Remote teams are already a growing trend in various industries today, considering the benefits it gives to both team managers and members. It is expected to be even more popular as 50% of the workforce now is working various telecommuting roles and about 80% of all employees desire to work remotely for part of the week. However, many managers still cannot fully accept this and they have reasons for that. One of these is fear that they have no control over their actual productivity and level of commitment; therefore, putting the desired result for a project at risk.
What is a remote team?
A remote team is a virtual team that works together, similar to the traditional workplace where a team works for a common goal in a project. It has a manager or leader that the members directly report to for their specific functions. And since it is virtual, the team members and the leaders may not be co-located geographically. In a remote team, there are members that can also be known as nomad workers or web commuters who continuously work anywhere while on the go.
Benefits of working with a remote team
With the incredible things that the internet can do, there are so many benefits of working in a remote team. According to Global Workplace Analytics and Felxjobs, working remotely has increased by 159% over the last 12 years. With that, obviously, more people today prefer to work remotely because it gives them the freedom that the traditional workplace cannot. Freedom of time, place, preferences and being with your loved ones while working are the best benefits that “remote work” produces. Being the manager of a remote team is not easy. But to be teamed up with people from all over the world with unique talents and skills, leading remotely can be challenging but manageable. Profitably speaking, remote teams save a lot of money as they have the same skills sets that are needed in a traditional workplace set up. According to PGI News, a real estate savings of $10, 000 per year per employee is a benefit they got from remote workers. Therefore, working with a remote team does not only give more freedom, but it also flows profit as much as the traditional workplace.
How to successfully manage a remote team
Managing a remote team comes with a greater deal of responsibility towards time and collaboration. This is especially true since a remote team consists of people from different parts of the world with different time zones, cultures, and personalities. Managing a remote team for a project is a total challenge. So how can a project be done successfully in this setup? Here are 13 ways to manage a remote team for a project.
- Getting the right people: It is critical to team up people that can make a project successful; therefore, it is important to determine the right people and skills set.
- Resourcefulness: With the availability there is on the internet, producing tools and materials that are vital for the project should not be missed.
- Communication: Just like in a relationship, whether personal or virtual, communication is always part of success. So in a remote team, communication should be on time and consistent. This is where managers can gauge their team’s commitment to their job.
- Tracking: Time tracking a team’s productivity is not just important but crucial especially if they are paid hourly. However, managers should not make their team feel like they are not trusted. It is important to set them with the right expectations.
- Inclusiveness: In communication, people talk because they have to but with inclusiveness, people choose to communicate because they feel a sense of belongingness to a group. Therefore, to make a project successful, there should be no limit as to who can get involved as long as they contribute.
- Be strategic: Projects have to be finished on time, so managers should provide their teams with ways and tools to help them be productive and efficient.
- Goal Setting: A team should have a clear vision of the goal towards the project. Despite being remote from each other, this part of making the project successful should be set properly.
- Be collaborative: Collaborating with a team doesn’t make a manager weak; it makes him engaging and relatable. Each member of the team has their own strengths and as their leader, that potential should shine through collaboration.
- Be Open: Considering that there are a lot of differences between the manager and the rest of the team, they should be open when it comes to ideas that may be new. It is okay to disagree but not in a tough way. It is important to understand that the goal is to make the project successful.
- Be organized: With overwhelming tools and materials that are given to the managers, there is a tendency to be unorganized. Work systematically to make the team’s tasks lighter.
- Don’t overthink: Overthinking is the culprit of idleness. The time lost in overthinking could have been the time that the manager is actually engaging the team. A manager should not be consumed by worry. He should influence positivity and believe that his members will deliver.
- Stay focused: While it can be advantageous to work remotely in a preferred place, it comes with certain cons as well. One of those is noise distraction. A lot of millennial mothers are becoming work-at-home moms– being a manager and a mother at the same time. Noise distraction is the number one struggle. Find ways to stay focused despite this challenge.
- Be original: Today, millions of people are using the internet for money-making. Managers should not completely rely on their objectives from others. There’s a level of difference when one’s heart is being put to what he does which resonates to the team. Keep the fire burning and always go back to “why” a manager is there for the project to be successful.
Managing a project with a remote team can be exciting and challenging. A manager needs to be on top of the team’s daily performance and productivity without compromising trust and confidence. Considering all the pros and cons that come with it, choosing the right people in creating a team that can deliver the desired result is an utmost decision. A manager has to be truly committed and passionate to achieve the desired success.