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Tips for Managing Remote Teams

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by Charlotte Gurney

Our current working environment is unprecedented. Many leaders are finding themselves suddenly managing an entirely remote team. This arrangement might sound intimidating if you have never experienced it before. However, large segments of the modern workforce have been successfully working remote for years. Here are some tips to help ensure you and your team successfully navigate the challenges: 

1. Communicate Regularly, especially at the beginning. If your team is used to an office environment, they could begin to feel isolated and lonely as the days go on. Schedule group video chats on a regular basis to stay connected - services like Zoom or Google's Team Hangouts make this relatively easy for all. At first, these group chats should be held every day. 

2. Manage Expectations. As you would in the office, set yourself and your team up for success by clearly stating both the assigned tasks and the reasons behind them, and help your team understand exactly how you will measure success. That means defining the scope, deadlines, and deliverables for each task or project your team is working on. 

3. Focus on Outcomes. It's not possible to manage every aspect of the work done by a remote team, so don’t try to micromanage. Instead of focusing on activity, focus on the outcomes and measure your team accordingly. 

Tips to Support Team Members with Children at Home 

1. Be Flexible while parents/caregivers, especially those with small children, are quickly adjusting to the new environment, they will need your support and understanding. These team members can still be accountable to complete their work, but you need to trust your team and give them the freedom and flexibility to get the work done on whatever schedule helps them be the most productive. They might need to start super early or work late, or catch up on a Saturday morning to meet a deadline. Trust them to manage their time and focus on the outcome. Stay connected to review their time-management strategies. Offer support and constructive recommendations. 

2. Encourage Self Care - parents/caregivers are juggling many responsibilities. Make sure they spend some of their time taking a break for themselves. Your care and consideration of their circumstance will go a long way to keeping them sane and productive.