools. 

Also, make sure that your employees understand your workflows. What happens at each step in a workflow? Who’s responsible? How do you communicate that a task has been completed to the other people on the team? If employees don’t understand your workflows, you will sacrifice productivity. This is always true, but it’s more pronounced when you’re dealing with remote teams.

Create effective communication processes

As a business owner, you want to encourage employees to come to you with their questions and concerns. At the same time, if your remote employees are instant messaging you constantly, you won’t be able to focus on what you need to do. 

This is true of your other employees as well. They need to be able to communicate with each other, but they need to do so in a way that doesn’t disrupt focus. Create a communication policy that keeps everyone connected while also supporting focus. 

Make sure that your remote team knows how to update conversations on asynchronous threads. Ensure that they all understand which channels to use so that everyone is on the same page. Also, set up regular meetings for synchronous communication. This is critical for tracking progress, answering questions, and minimizing frustrations. 

Find ways to track employee engagement

Remote employees tend to be more productive than their in-office peers. However, you should still find ways to track their activities. In the office, you can keep an eye on what your employees are doing. When they’re at home, you need to be able to trust them. However, even if you have a highly trustworthy team, you should have some ways to track what they’re doing. 

For some employees, you may want to use apps that track what they’re doing online or the actions they take in your CRM. Alternatively, you may want to take an outcome-based approach. In this case, you will focus on your employees’ deliverables, sales numbers, or whatever KPIs you expect them to produce. 

Encourage collaboration and find ways to remove silos

Proactive collaboration is key for remote teams. Of course, this applies to teams of people who are working on the same projects, but it also applies to people who work on different projects or even in different departments of your organization. 

Look for silos on specific projects and through your organization as a whole. Find ways that you can eliminate redundancies and streamline processes. Adjust workflows and bring in new tools as needed to improve collaboration.

Get to know your employees’ challenges.

Effective managers get to know the people they’re managing, and they find ways to bring out the best in them. Typically, this requires you to move past traditional management techniques and toward coaching.  

Learn what challenges your remote employees are facing. Help them find solutions to these challenges so that they can live up to their full potential. This helps develop your employees as professionals, but it also ensures that you get the best effort out of your workforce. 

Offer support and social outlets

Working remotely can be isolating. Make sure that your team has the support they need for their mental and physical health. Offer solutions that address these issues in particular. At the same time, find ways to help your team connect socially. 

This can happen in small ways such as asking employees how they are at the beginning of a video meeting. It can also happen in bigger ways such as team events or in-person retreats to build relationships.

Work with a fractional chief of staff

Answering questions and tracking the progress of remote employees can be time-consuming. It can distract you from working on other aspects of your business. A fractional chief of staff can help mitigate this issue. 

They identify tasks that you should be outsourcing to others – such as tracking project progress for remote employees. They find ways to remove silos and improve collaboration across your organization. They also help to improve communication channels and processes in a way that safeguards your team while also ensuring that your team can reach you when needed.   

Many CEOs and founders in this situation get stuck in administrative loops, and they end up spending so much time working in their business that they can’t work on their business. A chief of staff removes this risk. They help you look at the big picture. They ensure you are working on the business’s high-level goals, not handling the day-to-day minutiae.

Leading a remote team requires a great deal of organization, empathy, and flexibility. If you’re shifting to a remote team, you will have to alter your workflows, communication methods, and management style. If you already have a remote team, you should regularly review your management style to ensure you’re optimizing your team. 

A chief of staff can help you bring everything together. They can ensure that your remote team is well managed, in a way that isn’t straining your personal resources. To learn more, contact us at Chiefly Consultants. We provide fractional chief of staff services to growing businesses, and we can provide you with a professional who can help to guide your success. 

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