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How to Manage Remote Teams

How to Manage Remote Teams

How to Manage Remote Teams

Successful management of remote teams, requires that we identify the common problems of people working from home, then create and implement practical solutions.

The most common problems associated with managing people who work remotely are:

  1. Keeping people informed
  2. Keeping people working to time
  3. Keeping people valued and motivated
  4. Maintaining loyalty.

1. Keeping people informed.

In order to be effective, people need to be informed of the goal, the plan, and today's to-do list.

When working remotely it is easy to become unclear about the business goal and plan, and the daily to-do list degenerates into a reflection of a person's personal objectives, rather than the company's strategy.

The solution is to ensure that we call each person in the team and talk to them about the organisational and team goals, together with the plans we have developed to achieve them. Then we elicit daily to-do lists, which are the practical implementations of the plan.

2. Keeping people working to time.

When people are working remotely, it is impractical for a manager, at any moment, to verify whether colleagues are working or not.

The solution is to abandon the attempt to micromanage peoples' working hours and instead, judge people on the quality and quantity of their productive output.

Provided that people are producing the right quantity and quality of work, within the given time deadlines, then it does not matter which hour of the day they perform the work.

3. Keeping people motivated.

When working from home, many people feel demotivated.

People are motivated by many factors including: Money, Security, Achievement, Team spirit, Praise and Pride.

The solution to keeping motivation levels high, is to ensure we use all six motivators:

  1. Money: we pay people as well as we can and on time.
  2. Security: we never say anything which unnecessarily implies that a person's employment may be on shaky ground. We give whatever reassurance we can, to indicate that their employment is safe.
  3. Achievement: we try to give people tasks which gives them a sense of personal achievement.
  4. Team Spirit: we organise as many team events as possible, where people can socialise with other members of the group.
  5. Praise: we give immediate and honest praise for any high-quality work performed.
  6. Pride: we encourage people to live up to the best version of themselves.

4. Maintaining loyalty.

During remote working, some people lose their sense of personal loyalty since it occurs to them that they could be working for any organisation, and their working conditions would be identical.

The solution is to incorporate all of the points above; because the degree to which these rules are broken, corresponds to how much people will feel disconnected, and as a result their lack of loyalty.

Whenever managers apply the above principles, people will feel:

  1. Better informed about the goal, and the plans to achieve them.
  2. They are free to organise their work hours around other demands, provided that the quality, quantity and timeliness of their work is sufficient.
  3. They are motivated, because they are well paid for what they do.
  4. Secure, because everything possible is being done to safeguard their future.
  5. They are given opportunities for personal achievement.
  6. Included in team activities.
  7. Praised and appreciated for their good work
  8. All these factors combine to inspire loyalty.

If you're looking to attend a course to solidify your skills in this area, take a look at our Managing Remote Teams course here.

About the Author: Chris Farmer


Chris Farmer is the founder of the Corporate Coach Group and has many years’ experience in training leaders and managers, in both the public and private sectors, to achieve their organisational goals, especially during tough economic times. He is also well aware of the disciplines and problems associated with running a business.

Over the years, Chris has designed and delivered thousands of training programmes and has coached and motivated many management teams, groups and individuals. His training programmes are both structured and clear, designed to help delegates organise their thinking and, wherever necessary, to improve their techniques and skills.

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