Guest Post: Tips for Managing Remote Teams

Remote teams have been around since the dawn of the internet, but when the pandemic hit, more and more companies were forced to adapt to a remote working arrangement. The number of remote employees has increased by 140% worldwide since 2005, and in the U.S. alone, about 42% of the entire workforce are now working remotely.

On whether or not remote work could be something permanent for U.S. companies, MIT economist Erik Brynjolfsson says: “This grand experiment of remote work is forcing companies to rethink their operations, drop an outdated mindset, and discover more efficient ways of working.” He recognizes that these changes will very likely stick even when the pandemic ends. Permanent or temporary, it’s your responsibility as a leader to manage your remote team well, and help them perform and feel their best.

Manage expectations

Setting realistic goals and expectations should always be part of any team’s work process, but the need is even greater now that people have to contend with the ongoing pandemic — including all the adjustments that come with it. Previously accepted conventions within your team may no longer hold true, so take time to discuss with your organization and figure out what operational and management adjustments should be made.

Provide guidelines and be transparent on priorities, milestones, and other goals, particularly at the beginning of any engagement. Your team relies on you to steer a steady ship, so establish each member’s role within the team and let them know what you expect from them, but make sure it’s realistic and feasible. Don’t forget to also let your team know what they can expect from you. Additionally, you may need to shift your leadership perspective, and we can help you with this through our consultancy services here at Amaxra that cover business intelligence and specific project management tasks. This way, you have a clear exchange from both your end and theirs to help guide your processes moving forward.

Wellness initiatives

You have to look at health beyond just a factor in employee productivity. Recognize that team members are also your friends and colleagues. Their health and well-being, both physical and mental, should come as a top priority. After all, wouldn’t working be a more pleasant, easier process when your team is happy and healthy?

Previously, compensation packages may have included wellness perks such as a gym membership. With the pandemic, this isn’t currently usable. In lieu of that, a Forbes list on wellness programs suggests offering access to online fitness training classes and programs. The list even promotes online meditation practice and virtual therapy. With wellness initiatives, you have to take into account how it has to be holistic: incorporating both mind and body.

Offer financial advice and assistance

A Pew Research Center survey reveals that one-fourth of adults have had trouble paying their bills since the pandemic started. Moreover, a third of all respondents have dipped into savings or retirement accounts, and a sixth have borrowed money from friends or family or have gone to a food bank just to weather the storm. This is one of the most financially trying times any living person has ever experienced. Team members may have had to support more people than usual or lost income streams within the household, it would benefit them to receive sound financial advice.

Encourage your team to start saving money, and, undoubtedly, one of the easiest ways to do this is through purchasing a certificate of deposit (CD). The savings guide to CDs on Marcus highlights how these are great investments, as people can put in a certain amount of money with the bank for a given time—between six months and six years—and will have a guaranteed interest on top of their initial investment upon the end of the period. This helps cultivate better money management as well as a savings habit in your team members, which will help them through some difficult times ahead, too. Similarly, you can talk to your team about investing in bond funds that they can put into company bonds both in the U.S. and abroad for a set period of time, too, potentially yielding high returns depending on the company’s performance. They don’t just help save money, they also guarantee significant returns for your employees in the future.

Bank on technology for better communication

As mentioned in our ‘Powering Productivity with Technology During a Crisis’ article, one of the most challenging things about remote work is the lack of human interaction. Since the only communication you have with your team is through screens, you need a more proactive approach and even more effort to connect. This is made easier with the use of technology, programs, and other online tools.

One such technology is Microsoft Teams Telephony. This tool allows users to access a phone system via Microsoft Teams, and provides a seamless private branch exchange function so that those within your organization can easily reach each other. Members of remote teams are often working on their own, so it’s crucial that they know they have a support system that they have access to. While sending each other quick messages may also be an option, actually hearing someone’s voice and getting to have a real-time conversation with them brings an extra dimension of community building.

The shift to remote work by the majority of companies has shown people how effective of an arrangement it can be when managed correctly. It allows employees more flexibility, cuts down on overhead costs, and could even promote a better work-life balance.

Contact us at technology@amaxra.com or call 425 749 7471 for a no-obligation consultation on how we can help you get more value and protection from your software investment.

about the author

Theya Hills

Theya Hills has always had an interest in information-based methods of creating business and worker management plans. When he's not researching or writing a new piece, you'll find him jogging in the local park.

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