Remote teams offer an array of pleasing advantages. But they also come with their particular set of concerns.
Specifically, you have to concentrate on ways to keep your team on the same page. This article will explore some specific ways you can improve remote team management and confront challenges that can surface on a daily basis.
Six Remote Team Alignment Tips
Make no mistake about it: Managing a team of individuals is tough no matter where they work. But when you take people out of a central location and spread them across the map, to work in a remote capacity, the situation becomes more challenging.
If you address the challenges head-on – rather than letting them fester – you’ll give yourself a much better chance to be successful in this endeavor. Here are some suggestions for getting your team on the same page, maximizing productivity, and bolstering the bottom line.
1. Set Very Clear Expectations With Communication
Communication issues are among the most common problems for remote teams (particularly if the remote team was formerly located in the same office space). “People communicate differently and when you’re remote, it makes it more difficult to rely on cues such as body language or tone of voice,” entrepreneur Jerod Turner writes.
“Employees on remote teams will spend more time than usual trying to interpret what someone has said, especially if it is in written form. Brevity of a message could easily be misinterpreted as dismissive or uncaring, when someone might simply be trying to be brief or efficient.”
Left unaddressed, issues such as these can grow into major sticking points. Not only should they be discussed, but it’s imperative that you set clear expectations for everyone on the team.
Make it known which methods (Slack, email, phone, etc.) are to be used for particular types of communication. It’s also wise to create a team vocabulary to ensure everyone uses the same terminology to describe functions and materials.
2. Conduct a Daily Huddle
Meetings are typically terrible time-wasters. Often scheduled in the name of progress, too often they also accomplish little to actually boost productivity.
In most cases, meetings clog up people’s schedules and prevent team members from getting to the work on their to-do lists. However, a quick morning status check with your team can work wonders.
A daily huddle is a 15-minute Zoom meeting to which everyone shows up and the team leader outlines the expectations for the day. It should be quick and actionable. Always start on time and always end on time.
3. Equip with the Right Tools
If there’s a way to consolidate, streamline, or automate something for your team, do it! In many cases, the easiest way to accomplish this is by adding a new application or tool to your team’s tech stack.
For example, why fuss about file sharing when you can use a tool like Box to share files and folders easily with anyone on the team? It can be a whole lot simpler than you think.
Read More: How To Get More Out Of Your Team
4. Create an “Ownership” Guide
Everyone on the team should have a clear understanding of what everyone else’s role is. As your team grows, you’ll find it helpful to create an “ownership guide.”
This is a simple document that outlines everyone’s title, responsibilities, and direct reports. It’s basically a detailed organizational chart that tells people which colleagues to contact with particular questions, assignments, and responsibilities.
5. Document Everything
Stay organized by documenting every task or process that you perform. This gives you a library of standard operating procedures (SOPs) that can be easily passed along to team members in an effort to streamline future tasks. (SOPs are particularly powerful if you do any outsourcing.)
6. Listen and Iterate
You’re not going to get everything perfect. As much as you try to align your remote team, there will always be problems and sources of friction.
The key is to keep your eyes and ears open. Ask for feedback, listen to what individual team members say, then iterate your processes until you stumble upon a mixture of strategies that works.
Putting it All Together
Once you get your team aligned, you have to work hard to keep everyone on the same page. This is an ongoing challenge that must be proactively addressed on a daily basis. Don’t sit back and ignore warning signs. Deal with developing issues on an ongoing basis and your team will be more successful in everything it does.