If you’re a project manager nowadays, it’s just a matter of time before you are asked to manage a remote team. If you are working in that position in this day and age, and you haven’t managed one? Then we are seriously questioning your importance at the company.
All this remote work is possible due to brilliant and noteworthy advancements in information technology which paints a picture that if these types of viruses came a few decades back, the world economy would have crumbled in weeks.
All of this makes working from home very important and necessary for the world we live in today. In this article, we will tell you all about managing remote teams consisting of different team members, norms, time differences and much more. Let’s begin.
Team Coordination Among Different Time Zones to Manage a Remote Team
Office work is always more efficient when you have the whole workforce in one physical location. But that is not what remote teamwork is made of.
So, how can we make communication and collaboration more efficient when the team is made up of people from all of the different corners of the world.
The solution to this issue is to get the whole team together and set some expectations and ground rules. This will make sure that the whole team falls in line and collaborate on those ground rules. You also need to use some sort of collaboration tools.
These tools will enable the team to be in constant real-time communication, no matter where they are located.
Of course, when the team is so overly scattered around the world, there are bound to be scenarios where some of the team members will have to work at odd hours.
When this is the case, then the managers need to aim for schedule overlap where they’ll have the teamwork at such hours when everyone is online and able to communicate.
To make this happen you need to go to work and find out all of the locations and typical work-hours of the employees. This will help you get an idea about the overlapping hours for employees.
After you find them out, you need to set those hours as the working hours for the whole team so that they can effectively collaborate and get the job done.
Learn more about the team collaboration tools:
Introducing a Community Culture in the Team without a Shared Physical Location
In the organizational culture, the community culture is very common and that’s the most important part of team collaboration. Why? Because this community culture enables the team to feel like they belong in something bigger than themselves and that makes them achieve great things as a team.
To foster this culture, the office has a lot of different places and events like break rooms and birthdays or parties in that said room, which enables the team to get to know each other on a human level rather than just a text buddy on slack.
But the problem is that, how would you promote this type of culture when the team members are thousands of miles apart from each other. To overcome this, the project manager again has to put their attention towards collaboration tools.
Here are some steps that the managers need to take to promote a community culture in remote teams.
- They need to make dedicated digital spaces where the team needs to gather to celebrate every important day regarding the team and the company. Scheduling the time to meet for a new hires’ first day or at a team member’s virtual birthday party can be an excellent way to build a stronger team and foster trust between employees.
- They need to create some team building or bonding exercises that don’t require the team to be in the same place physically. These exercises can be anything from virtual book clubs to playing virtual games together.
- The managers need to send out an optional check-in that requires the workers to send out different pictures of their pets or their most recent vacation. This will help to bond the team members on a more human level rather than just being a typing blip on slack.
Managers need to all of this and put in the effort, because if they don’t go out of their way to touch the lives of their employees then how can they expect the team to put in the same amount of effort in their work.
Rely More on Video-based Communication
In the organizational culture, the team members talk through digital memos but the one thing that they rely on the most to make sure that the other person knows what they are on about is face-to-face communication.
There’re so many factors involved in a human interaction like tone, context, and inflection among many others, which is impossible to achieve when the team is always communicating through applications like slack.
This will help make sure that all of the team members get to say what they mean and no blank spaces or miscommunication happens among them.
Relying on Technology for Collaboration
The organizational paradigm runs on technology. The more you are using the latest and greatest in tech for your company, the more it will flourish. But often when you are using a bunch of different applications for different activities being performed by your team, things get out of hand.
Why? Because in remote teams you are solely reliant on the technology without face-to-face interactions.
Check out the HR resource template to help manage your remote team:
So, to make sure that things don’t get confused later on in the development phase, you need to set some ground rules that would include all of the applications and the purpose for which they will be used.
This will make sure that every member of the team knows where they are to perform their work, where they ought to discuss the work with their colleagues and where they are supposed to submit it.
If you have experienced working in a remote team or managing it as a team leader, do let us know through the comments section below. Alternatively, you can send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.