Ideas for Leaders: How to Create Your Best Practices for Managing Remote Teams

Two years into the pandemic, many workplaces have either pivoted to remote work entirely or evolved to include a hybrid remote and in-office work model. In some cases, this was due to local restrictions; in others, employee preference. No matter the reason, it’s time to talk about best practices for managing remote teams in this new landscape.

A diverse group of remote workers meet and collaborate

The Problem with Managing Virtual Employees

Many workplaces defaulted to 100% remote work at the start of the pandemic and haven’t gone back, regardless of loosening restrictions. Although remote work is a perk many employees are drawn to, we must consider the complete picture. Too many businesses did not establish best practices for managing remote teams before switching.

Most workplaces benefit from collaboration by having employees in the office at least part of the time. Unfortunately, messaging systems like Slack can be cryptic, easily misinterpreted, and cause communication breakdowns between teams.

When deciding if permanent remote work is right for your business, there’s more to consider than pure employee productivity. What gets missed when we work from home is faster training for new employees, a cohesive company culture, and more accountability for performance. Additionally, leaders benefit greatly from being with their teams.

The Hybrid Workplace Model

I am a big fan of getting teams on at least a hybrid schedule back in the office. However, many of my clients have seen that urgency and workflow are negatively affected by remote work. Therefore, it’s essential to look at your bottom line and see if fully remote work is genuinely working for your business. If not, you might consider moving to a 
hybrid working environment
.

To get the most out of a hybrid model, you’ll need to establish best practices for managing remote teams as soon as possible. This will help you navigate the days when your employees are working from home. Here are some suggestions.

  1. Establish expectations. If employees aren’t in the office, you can’t physically see them when they work. Therefore, it’s essential to have specific rules to ensure that work is getting done. For example, it’s reasonable to expect that remote employees will be online and use a messaging system during work hours if they need to be reached.
  2. Communicate. Please make yourself available if your team needs to schedule a quick chat on days when they’re remote. Be thorough in your written communications and make sure that everyone is clear on objectives. Implement a shared calendar, so there is no confusion about who is remote on any given day.
  3. Don’t micromanage. It’s tempting for managers to crack down on remote employees, demanding frequent check-ins and meetings to ensure that work is done. This is demoralizing and can interrupt workflow. Instead, if an employee is generally trustworthy, rely on output as the primary indicator of productivity on remote days.
  4. Be fair. Resentments will crop up between employees if the remote work policy is not equitable for everyone. If there are circumstances that make it necessary for some teams to be in the office more than others, be clear so no one feels that they’re being mistreated.

When implemented correctly, these best practices for managing remote teams can help stave off some of the worst problems with remote work and give your employees the best of both worlds.

Want to learn more about how to succeed with a hybrid working model? Please fill out my contact form for a complimentary video call to discuss how to create best practices for managing remote teams.

Coach Dave

 

 

 

Dave Schoenbeck
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