9 Tips on Managing Successful Remote or Hybrid Teams
The workplace has evolved dramatically over the past few years. Remote and hybrid work styles have become integral, and all market indicators show that there is no returning back. Studies show that at least 92% of U.S. employees work at least one day per week remotely.
Remote work is beneficial to both employers and employees. However, employers tend to come across various challenges when embracing and leading remote teams. Virtual team leaders must master the art of managing remote teams. Ensuring effortless and uninterrupted communication is one key aspect of this job.
Virtual teams are made up of workers that work from multiple locations. Virtual teams include both remote and hybrid teams. Remote teams are teams that work together without sharing the same physical office and collaborate and communicate with the help of digital tools.
The term ‘hybrid team’ refers to a mix of both virtual and on-site teams. It can include the following two scenarios and often their combinations:
Effectively managing virtual teams comes down to the practice of inclusiveness and fairness with every staff member, no matter where they are working from. The entire thing starts with the leaders of your organization. It is important to pay attention to details and ensure a positive, healthy, and fair company culture.
The process of managing remote teams may seem more like a juggling act, but once you follow best practices and have rules and systems in place, it will become simpler. It will essentially be required to boost internal team communication.
As mentioned above, managing and leading remote teams comes with some challenges. If you want to make the most of remote work, it is important to overcome these challenges. As the size of the remote team grows, which it will across the board, managers should be flexible in evolving or expanding the solutions in place.
Two major challenges that you and your team will come across include:
Communication is probably the most complex of challenges involved with managing remote teams. Asynchronous communication is one of the most common challenges in this regard. Different team members have different communication preferences. For example, some prefer communicating via email while others prefer instant messaging.
Technological issues can often appear, thus hampering communication and/or operations. Modern IT and communication devices are designed to be streamlined to work together. However, snags can develop anytime and anywhere. Computer systems can breakdown, internet connectivity can cut out, or older systems may not work at the same speeds as their modern counterparts
When managing remote teams, you should do a little more than just provide the technology resources to your employees.
Strong and empathetic leadership is important in taking the right steps to identify and overcome the challenges that come with managing virtual teams.
Whatever your company’s exposure to working with remote and hybrid teams may be, by taking the right steps, you can ensure your productivity goals are achieved effectively.
One of the most important factors that influenced the rise of the remote work model has been the preference of employees to work in a more flexible environment. The benefits of creating such a flexible work environment have long been proven to help boost employee morale and productivity.
The hybrid work model gives employees the option to choose their location of work. Despite the advantages offered by the existing structure of remote work, there is still more room for greater flexibility. It is up to managers to be creative and determine how to manage a remote team while providing greater flexibility.
Part of the process should be to not make your employees feel suffocated. While creating a flexible environment, it is equally important to demonstrate that you have trust in your employees and their discretion.
One important step in ensuring real-time communication is to conduct daily check-ins to see how employees are doing. A quick 5-minute conversation every day can help employees feel supported and more engaged. Make sure the check-ins do not, in any way, create a sense of micromanagement. Another effective option for managing remote teams successfully is to create virtual offices.
An important step in successfully leading remote teams is to provide real-time feedback to your employees. This can help overcome the common challenges marked by a feeling of disconnect and isolation when working remotely. Real-time communication and feedback are important and should replace asynchronous communication.
Some of the cons of asynchronous communication in a remote work environment include:
It is recommended that managers of remote teams gather of-the-moment insights on how each member of the team is doing and what they might need to feel fulfilled in their roles. Real-time feedback can help set your whole team up for success.
Conventional online communication tools can be helpful, but it is recommended to use the latest project management tools to boost productivity. The right tools should enable the following communication functions:
An important step to successfully managing virtual teams is to ensure that the same practices and rules are followed as for on-site employees. High-performing remote teams should also be rewarded the same way that on-site employees are. You can reward top performers in team meetings or individually. The goal is to ensure everyone feels appreciated. This is even more important for virtual teams because, unlike conventional office teams, they do not meet in person as often, exchange appreciation, or celebrate professional achievements.
An important step to managing remote teams and keeping employees on-task is to set clear goals. Create collective goals that promote your company’s goals and individual goals. Individual goals can play an important role in the personal development of your team members, both on-site and remote.
Make sure the goals are:
The goals should help hybrid team members stay on the same page and make sure their projects align with the overall goals.
Meetings taking place in a hybrid work environment are different. They include both types of attendees – remote and in-person. With the prevalence of video conferencing platforms, such virtual meetings have become more commonplace. Still, you can face the same challenges of traditional meetings, including:
You can optimize these meetings by training managers in the areas of:
Most modern video conferencing tools are designed to be user-friendly. Still, it is common for managers and remote teams to waste time on connectivity issues, collaboration, and screen sharing.
When it comes to managing remote teams, it seems that no amount of communication is too much. So, when you work with your remote teams, it is recommended to over-communicate to ensure effective communication. Outside noise, getting overwhelmed with information, and competing agendas are the main causes of under-communication in a virtual work environment.
Studies have shown that the use of multiple communication channels can help in improving the efficiency of virtual teams. The reason is that every communication channel serves a unique purpose. Consider the following scenarios:
It is recommended to embrace and implement these tips for effectively managing remote teams. For more information and guidance on creating and managing virtual work environments, feel free to reach out to us.