While the current global situation isn’t the best, we think that there may be something good coming out of this. As most countries took up serious and immediate action, companies who could are now running their operations remotely. Even the ones that were strongly against remote work and never tried it before. The way we think about it, the pandemic may have opened the opportunity for many companies to discover the benefits of remote work. That’s why, below you will find some of our best tips and tricks on how to manage a remote team.

1. Manage Your Communication

It is important that everyone on the team is on the same page when it comes to everything communication-related. When working remotely, it’s easier to get misunderstood but it’s harder to clarify the information later. Not only that, there’s also the lack of facial expressions and body language which makes it harder for others to understand your intentions. That’s why, it is absolutely crucial that you have everyone using the same tools for the right purpose. Different channels should be used for specific reasons. And each member of the team should know which one to use. Otherwise, you will end up with lost information, pointless calls and overall chaos. At INVO, we have separate Slack channels for different purposes (like ordering lunch or documentation). This way, important things don’t get lost in water cooler banter. Find a set of tools that works best for you and your team. 

2. Organize Your Time Wisely

Especially when it comes to teams that work from various different locations, time management and scheduling can be an issue. When there’s a single delay, it can disrupt the work of the entire team. That’s why it’s so important to organize your time and make schedules that everyone can follow. Every team member should know when certain meetings happen so they can organize their day accordingly. Regular meetings, especially when you’re just starting out with remote work, are a really great way to make sure everyone is in sync and keep people’s productivity up.

3. Always Be Prepared

Whether it’s a daily meeting or a presentation for a client, everyone should be prepared. Not only in terms of having the event planned but also in terms of the agenda, additional resources and their work environment. Our team likes to go by the rule that every call is a video call. This way, everyone on the team has to get up from bed and get dressed properly. Many people think that working from home means working in your sweatpants but it’s not the best way to go. Forcing yourselves to follow your daily routines will make the transition easier and help you keep up your productivity levels.

4. Prioritize Feedback

When working remotely, you don’t have access to visual cues like facial expressions to gather feedback. And feedback is crucial if you want to make your team work great, remotely or not. That’s why you should make giving feedback your priority. Weekly or bi-weekly retrospective meetings are a great way to evaluate your work as a team and discuss the last week or two. If you’re just starting out with remote work (actually, even if you’re a pro), we’d recommend going with the weekly evaluation meeting. This way, feedback is still fresh and everyone knows what it regards to. Also, make time for individual feedback sessions. They don’t have to be long, complicated yearly evaluations. Instead, meet with each one on the team once a month and gather insights from each person, talk to them about their work and provide them with useful tips. Remember, always be direct and respectful when giving feedback. Otherwise, it will not be very welcome.

5. Don’t Overthink Others’ Intentions

It can be easy to assume someone is being negative when you’re only basing your reaction off of an email or a message. Sometimes, people think a message is negative because there’s no emojis or there’s “OK” instead of “Okay”. When working remotely, you have to remember that everyone has different communication styles. Some people are very fond of being grammatically correct, some don’t mind a missing comma, some overuse emojis and some don’t use them at all. That’s why you shouldn’t overthink it too much. If you’re not sure whether someone’s intentions are negative or positive, always assume the latter. This will ease your mind and help you to focus on your actual work. Besides, it helps you have better relationships with your team.

6. Focus On Outcomes And Results

Let’s face it, you can’t really tell whether someone has been working a full “work day” or just completed their tasks really quickly and spent the rest of their day playing video games. And that’s okay. After all, it’s important that they successfully completed their tasks. When working remotely and managing a remote team, you should only focus on results and outcomes and measure your team’s performance accordingly. However, when someone is not efficient or successful with their tasks, that’s when talking to them about their workflow and time management might be a good idea. 

We hope this few tips will help you get into the remote workflow and make this difficult quarantine period easier for you and your team. If you need any help with your design or software projects or just want to talk about remote work – contact us and we’ll help you to the best of our ability!