Remote work has become the norm in the post-COVID world. Whether you have been forced to adopt a remote work model across the board or if you’ve sent a portion of your workforce home, there’s no denying that managing remote employees is a challenge. It’s one of those unpleasant realities of being an entrepreneur – having to constantly adapt to dramatic shifts in order to stay afloat. Needless to say, you need to master the art or managing remote teams if you want to thrive in the new normal.
Don’t worry, remote work doesn’t require any grand investments, and it’s important to note that it can transform your business in the long run. Provided that you implement it the right way, of course. With that in mind, today we are taking a look at five key strategies you need to employ for remote work success. Here’s what you need to do.
It all starts with good leadership
Leadership is paramount for the success of remote teams. When everyone was working at the same office, you probably had an easier time running a tight ship. However, now that people are working remotely, you’ll find that keeping a handle on your teams is a challenging task. Without supervision and continuous guidance, you can expect productivity and morale to start decaying exponentially.
Now is the time for you to step up as the leader your employees need and want. Your role from now on should be to provide guidance and support to your teams in a personalized manner. You need to make yourself present in their daily lives and help them overcome the challenges they are facing.
Here are a few pointers you should stick to:
- Organize daily meetings with your teams.
- Prep for the meetings and define the key talking points.
- Open up every meeting with light chit-chat.
- Give direction and structure to the meeting by steering the conversation.
- Be the key figure in every meeting and aim to portray an image of confidence and trust.
- Address any problems and setbacks with a positive attitude and a problem-solving mindset.
- Make your employees feel valued and like they are contributing by involving them in the problem-solving process.
- Be there to listen to their problems and any issues they might have – inspire them to speak up.
- Let your team members know that you’re available to connect one-on-one if need be.
Integrate a comprehensive PM tool
Collaboration in a remote work environment can prove to be a challenge if you don’t have the right tools. One of the major elements of successful collaboration is, of course, efficient and effective communication, which we will mention separately in a minute. The other major element is the concrete collaboration tool that you use to facilitate teamwork on a centralized platform. Long story short, you need a comprehensive project management tool to make remote work, well, work.
If you want your firm to stay effective and efficient while running on a remote work business model, then your employees need feature-rich, centralized platform to work on. The benefits of PM tools are numerous, but it’s important that you find a solution that is tailor-made for your industry and niche.
Unifying your communication system with VoIP
Probably the most important element of remote work success is communication. Good communication leads to better cross-team collaboration and stellar productivity. Of course, you can’t expect remote teams to communicate efficiently if you’re using various tools, platforms, and apps. You need a unified communication system like VoIP to ensure all remote employees are in sync.
If you’re wondering how VoIP works and if you need it, simply put, VoIP is a cloud-based phone system built for the digital world. This means that you’re able to make phone calls over the internet, but that you also get number of important features your remote teams can use to communicate and collaborate more efficiently. For example, some of the best VoIP systems include video and audio conferencing, a mobile app for employees on the move, auto-attendants and forwarding, and even call analytics to help you generate detailed reports.
Build a communication hierarchy that works
Of course, you can’t expect technology to solve all your communication problems. If your remote employees don’t know whom they should report to, or whom they should communicate with daily, productivity will invariably suffer. You can also expect a lack of a concrete communication hierarchy to create information bottlenecks across your organization.
To prevent this, you need to invest in making a communication hierarchy that works for your business. It’s one of those small things that make a huge difference. Here are a few key points to guide you:
- Identify vertical and horizontal communication lanes in your organization.
- Identify the teams that need to communicate daily.
- Search for common issues and bottlenecks.
- Find out if information is traveling to the wrong destination and when this occurs.
- Use these findings to draft a new communication hierarchy.
- Implement this hierarchy by sending it to all remote teams, and the follow up with a meeting.
- Take a personalized approach to this task to ensure every employee is on board.
Schedule casual meetings and focus on employee well-being
On a final note, keep in mind that remote employee management is not just about getting work done. If you want to lead your remote teams to success, you need to invest in employee happiness and well-being. Always remember that people are going through tough times right now, and some might be experiencing feelings of anxiety, higher stress, and even depression.
You need to schedule casual meetings and one-on-one video calls with your employees to check how they are doing. Ask about their day and how they are feeling, address their specific needs and problems, and be the friendly boss they need. They will appreciate your candor and develop a trusting relationship that will improve employee happiness and productivity.
Remote work comes with a unique set of challenges. If you want to survive in the new normal, you need to embrace remote work and master the art of managing a remote employee collective. Use these strategies to ensure the success of your remote teams in 2020 and the years to come.