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Business

3 Tips to Effectively Manage Your Remote Team

Need some tips to effectively manage your remote team during this pandemic? Mailbutler is here to help.

First published

07.05.2020

Last edited

03.06.2022

Read time

7 minutes


    By Tiffany

    Tiffany studied Language and Economics, and now likes to write about business topics and conduct interviews with interesting people. She spends her free time looking after her plants and with her dog.

    Although the entire world has been in quarantine only for a couple of months, businesses around the world have already noticed the detrimental effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

    At the end of March, 29% of businesses noticed a decrease in sales, 25% reported problems with supply chains, and 16% claimed they experienced staff shortages due to illness:

    Image credit: Statista

    Most notably, at the end of March, 38% of businesses already had their workers work from home. But as the situation progresses and the end of this pandemic is nowhere near to be seen, more and more workers have to switch to telework just to save their jobs. 

    For businesses, these are undoubtedly trying times. 

    The drop in sales, which is connected to the absence of customers, also has a lot to do with the change in team management. Marketers are responsible for keeping sales up, and during times of crisis, when they cannot physically get together to discuss changes in product representation, it can affect your sales and make your business less competitive. 

    So, what should you do to effectively manage your team, which is forced to work remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic?

    We have a few good tips for you. 

    Create Guidelines and Assign a Remote Team Mentor

    Your team will likely feel lost during the first months of telework. Every freelancer will tell you that among the biggest struggles they experienced in the first couple of months was work organization. 

    That is why it is important to create a plan of gradual transformation to telework to guide your team through this difficult transition. 

    Having ready-to-go remote work guidelines helped 10Up, a web design and development company, to transition their IT and marketing teams to telework. In a PressNomics podcast episode, Jake Goldman, a CEO of 10Up, shares a few steps that helped the company effectively switch their teams to remote work:

    Step #1: Establish a daily routine

    A working day should start with every team member drafting their daily routine and sharing it with other team members. This can be done through a team management program or during a brief morning catch-up meeting. 

    Step #2: Schedule the necessary meetings right away

    It is also important to remember that different channels exist for different communication purposes. For instance, if you have a single question to ask, use Slack or email. However, if the discussion of a content strategy for your next marketing campaign turns into a whole thread, it is better to switch to Zoom or Google Hangouts for a quick meeting. 

    Step #3: Single out time to deal with urgent issues

    The fact that your team goes remote for a while doesn’t mean that they won’t have fires to put out. Many businesses now have to deal with dropping organic traffic, and if your business experiences it, your marketing team will have to work on fixing it. To make sure that your team is prepared for events like this, make sure every team member has at least an hour singled out for dealing with emergencies. 

    In the podcast interview, Jake Goldman also mentions that it is good to have a person in a team, who is responsible for optimizing the team’s remote work. 

    Assigning a remote work mentor can also be helpful in case your team acquires a new member during the crisis, who can walk the newcomers through the remote work guidelines and help integrate them into the team.

    Track Your Team’s Productivity

    When you are working at home, there are too many things to distract you. You can ask every freelancer about that, and they will confirm their struggle to remain productive while working at home. 

    To help your marketing team avoid losing productivity, you might have to assign a meeting to teach them some time management associated with remote work. 

    It can be a kind of a workshop, where you and your team can discuss the ways how to effectively allocate time and touch upon the spheres of your work, which often cause missed deadlines. 

    While a workshop is a good way to help your team manage their time while working at home, you also need a few tools to track their productivity. 

    You can use team management software that will help you automatically assign and track tasks. However, you can also utilize the following approaches to track your team’s productivity on a daily basis:

    • Daily wrap-up meetings. The intention of these meetings is similar to the daily check-ups, during which your team would discuss what they accomplished and what they didn’t finish during the day. This is a good way to find weak spots in your team’s work and also set work priorities for the next working day. 
    • Have your team report about their daily accomplishments. You can create a reviews page, where your team will update their daily progress. 

