Top 4 Tips to Manage Remote Teams

Are you struggling with managing a remote team effectively? You’re in good company. Many managers find it challenging to shift from in-person management to remote management. From team building to workplace training, all aspects of team management change when working with remote talent. However, it’s possible to make the switch effectively. Here are our top four tips to help you manage remote teams well.

Remote vs In-Office Teams: What Are the Biggest Differences?

If you have a remote team, you’ll notice there are a few key differences from your in-office teams.

They include geographical location, reporting models, and training models. These differences can present some unique challenges for managers who are in charge of a remote team for the first time.

Geographical Location

One of the most obvious differences between remote and in-office teams is geographical location. While in-office teams work on site, remote teams can theoretically work from a wide variety of locations across the globe.

Remote teams may even work in the same city or area as in-office teams, but they still work virtually.

Management Strategies

When it comes to managing a remote team, you’ll need to adopt different management strategies than those you use with your in-office team. While you can regularly gather your team for face-to-face meetings to help them stay on track with pending projects, it’s not possible to do the same with your remote team.

Managers have no choice but to communicate with remote workers via video conferencing, email, and chats. While this can be an effective way to maintain an employer-employee relationship, it may require extra effort to help remote workers feel included and appreciated.

Training Model

You’ll need to adopt a different type of training model with your remote employees versus your in-office teams.

If you aren’t yet using one, consider including a learning management system (LMS) as part of your remote training model.

Learning management systems are essential elements of most remote learning solutions. They give organizations the tools necessary to organize, deliver, and monitor learning content for remote teams.

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Top 4 Ways to Manage Remote Teams From Anywhere

Managing remote teams may be a bit of a learning curve, but once you get an effective process down, it becomes much easier. Here are the top four ways to manage remote teams from anywhere.

1) Effective Remote Team Communication

It’s easy to let your remote teams function with very little oversight and communication, but this would be a mistake. You should make it a goal to connect with your remote employees at least once per day. You can do this through a video chat, phone call, email, or instant message.

This communication will help your remote team members feel connected and engaged in their duties.

2) Collaboration

No remote team member should feel like an island. Intentional collaboration is key to helping your remote teams work seamlessly with your in-office teams.

You can boost collaboration by encouraging remote and in-person teams to build strong relationships through regular communication and remote meetings.

3) Team Building Activities

Team building activities are sometimes deemed a waste of time by upper management, but they’re crucial for helping remote employees feel more included in company culture. There are a variety of remote team building activities and games you can try if your goal is to bring all your employees together, regardless of location. Here are a few ideas (plus a few more we love here!):

  • Put together an online scavenger hunt
  • Have employees share images of some of their favorite things to a Google spreadsheet or on your company’s social media page so you can get to know one another better.
  • Plan a virtual paint night as a team reward for meeting a deadline.

Team building is a challenge when you’re working with remote employees, but it’s not impossible. As you work to create virtual team building activities that engage, entertain, and include, you’ll boost employee morale and improve retention.

DISCOVER MORE | ‘Virtual Team Building: Teams Who Laugh Together, Stay Together

4) Use the Right Software

The most effective remote teams use software to stay connected and on task. When managing a remote team, make sure your remote employees have access to the same productivity tools as your in-office employees, such as collaboration software and/or project management software.

Effective learning management software is also essential for ensuring all of your employees are properly trained, even when you aren’t able to train them in person.

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The 3 Biggest Pitfalls to Avoid When Leading a Remote Team

It’s easy to fall prey to some of the most common pitfalls associated with leading a remote team. Here are some of the biggest mistakes you’ll want to avoid, and how to avoid them.

1) Focusing on Talent Instead of a Good Fit

Some people are remarkably talented individuals but don’t work well with others. Even remote workers need to be team players or things won’t go as smoothly as they should. When hiring a remote team, analyze their skills and talents as well as personality traits you think will help them fit in well with your current team.

2) Hiring People Who Have No Clue How to Work From Home

Not all employees are good at working from home. Some don’t have the time management skills or motivation necessary to stay on task.

You may find that some of your employees work exceptionally well in the office but tend to get too distracted when working remotely. If you want to add to your remote team, hire people who have experience working remotely and who already know how to self-manage effectively.

3) Failing to Welcome Feedback

Remote teams tend to feel like silent contributors to the businesses for which they work. If you don’t actively welcome and encourage feedback, you’ll only contribute to the feeling of isolation. When you manage a remote team, make sure you check in with them frequently to see how they’re doing.

READ MORE ABOUT FEEDBACK | ‘Best Practices: Creating Effective Feedback

Advantages of Using an LMS for Remote Teams

If you want to know how to lead a remote team, start by using a learning management system. An LMS offers many advantages for managers and remote employees, including:

  • Learning personalization
  • Analytics on course interaction and engagement
  • Cost efficiency
  • Diversity training

When you provide your remote team with a quality LMS, you help them feel supported even in a remote setting.

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Managing remote employees becomes much easier when you have the techniques, tools, and resources necessary to encourage collaboration and proper training. To learn more about the world-class LMS solutions offered by Open LMS, contact us or request a trial today.

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