You may already know this, but working remotely is part of the new challenges from a project manager. If you are one of those who have recently embarked on the remote work adventure, rest assured: there are advantages to working from home. However, as with any way of working, you have to be on the lookout for drawbacks. That is why we are offering you some tips to manage properly your remote work team.
Use tools adapted to working remotely
The first and not the least recommendation is to adopt tools that meet your team’s needs. Want to communicate with your teammates via video conference? It is possible, with software such as Zoom or Skype. Are you looking for project management software? An online solution such as Nutcache will allow you to coordinate tasks among your colleagues. But make sure your team is comfortable with the tools you are proposing. If this is not the case, do not hesitate to offer them training, individually or as a group.
Establish clear objectives
It is often said that in order to succeed in a project, one must define clear objectives. And this is all the more true when it comes to managing a team that is working remotely. For example, to determine the most accurate objective possible, you can use the SMART method. That is, a Specific, Measurable, Acceptable, Realistic and Temporally defined objective.
With a tool such as Nutcache, it is possible to put together a to-do list. You could even enhance the list, either by adding sub-tasks to each task or by selecting a priority for the work to be done (low, normal, medium and high).
Of course, when establishing your objectives, you may also wish to implement a tool that clearly represents all the tasks. Have you thought about the Gantt diagram? If not, in another article, we introduce many good reasons to use it!
Determine the frequency of team meetings
Depending on the complexity of your project, it may be necessary to make adjustments or fine tune matters with a team that is working remotely. Agree on the frequency of team meetings (once a day/week/as necessary/), but also on the best times for the meeting (morning/afternoon/evening/) as well as the tools to use. The important thing is that your colleagues are sufficiently comfortable and available to express themselves. Above all, make sure that meetings are effective so as not to stretch them unnecessarily. In order to conduct productive meetings, we have prepared an article on this subject.
Do a regular individual follow-up
In order to achieve your project’s objectives, it is important that your team is constantly guided. On the other hand, this advice applies equally to every member of your team, whether you are working remotely or not. On a weekly basis, schedule an appointment with each colleague to check whether everything is going well in achieving their tasks or whether they want to discuss topics that they are afraid to discuss in a group. Also check on how their personal lives are doing, without necessarily going into detail. We are not asking you to become the group therapist, but to show empathy for your teammates. If they do not want to talk about it, remind them that your (virtual) door always stays open.
Carry out team building activities online
Team building, which consists, among other things, of creating events among colleagues outside of work, is essential in order to strengthen team cohesion. However, despite the distance, it is possible to forge links between members of a team that is working remotely. An online team building activity could, for example, involve playing a video game in multiplayer mode. Or organizing a coffee or tea tasting by sending each teammate a variety of beverages before the event date. The possibilities are many! Just draw inspiration from your colleagues’ passions.
Working remotely is not easy, especially if you are used to working in a company. Indeed, to be productive, you need to distance yourself as much as possible from the distractions at home, such as Netflix or household chores. However, do not blame your colleagues if they have to take time out here and there to care for their families. Be lenient towards them by giving them more flexibility in their schedule. Forget the usual office hours! Let them choose their working hours based not only on their preferences, but also on their availability. Thus, some will be more productive in the morning while others will prefer to work in the evening, once the children are asleep.
Finally, if there is one important piece of advice we can give you, it is this: trust your teammates. Do not try to micro-manage their every move! While it is all right to ask them for an account of their work, they should not have to report all the breaks they have taken over the course of a week. There is also no need to require mandatory attendance by co-workers at a videoconference during regular business hours. As we mentioned earlier, focus on flexibility. Also, to establish this mark of trust in your team, do not hesitate to delegate certain tasks. This decision will allow team members to prove themselves, but also, on your side, to allow for tasks that best correspond to your skills.
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And there you are! With these tips, you are now ready to manage your remote work team! Of course, before you start, you probably will want to try out some tools to see whether they are right for your colleagues. For project management, we recommend our Nutcache online solution. It doesn’t just share the to-do list with your team members. It also provides management of all aspects of a project, whether it’s your team members’ time entries or client invoicing.
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