    Indeed, telework has a lot of benefits, but it’s hard to get used to, as you are surrounded by so many distractions. That is why it is important to hold your team accountable for the work they have to finish during the day. By tracking their productivity, you remind them of their responsibilities, as they will have to report about their achievements on a daily basis. 

    Don’t Be Afraid to Over-Communicate

    You may associate over-communication with micromanagement, thus, it is something that you should avoid by all means in remote team management. 

    However, over-communication helped Zapier, a web integration company, effectively manage their teams, when they completely switched their entire staff to remote work. 

    In an interview with YouTeam, Bryan Helmig, the CTO of Zapier, shared that one of the challenges was to get their marketing done right when they switched to the full remote mode. To make sure that they don’t make detrimental mistakes, they had to over-communicate the same issues several times a day. 

    How not to confuse over-communication with micromanagement?

    Here, you need to keep in mind the following:

    • Micromanagement indicates a lack of freedom. This means that management strips their staff of the right to make decisions. 
    • Over-communication is an approach to help your entire team track progress. It doesn’t mean that you will take the responsibilities of a team member and assign it to somebody else. You simply check in to see how they deal with the issue. 
    • Over-communication, unlike micromanagement, can be initiated by any team member if they feel the need to check the progress. 

    As you transition your team to telework, you will find that over-communication is unavoidable. You will probably have 4-6 meetings a day to check up on other team members.

    At this stage, it is important to explain the necessity of over-communication to your team, indicating that it is important to make sure that the whole team remains productive. Over time, you will need less of over-communication, but it is an important step to organizing effective remote work. 

    FAQs

    How to manage your remote team

    When it comes to managing remote teams, creating guidelines and assigning remote team mentors is key. You need to let your remote workers know what you expect from them right away. You should also provide them with the equipment and tools they need to maintain or improve their work performance during this time. Finally, you need to invest in safe and reliable remote project management software like Jira and Basecamp. Such platforms will help you communicate across different time zones, share information in real-time, have team discussions, and track productivity.

    Managing a team remotely during COVID

    The COVID-19 pandemic has forced countless companies and organizations to work remotely. Managing scattered teams is one of the biggest challenges this change brought. Here are a few foolproof tips on how to effectively manage a remote team during these trying times:

    • Establish work schedules and set boundaries. Instruct your remote workers to draft a daily routine so you can respect their time and know exactly when you can and cannot contact them. This will also help you track their productivity.
    • Set clear expectations. Inform your remote teammates what you expect from them in terms of work hours, availability, meetings, projects, deadlines, and email communication.
    • Communicate regularly. Don’t be afraid to get in touch with your remote workers if you need an update or information on something they’re working on. Scheduling team meetings is also strongly encouraged. Having open lines of communication in place will not only make remote work management easier for you, but also help you build strong relationships with your employees.

    How do you best manage your remote team?

    To manage your remote team successfully, you need to:

    • Establish a daily routine and manage expectations
    • Schedule important meetings on time
    • Leave time to deal with urgent issues
    • Track your remote team’s productivity with the help of advanced project management software
    • Communicate as often as necessary

    Wrapping Up

    Telework has become one of the challenges that businesses have to face during the coronavirus pandemic. Many of the companies found themselves completely unprepared to manage the whole teams that were forced to work remotely. 

    Check out this interview: Taking Advice From A Struktör: with David Stiernholm

    When it comes to managing a team remotely, it is crucial to have your team follow a precise schedule. 

    Teams have a lot of deadlines to keep up with, from content creation to managing data analytics. That is why, to make sure that your team keeps up with the workflow, you can arrange daily morning meetings to schedule your team’s day, as well as daily check-ups to track their progress. 

    Don’t be afraid to over-communicate at the initial stages of transitioning to remote work. Make sure that your colleagues understand the complexity of telework and are on board with you to make remote work as effective and productive as possible for the entire team. 


    Would you like to boost your email productivity while managing your team remotely? Download Mailbutler for Apple Mail, Gmail or Outlook!

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    Comments (2)

    1. Thank you.
      I’ve just learned a lot from your article 🙂

      12 May 2020
      • Hi! Thank you for reading, we’re happy you found it interesting!

        11 Jun 2020

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