This article is part two of the series on managing remote teams. Please see part one here.
5. Go the extra mile with praise.
As noted previously, body language doesn’t translate well over distance. Sure, video helps a lot, but it can’t capture everything, and not everyone is able or willing to use video conferencing all the time. Without body language, your team can’t properly gauge the tone of your communications.
That’s why Jenna Scaglione, owner of LadyContent, says you should go out of your way to give praise to team members. “Your team can’t see the slight squint of your eyes or upturned mouth when you’re happy with their work. So do more than saying ‘good job’ or sending a thumbs up emoji. Tell them how you feel about their work in detail, and share their accomplishments with the team.”
6. Avoid micromanaging.
It can be tempting to keep detailed track of your team’s every movement, especially since they aren’t within yelling distance. But taking that approach can be unproductive for both you and your team members. Providing around-the-clock updates is disruptive to your team’s work, especially if that work requires concentration and it takes a significant amount of time to see progress.
The exact level of hands-on management you should use depends on the work your team does and your dynamic with each team member. For Faizan Ali, growth hacker at WPBeginner, his team is more on the autonomous side. “We assign our team targets for the quarter and follow up on those targets during weekly meetings. We then adjust as needed and provide whatever support each member needs.”
7. Encourage your team to work from different places.
Many remote workers believe the biggest benefit of working remotely is that you’re not tied to one place—the office. You can work from anywhere in the world, as long as you have your laptop or phone and the internet to stay connected with your team. Over the years, studies have shown that working outside of a traditional office setting positively impacts work performance, among other aspects. One such study cites 82% of respondents reporting lower stress levels.
But lower stress isn’t the only benefit of working outside the office. Belinda Ginter of belindaginter.com shares: “Different settings spark creativity. Whether it’s a different room of the house, the local coffee shop, a coworking space, or the beach, encourage your team to switch it up sometimes. Then take note of how that impacts their motivation and work results.”
8. Have regular one-on-one meetings.
Managing a remote team effectively means remembering that the team is made up of individuals. Though it may seem challenging, you need to establish and maintain a relationship with each of your team members. You can do this through one-on-one meetings on whatever conferencing tool you use, such as Skype, Google Hangouts, or Zoom.
“Your relationship must be solid and personalized, which requires you to invest time and energy. But it’s worth it to have a long-lasting relationship and a productive, connected worker,” says Cristian Rennella, CEO of MejorTrato. He explains that he holds these meetings once a month with each employee and uses them to discuss everything from specific work issues to weekend plans. Rennella finds that these meetings result in employees feeling like their voices are heard, making them overall more satisfied with their jobs.
From technology tools to social interactions to transparency, these recommendations are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to managing remote teams. There are plenty more pieces of advice you can find, but try implementing one or more of the above first and see how these tips lay the foundation for a productive, engaged workforce.