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Managing Remote Teams: Ideas and Tips for Better Collaboration

A lady managing her remote team from the office
Source: Unsplash

Managing a remote team can be an amazing way to keep costs low and maintain a global reach. In fact, according to Garner, 74% of employers are planning to shift at least 5% of their work force to a permanently remote working situation. But, even though remote working is becoming more popular, it can also present some challenges if you don’t manage everything effectively.

Ticking tasks off the to-do list is necessary, but team collaboration to complete key tasks is essential. Encouraging active team communication and providing an interactive team environment is one of the key wins of managing remote teams successfully.

If you are ready to add value to your remote team and skyrocket your capacity to collaborate. Read on, for some excellent tips on staying connected with your team when they are not in the office:

What is a Successful Remote Team?

A remote team is any group of people who are all working together towards a common goal, but who aren’t all located in one physical space. This could be a team spread out across different states or countries, all working together on the same projects and goals.

A successful remote team performs at the same or better level as a team would if they were all in the same office. They can collaborate effectively to achieve the company’s goals. To ensure this, your team will need to be well-organized, self-motivated, and collaborative. There are many benefits to having remote teams and remote workers in your organization. But you can only reap those benefits if you know how to best manage and support effective collaboration.

Why is Collaboration Important for Remote Teams?

Collaboration exists when people can work together, sharing their skills and expertise to achieve a common goal or objective. Collaboration for remote teams is especially important as remote workers are not in the office. So they don’t have any in-person interaction with their coworkers, no chats by the coffee machine, or face-to-face meetings, which makes it more difficult to build collaborative relationships.

Great collaboration is possible when everyone is on the same page, but it can become very challenging when remote teams are not set up to collaborate effectively. This can leave remote employees feeling isolated, unmotivated, and unproductive.

To keep staff productivity levels high and to create a company culture that people are excited to contribute to. A strong remote manager will place effective communication and collaboration at the center of operations. These skills together will empower remote teams to do their best work and achieve goals.

5 Reasons Managing Remote Teams Collaboration is Important:

  • It helps people learn, share ideas and knowledge.
  • It brings people together.
  • It pools expertise from remote employees to achieve tasks and goals.
  • It helps people to problem solve and overcome challenges.
  • It supports open communication and motivation.

What Makes a Good Remote Manager?

A man working remotely and managing his work
Source: Unsplash

A good remote manager is a great communicator who can set clear goals and clearly articulate the tasks that need to be accomplished to achieve them. The best remote managers are the ones who can help you become a better version of yourself.

They don’t just give you tasks to accomplish, but they also give you the tools you need to achieve those tasks. They are great mentors and teach their team how to manage themselves.

Here are 5 Things That Make a Good Remote Manager:

  • Make sure your team has aligned values and goals.
  • Make your expectations clear for what you require from your team, and make sure that they have the tools that they need to do their jobs.
  • Don’t micro-manage; give your team a lot of autonomy, but don’t be afraid to offer guidance.
  • Ensure accountability is built into your process.
  • Communicate regularly and effectively.

The key to managing remote teams is to have everyone on the same page. As a leader, you should make sure that you set realistic goals for yourself and your team members. By setting up clear weekly objectives, and communicating them clearly, your team will know exactly what they should be doing and when they should be doing it.

How to Prepare Your Remote Team for Better Collaboration

The biggest challenge of being a remote manager is being able to trust your workers, knowing that they’re getting the job done. The most important thing here is that you give everyone the tools they need to collaborate. It’s important that everyone in your team feels like they can bring their ideas to the table so that the best solution for each task can be identified.

When working in a remote environment, you can always send an email or make a call, but it’s not the same as sitting with someone and talking to them face-to-face. You can help your remote team feel like a cohesive unit by creating a culture of open communication.

When it comes to running a virtual team, it’s important to make sure that they are prepared to work together.

Here are a few things to consider before you get started:

  • Make sure your teammates feel comfortable with each other.
  • Help your remote team to feel engaged in the process instead of just managing it.
  • Help your remote teams to feel confident about the flexibility and adaptability of working remotely.
  • When you are managing remote teams,support them to have the courage to take risks.
  • Make sure that any tools or technology that is being used is manageable for everyone in the team to use.

7 Tips for Collaborating Successfully with Your Remote Team

Working remotely can be very exciting, but managing remote teams can be challenging if you don’t set up workflows with your team. When managing a remote team it’s vital to make sure that everyone shares an understanding of what they’re working on so that the processes are seamless.

There are many ways to create a culture of collaboration in your business, but it comes down to how you, as the leader, facilitate collaboration in your organization. If you have a collaborative attitude, your employees will follow suit.

Here are some things you can do to create a strong culture of collaboration:

1. Encourage Open and Creative Communication

One of the best ways to inspire collaboration with your remote team is to encourage the team to think outside the box. Brainstorming sessions where team members are supported to share creative ideas and feel that they can positively impact the team is important.

The best ideas often come from unexpected places, so you should encourage your employees to come up with unique solutions to problems without any judgment. At the same time, you should use these open sessions to encourage quieter members of the team to get involved. Everyone should feel heard and every contribution should be valid.

