The Rising Wave that Turned Tidal
Over the years with the growth of SaaS and other tech based startups, there has been a steady rise in the number of employees working remotely. Jobs in computing, engineering, and science saw a 69% increase between 2000 to 2010. Some industries saw a 10% increase in workers from 2013 to 2017 who spent at least one day operating remotely, as hybridization grew. Over the course of 2009 to 2019, there was a 6% overall increase in the percentage of employees working exclusively remotely in the US.
This steady acceleration was given a nitro boost in 2020 due to the global pandemic. In June of 2020, about 42% of the entire US workforce were working from home full time. Now over two years into the “new” normal, many companies worldwide have adapted to hybrid or completely remote working environments.
Due to the unique benefits provided from having remotely working teams, such as the freedom from geo-location restrictions, the WFH (work from home) trend is still growing. For this reason and more, steadily many companies are continuously shifting to hybrid and remote work structures.
Transitioning and adapting to the remote work environment can be challenging, especially for a project manager. Thankfully, there are tools and studied methods to ensure success with a virtual office space. We compiled a list of surefire tips and tricks to help keep your management game on track.
1. Mandate Daily Check-ins
The first step to helping remote employees stay focused is securing a method of daily check-ins that work best for your team. Find times that work for either the whole team together or one-on-one for smaller groups. We like to take advantage of HeyCollab’s Messaging Tool over conventional e-mail or video chat for smaller tasks like this.
2. Weekly Meetings
Hosting full team video calls or conference meetings once a week is necessary for keeping the crew on track together. This is where everyone is held accountable to show up for themselves and their coworkers. It’s also a chance to remind everyone about the shared vision and mission of the company, and for managers to encourage teammates to connect.
Make sure to schedule less common “just for fun,” quarterly or more – good ideas are pizza parties, video watch parties, etc. Providing moments for these candid or ad hoc interactions between team members can bring out the same magic found with in-person collaborative work spaces.
3. Be Transparent
Give frequent feedback on employee performance and opt for a system like “score cards,” to track progress and drive results. Utilizing these types of results-driven work environments remotely will help the output of the whole team in the long run.
Regular feedback encourages employee participation and positively influences work habits. A disengaged worker can occur quite suddenly in remote teams, therefore it is imperative to keep tabs on individuals in an organized manner.
4. Monthly Reviews
In-hand with smaller tidbits of feedback, many remote team project managers find instigating monthly 360 reviews on team members are a huge benefit. This process of gleaning a larger sampling of a worker’s performance within the company can assist with isolating any issues as they arise, before a situation snowballs.
5. Build Trust in Your Team
A foundation of trust built between team members and managers is tantamount to success. Teams with a high affinity distance are more likely to have issues like lower work performance and poor collaboration. Encourage and facilitate times for coworkers to gel.
As the project manager, you can take control with software like HeyCollab to assign who can see what and when. Alleviating pressure on you to manage what is shared and with whom, you can better focus on building mutual trust in the team.
6. Communicate Clearly & Consistently
Provide clear and concise communication on what needs to be done and let the team handle the rest. It’s crucial to avoid micromanaging remote teams and maintain the healthy distance necessary in a project manager. This comes with that foundation of trust, as you need to have confidence in when your team is capable on their own.
Communicating exactly how and when a task needs to be completed avoids unnecessary confusion and the need for constant check ups. Capable remote team members will execute their assignments without the need for much oversight, as long as they have the resources available to make that work possible.
7. Use Advanced Software Tools
Proper SMB project management software is crucial – take advantage of advanced but easy-to-use remote team management software and tools like the features of HeyCollab. Make these virtual tools work for you to more easily measure teams’ performance and productivity levels.
This kind of software provides creative benefits for the digital office. Create a separate part of your team chat to function as a kind of “water cooler,” for your employees where they can discuss non-work-related activities. This will also give you valuable insight in to your team’s individual behaviors and lifestyles.
8. Stick to Performance Standards
Set firm yet reasonable performance standards and ensure workers know what’s going into a project before they start. The initial stages of the team’s efforts will be heavily impacted by how well the goals were laid out before them ahead of time.
With all that being said, as the one in charge it is of utmost concern to remain aware of the multitude of challenges that remote workers face. Setting realistic expectations and goals will mitigate any pitfalls that arise from asking too much from your team.
When advising workers on better practices, try coaching them on their skills instead of simply telling them what to do. This advice especially rings true in remote team settings, where direct criticisms may not come across the way they would face-to-face.
Don’t Go it Alone
It can be a bumpy ride when adjusting to managing a newly remote team, and there’s absolutely no reason to not seek assistance early on. The best form of help can come from digital assistants, without the need for an additional employee. Software like HeyCollab makes it possible for the entire team to thrive in the virtual Workspace.