Last Updated on April 5, 2023 by Dave Schoenbeck
Working remotely is not for everyone, nor is managing a remote team. It takes a certain kind of manager to master the best practices for managing remote teams. Understanding your leadership style and being effective is part of your professional growth.
A great leader’s skill set must change and adapt to the hybrid workplace model. Where you once had an in-office mentor to help guide you, you’re now meeting on 3-inch video squares. No handshake. No proximity. No meaningful interaction. Yet, somehow you must be an influential manager.
While there may be missed opportunities for team building, managing a remote team successfully is still possible.
Read on to learn more about the best practices for managing remote teams.
How to Monitor Employees Working from Home
Virtual teams are no longer a mythical corporate concept. Instead, one of the best practices for managing remote teams involves trusting your team to do what is right and asking questions that will help them become productive achievers if they aren’t already.
I would argue that if you cannot trust an employee in a hybrid office concept, why would you hire them? If you aim to micromanage their daily movements and progress, how can you effectively manage others on the team and your day-to-day operations?
Some best practices for managing remote teams involve common sense—schedule regular one-on-one check-ins and virtual team-building sessions. Give your team the leeway to do their work while being available if they have questions. In addition, software and apps like Google Chat, Skype, Teams, and Slack let you communicate with them in real-time outside of more formal meetings.
Managing Remote Teams
How can we balance performance, control, and productivity with flexibility? You will find out sooner than later if work is not completed. When emails go unanswered for days, it might signify an employee who cannot thrive in a hybrid or remote environment.
However, when considering the best practices for managing remote teams, remember that it’s OK for an email to go a few hours without a response—similar to an in-office scenario.
While there is no perfect balance of in-person, hybrid, or work-from-home scenarios, you should consider what works best for you and your team and the type of work you do.
For example, scientists and doctors typically need to work from the lab or hospital. However, many data entry or marketing positions can work hybrid or remotely. Setting specific weekdays as in-office days is one way to make hybrid employment work.
What Makes Virtual Work Difficult?
For any corporate dynamic to function or exhibit dysfunction, many factors come into play. Think about the number of employees that were disengaged in an office setting. When thinking of the best practices for managing remote teams, imagine them working from home or leading a team remotely. The chances of success for the manager or subordinate and the organization are in jeopardy.
Challenges inherent in remote work include:
- Lack of face-to-face supervision
- Lack of access to legacy information
- Social isolation
- Distractions at home
- Enhanced issues with already existing silos
Managing Virtual Employees
While effective teams and businesses should have a vital element of in-person interaction, making any interaction impactful is essential. Business and executive coaching can help leaders hone their skills and empower them to manage any team dynamic.
If the past few years have taught us anything, it’s the ability to be flexible. The best practices for managing remote teams include expectation-setting from the top down.
With some employees acting as teachers for their children at home or becoming more available for activities, it’s hard to assume everyone will want to return to the office while remaining content with their role. For perspective, studies have shown that people will take a pay cut for the benefit of being available for their family or non-work obligations.
When moving forward into a hybrid workforce scenario requires flexibility and encouragement, keeping a pulse on the sentiment of the team and the individuals is essential.
Click here for a complimentary video coaching session to manage your remote team with me.