Key Takeaways:

  • Make sure all members of the team feel heard
  • Encourage your team to be creative with brainstorming sessions

2. Create an Environment of Trust and Comfort

Create an environment where your employees can connect and feel comfortable talking to each other. When teams are distributed and working remotely it can be difficult to develop an emotional connection with colleagues.

Working together effectively does require a certain level of care about the people that are in the team. Encourage this with regular team meetings and don’t be afraid to have a chat with them about how they are feeling and what’s going on in their life.

It’s important to be approachable as a manager and to show that you care about your employees. It is also very important the team members feel confident and comfortable when interacting with other remote workers.

Key Takeaways:

  • Make sure that everyone is staying connected with the organization and with each other. This helps to avoid isolation and boost productivity.
  • Don’t be shy about forming connections that are based on more than work. This helps to create buy-in from your team as they realize that you do care about them as human beings.
  • Incentivize collaboration by rewarding employees for coming up with innovative ideas.

3. Make Your Employees Feel Valued

A zoom call with lots of remote employees
Source: Unsplash

As a remote team, it’s important to celebrate your team members and make your remote team feel like a cohesive unit. One way to do this is to incorporate team building into your culture. You could do this by planning virtual events like happy hours or group games. Even doing this virtually can be lots of fun, the ability to do something other than work together will bring the team closer together.

Key Takeaway:

  • Having fun together as a team will serve to make collaboration stronger.

4. Stay Connected with Your Team

The biggest challenge of working remotely is helping people to understand how to communicate effectively in a remote team environment. If your team is spread out and working from home, unlike calling a meeting in the boardroom. You will instead have many people who want to communicate in many different ways. While this flexibility is ok for day-to-day communications.

Team meet-ups should be done with video at a set time every week. Staying connected to your team is important especially when people need to collaborate to get things done. Having regular meetings and encouraging your employees to talk to each other about what they are working on can be a powerful way to problem solve as a team.

Key Takeaways:

  • Encourage the team to share their ideas and bounce ideas off each other.
  • It is important to createa company culture where people are comfortable sharing their ideas.

5. Have a Weekly Team Routine

One thing you can do to make your remote team feel more like a cohesive unit is to have a weekly video call. The team meeting can serve to let everyone present what they are working on, any issues that they have come upon, and what they are doing to complete the task. Everyone should have the time to share and support each other by listening, asking questions, or offering constructive feedback.

This is equally valuable for you as a remote team manager and for the remote team. Because individuals get to share their challenges, team members give their solutions to help to solve them, and you as the manager get to see what is being done and what will be done next. But even more importantly the team learns to work together and support each other.

Key Takeaways:

  • It’s important to schedule these calls for the same time each week or month so, that people can plan around it.
  • Make sure that every one gets to share their update and that everyone is heard.
  • Take the opportunity to celebrate team members that have completed tasks.

6. Create a Culture of Self-Improvement

It’s important to have a regular check-in schedule with each member of your team in a one-on-one meeting. This is a great time to provide feedback, make sure your team member is on track with their goals, and ensure that they are feeling supported in their role.

Key Takeaways:

  • Make sure everyone knows how to use the technology needed for remote team working.
  • Look for opportunities to help your team develop individually and together.

7. Help Your Teammates Feel Comfortable Communicating

First of all, make sure that your team has a way to communicate with you directly. One of the key challenges that remote workers face when they’re not in the office is that they don’t have daily interactions with their coworkers. Not only does this make it harder to build those strong relationships. But it also makes it hard for remote workers to get ideas and feedback about their work.

If team members don’t feel comfortable sharing challenges that they are having then issues may arise with deadlines, the quality of work, and completion of tasks.

Key Takeaways:

  • Encourage the team to interact not just in the weekly team meeting but daily.

Learn to Use New Tools to Communicate

An upset remote worker managing her work from her laptop
Source: Unsplash

As a remote team, you are going to need to stay connected and new tools are being created every day to help us to communicate better. Even if you’re not a technical person, it’s important to take the lead and learn how to use tools like Zoom, Slack, Trello, and other tools that can help you communicate with your remote team members.

There are some great online tools out there to help you stay connected with your remote team. These tools can help to keep everyone in the loop, team chat, project communications, and live collaborations on projects.

A few useful tools for your remote teams are:

  • Instant messengers are great for team coffee break chat. Tools include Slack, Skype, Signal or telegram, etc.
  • Phone calls and meetings tools are great for team meetings. Tools include Google Hangouts, Zoom, Skype, etc.
  • Project management tools are great for team collaborations on shared tasks. Tools include Trello, Asana, HubSpot, etc.

In Conclusion

When managing remote teams, it’s important to inject a spirit of collaboration into the remote company culture. One of the biggest challenges with remote work is the fact that you’re not in the same physical space as your colleagues. You can’t just walk across the office to ask someone a question.

A remote manager has to be a chameleon, able to wear many different hats and adapt to many different situations. First and foremost, remote managers are organizers. You need to create a workspace that allows employees to work effectively. You’re also their first line of communication with the company and with the rest of the team.

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