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Managing a remote team is never an easy task. So many things come into play such as personalities, work ethics, environment, relationships, and much more.

In response to COVID-19 most of the world has gone remote in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus. It is no secret this will greatly impact many businesses large and small, as well as impact employees and their families. Not only will they be required to work from home, many also will be assisting their children with homeschooling until schools reopen. Depending on the age of your children, this can be difficult at best.

Managing a remote team has some big differences from managing a team of people working in the same office and workspace. When I started LHM Strategic, one of my major drivers was building a remote team and taking hold of a flexible schedule in order to prioritize some things in my life. One of the first things I did as my business grew was research about hiring the right remote employees and how to effectively manage people I might rarely, if ever, meet in person. Crazy concept, but lots of companies are doing it and thriving in a remote business model. I know not all employees make good remote or virtual workers, but there are some things you as a manager and business owner can do to help make sure their transition goes smoothly.

5 Tips for Managing a Remote Team – Making the transition smoother for everyone.

  1. Use Project Management Apps: If you do not already have a project management software or system, find one! There are many free programs out there like Slack, Asana, Trello and others. Staying on top of projects and tasks is extremely important when managing your team. It is your main responsibility as manager.
  2. Set work “office hours”: My work schedule is flexible, but my employees have a few hours a day when they know I am available for questions or assistance. During this time, they can connect with me and get caught up on new projects or changes in current projects we have going on with clients. Having these as set hours allows me not to spend all my time answering multiple questions throughout the day and getting behind on my own responsibilities, while giving employees a feeling of security and camaraderie.
  3. Use online conference rooms: Find an online videoconference room platform that works for your team. Some companies already have this but if you don’t there are lots of free options like Google Hangouts, Whereby, Zoom and many more. Seeing others’ faces every now and then can go a long way in team building and inclusivity.
  4. Check in: Don’t wait to hear from your team, reach out to them daily (or weekly at the very least) to see how things are going. Do they have any questions or concerns? How was their day? Are the kids driving them mad yet? This will help maintain your relationship and make them feel connected and invested during this remote time.
  5. Trust your employees to get the work done: Lots of managers struggle with this and it is why many teams are not remote to begin with. If employees value their jobs they won’t treat this like a snow day. We are all in this together and making sure employees feel valued as team members keeps morale and production high. Be flexible — kids, dogs, husbands and wives will all be home together. There will be distractions and sometimes their schedule might flux but the work will be done and by the deadline (as long as you set one)!
tips for managing a remote team

Since working remotely is currently unavoidable with office and school closures around the nation, take a deep breath and embrace the change. Your employees will crush it and make you proud! Providing them virtual structure and a sense of teamwork will go along away these next few weeks. Managing a remote team is different but 100%! My team and hundreds of thousands of companies have been successfully working remote for years.

You’ve got this!

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