A recent Gallup study showed that 43% of Americans are a part of remote teams. While it attracts distributed talents, traditional project managers face problems. In this article at the Digital Project Manager, Dmitrii Susloparov discusses tips and tools to manage remote teams.
Enabling the Remote Teams
Some challenges are typical to remote teams. You are not co-located, timelines are short, poor communication framework, multiple projects, etc.
- Distributed but United: If you put things into perspective, you are equipped with technologies that were not present some years ago. If you know how to manage a co-located team, you can manage a geographically dispersed team.
- Working Extra till Things Fall in Place: As for the concern regarding projects with tight deadlines given to remote teams, it is common for every new team. Put in that extra effort that you would normally give to a new team and everything will fall in place.
- New Way to Communicate: Majority of the project managers spend their time communicating. Create a failproof communication plan to overcome this barrier.
- Common Scenarios, Different Takes: Modern workforce hardly works on one project. The advantage of employing offsite employees is that they continue working when their onsite peers are off work.
- Get the Right Communication Strategy: Slack is one of the most popular tools for remote teams. You can email, text, call, or video chat. Majority of the project management software come with team communication tools. Leverage technology to improve communication with your remote teams. Schedule weekly or monthly one-on-ones via Skype or Google to update and keep the resources engaged.
- Find the Best Collaboration Tools: Day-to-day operations can be stalled due to poor internet connection or lack of a common collaboration platform. Document management software like Slack can help in writing, editing, and approving documents. Instead of making the remote teams spend hours in administrative work, deploy a time tracking tool. It will automatically track their work hours and other essential but mundane tasks.
- Implement Policies to Enable Remote Workforce: The resources in the remote teams agreed to the contract because of your flexible work timings. Now is the time to upgrade your work policies to enable the remote talents. Also, clarify your expectations regarding their attendance at the headquarters, overlapping work hours, regularity in one-on-one meetings, etc.
- Develop Productivity: Set up work standards in your remote teams that they incorporate slowly in their work behavior to improve productivity. Use time tracking applications to provide objective feedback during training sessions. These tools not only track working hours but also keep a record of applications used and websites visited.
- Encourage Them to Work Reasonably: The reason why people opt to work for remote teams is to have a great work-life balance. However, studies suggest that remote resources are doing just the opposite. You will get the work done before time but continuous overwork can cause burn-out issues.
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