Managing a Remote Team - Remote Employee Productivity

Monday, May 3, 2021

Looking at ways to effectively manage a remote team is essential for businesses. The challenges of managing remote employees are especially difficult for companies trying to implement their real-world management style while employees are working remotely. Staying flexible is key to learning how to manage remote employees.


Many workers in the IT field have been working from home for almost a year, as full-time or partial remote work will most likely become the new normal. One survey shows that 57% of employees are now working from home, and it's estimated that two in five employees will still be performing remote work at the end of 2021.


While remote working is a great option for tech professionals, IT managers may need to make a few changes in managing remote employees to maximize productivity and also promote remote team building.


One of the mistakes in the initial stages of the pandemic is that some managers adopted a "copy and paste" style to managing a remote team by trying to replicate what works best in an office environment. However, this approach didn't work well for remote working then, and it still isn't effective now.


In addition, some employees do not transition well to a remote work environment, while other jobs are difficult to perform remotely. Understanding how to overcome the challenges of managing remote employees is critical to staying productive.


Here a few tips to consider on managing remote teams. 

1) Audit Meetings and Make Adjustments

One of the first steps in leading remote teams is to limit Zoom meetings. Too many meetings make it nearly impossible for a remote team to remain productive. Trying to replicate an office environment with zoom meetings creates a lot of fatigue and disruption instead of making employees feel more connected. 

Looking at ways to limit these meetings is critical in boosting productivity for employees working remotely. Performing a meeting audit is a great way to determine which meetings need to stay and which ones that need to be eliminated. Shortening meetings is another way to improve productivity, as lengthy remote meetings often extend the workday and waste too much time. Maintaining attention during a video chat is also more difficult, as keeping a meeting short benefits everyone involved.


2) Use Optimized HR Practices for Remote Workers

A common mistake plenty of managers make is handling remote workers in the same way you would manage office-based employees. However, the needs of a remote worker are much different compared to working in an office. Depending on your business, a remote worker may work different hours compared to a normal 9-5 office job. 

Setting clear and achievable productivity standards for remote workers is also important in creating short-term and long-term goals. Always taking the time to ask for feedback or suggestions is also helpful in better managing remote employees.


3) Improve Your Broadcasting Skills

Dealing with technical issues is an all too common problem in managing remote teams. Making it a priority to improve your broadcasting skills and training employees on how to best use video chat platforms is essential in boosting productivity. Communicating with others on camera also requires additional skills. Learning how to make eye contact and maintain the attention of your audience are critical aspects in becoming an effective communicator to remote employees.


4) Keep It Short and Simple

One of the key points of being a successful communicator is always to try to keep it short and simple. Long-winded explanations can often cause you to lose the attention of your remote audience. Knowing how to speak clearly and get directly to the point is a great way to save everyone a lot of time and maximize remote work productivity.


5) Ask for Feedback

While keeping it short and simple is effective for managing remote teams, it's still important to ask for feedback. Listening to how remote workers are feeling is a great way to build connections and find ways to implement any suggestions. Scheduling remote team-building activities can also be helpful in making everyone feel connected, whether it's playing online games against each other while on break or a virtual happy hour after work.


6) Offer In-Depth Training

A lack of expertise in using new software is another issue for remote employees. Making sure that everyone understands how to use collaboration tools is essential in helping remote employees remain productive while also preventing a lot of unnecessary frustration and stress. These training classes can discuss how to use new software programs to ensure everyone is on a level playing field with each other. Over time, this can help remote employees work more effectively and also increase remote team productivity.


7) Improve Time Management and Limit Burnout

One of the main problems of managing remote employees is time management. Too much wasted time in meetings creates a lot of burnout and makes it difficult for remote employees to stay focused. Finding ways to streamline work-related activities is an effective way to increase efficiency and reduce the chance of remote employees feeling burnout.


8) Never Be Afraid of Making Changes

Listening to input from remote workers is a great way to improve their experience and help them feel like part of a team. Gaining input from remote workers can help you make additional changes to keep everyone happy while also increasing productivity. Never being afraid of change but always looking at ways to make improvements is key to successfully managing remote teams.

 A lack of face-to-face meetings and water-cooler conversations can create a growing gap in connecting with remote employees. One way to overcome these concerns is to check in with remote workers individually for a few minutes each week. These short meetings are a great way to remain proactive in helping you best meet the needs of remote employees.


Closing Thoughts

Remote work will remain a reality for many employees for the foreseeable future. Looking at ways to increase remote team productivity while also helping everyone feel connected is a top priority for business managers. Following these simple tips for managing remote teams can play a key role in improving remote work productivity.

Related in DAC

How to Improve Productivity of Remote Workers

Top IT Project Management Challenges

Serving Customers with a Remote Workforce

The Five Dysfunctions of a Dynamics Team

DAC News Desk: Understanding the New Workplace: Are You Staying Relevant?


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