Covid may be leaving our lives but some of its effects are here to stay. The most important among them is remote work. How to manage a remote team in 2023 is a chief concern for organizations across domains. To do that, what you need are the right technological solutions to effectively manage remote teams.
With all of the tools and tech we have at our fingertips, one may think that managing a remote team in 2023 would be easy. This is not always the case. Whether you’re a small business, agency, or educator, before understanding the best practices to manage a remote in 2023, let’s first understand the key challenges.
Challenges in remote work
The first thing that managers need to understand about remote work is that it upends the conventional idea of an organization. People view an office as a physical place where they work in proximity to others and one which encourages both planned and unplanned interactions.
Now you have individuals who’re physically distant from each other. The lack of direct interactions can translate to a lack of access to information. Without timely inputs, guidance, and feedback, productivity will suffer. This will impact both individual and collective outputs.
Secondly, existing silos can be amplified in remote work. Collaboration between teams and between managers and teams can suffer due to social isolation. Finally, working from home or other places means working with different kinds of distractions. Managers would need to understand them and deliver feasible solutions to their employers.
How to effectively manage a remote team in 2023
Using these functional tactics, managers can better manage their remote teams for greater productivity.
- Communicate clearly
To successfully manage a remote team in 2023, communication should be your top priority. Remember that without direct meetings, everything around projects, tasks, timelines, and resource allocation would need greater clarity. The objective should be to have seamless communication both within the organization and with external stakeholders.
Identifying team structures, project timelines, and resource needs is important. The next step is to regularly hold individual and group meetings using dedicated channels. Employees should know who they can reach out to in case of a query and how soon it would be answered.
- Have daily check-ins
In a physical office, an employee who needs clarification or guidance can walk into their manager’s office or reach out to a colleague in the next cubicle. Since remote work makes this impossible, daily check-ins are necessary. It formalizes employee interactions and also provides a timeline for status updates.
These daily check-ins don’t have to be exhaustive meetings. Even a two-minute phone or video call, a short email, or a text can go a long way in addressing concerns and fostering a sense of unity within teams and organizations.
- Set rules of engagement
For a manager to successfully manage a remote team in 2023, they will have to lay down rules of engagement. These would stipulate the frequency of meetings, means of communication, and the roles of the participants. For example, video calls could be effective for group meetings while phone calls can be the norm for one-on-one interactions.
Similarly, you could have private channels for managers and team members for specific projects. Employees should know how they can share their questions and get resources allocated in a timely manner.
- Use technology
Managing a remote team means empowering employees with the right information and resources at the right time. Organizations that have done well have used technological solutions tailor-made for distributed teams. If you have never used such tools and have been relying on conventional technologies, now is the time to change.
When you select a technology, keep in mind your needs and budget. An expensive remote management solution designed for large enterprises may not be the right solution for a small business or startup. Heycollab, for instance, is built as an easy-to-use, feature-rich solution to empower remote work in small businesses and startups.
- Focus on outcomes and not processes
While providing autonomy to employees has always been important, it takes on a new urgency in remote work. To manage a remote team in 2023, you need to empower each employee with the resources and support they need. Once they have it, you should trust them to do it their way without needless micromanagement.
Managers can develop plans, roadmaps, and timelines with key metrics for desired results. You should resist the urge to frequently interrupt employees and ask them for status updates. Beyond being a distraction, this will also reduce employee engagement.
- Have clarity on deliverables
Firms that are effective in managing their remote teams have one thing in common. Both the managers and team members in such organizations know what the deliverables are. This is crucial because social isolation can erode organizational cohesiveness.
If there’s uncertainty, it would lead to subpar outcomes and costly delays. When an employee knows precisely what the greater objective is, they will be more encouraged to be productive.
- Allocate resources
Your projects will be successful if you can allocate the necessary resources to your team members when they need them. All organizations would have set procedures for this but those are from a different model. Remote team management requires new protocols and technologies for resource allocation.
All project-specific resources should be accessible to employees without the need for time-consuming permissions. Along with that, managers should ensure that employees have the necessary hardware including laptops, routers, and headsets. Team members should also be incentivized to get the right WiFi and workstations for their home offices.
- Delegate responsibilities evenly
Depending on their personality types and familiarity with technology, some employees may find it easier to transition to remote work. They might even talk about its advantages, which could discourage others from talking about its problems. This could result in an uneven distribution of workload.
One of the primary objectives of managers should be to foster a culture where employees can talk about the problems in the transition to remote work. This will help team leaders delegate tasks according to the bandwidth of the employee and their unique circumstances.
- Encourage casual interactions
An office isn’t just a building where professional interactions take place. It’s also a setting for casual relationships and friendships that make work less monotonous. Unfortunately, remote work has put an end to these important interactions.
If you want to learn how to manage a remote team in 2023, keep in mind that you’re talking about individuals who’re isolated from their colleagues. To overcome geographical barriers, managers should be proactive in holding virtual events where employees can freely engage in conversations with each other. Instead of mandating additional meetings, you can cancel one of your regular meetings for such activities.
- Be empathetic
Managing a remote team is challenging for managers. But remote work is also stressful for workers because it’s a new model where boundaries between work and personal lives can disappear easily and where they have to work independently without the usual set of resources.
That’s why to manage a remote team in 2023, managers should empathize with the changed circumstances of their team members. Instead of viewing them as mere employees, see them as individuals. Create spaces where they can freely share their problems. And, importantly, always remain calm.
- Gather feedback
An advantage of using the right technology to manage a remote team in 2023 is that you can use it for meaningful two-way communication. Instead of only delegating tasks and handling work-related queries, you can request employees to give feedback on the broader aspects of remote work.
Once you have more personalized feedback, you can give nuanced solutions to improve productivity. Heycollab, for instance, has dedicated channels for more direct interactions. These will bring to light challenges that managers may have overlooked. This also lets the employees know that their managers are interested in their problems.
- Be mindful of work-life balance
The biggest disadvantage of remote work is the erosion of work-life balance. This leads to reduced engagement and eventually, a demotivated workforce. To avoid that, the first principle managers should understand is that just because employees are working from their homes doesn’t mean they’re always available.
Set strict office hours and ensure that work doesn’t creep into the personal lives of your employees. All communication, whether it’s email, text, phone calls, or video calls, should be limited to those hours. This should be enforced not just for internal but also for external communication. The last thing your employees want is to answer customer calls during off hours, weekends, or holidays.
The right project management for managing a remote team
By now organizations understand that the right technological solution is necessary to manage a remote team in 2023. Heycollab is a project management tool built for teams like yours. With a free 14-day trial you can try out all the cool features. To get started, visit https://heycollab.com/