How to get the best from a team that works remotely Top tips for managers with workers in different locations
Remote working: dispersed teams are increasingly common
Geographically dispersed teams are increasingly common in the modern workplace. As a manager, how do you overcome the challenges of supervising workers in different locations and time zones? Whether your team is made up of people in far-flung locations or employees who work from home (or both), here are some tips that should keep things running smoothly.
1 Define expectations Set monthly, quarterly and yearly performance goals, along with other targets. Then check in regularly on progress through an agreed-upon schedule.
2 Visit on a predictable schedule There are no rules governing precisely how often you need to see your remote workers in person, but it’s ideal to visit them regularly, especially in the early stages.
3 Encourage communication The key to managing relationships with remote employees is to communicate. And in light of time-zone constraints, it’s considerate to set up team meetings on a rotating schedule so that no one member or region is unduly burdened or disrupted. Also, encourage the use of instant messaging, blogs, wikis and other online collaboration tools and apps.
4 Spark impromptu interactions Unplanned conversations between co-workers are important.
5 Nurture familiarity Building trust and familiarity with your direct reports requires you get to know them on a personal level. Reserve the first few minutes of meeting calls or video conferences to simply “chew the fat”. Encourage your direct reports to do the same with their remote colleagues.
6 Make them feel part of the team Physical distance can sometimes create an “us versus them” feeling. Concentrate on what you and your direct reports have in common — organisational goals and objectives, for example. And be generous with public praise and acknowledgement of remote employees. –Copyright Harvard Business Review 2015
Previously published in The Irish Times.
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