Dallas, Texas – Most leaders will tell you managing any team presents special challenges, but managing a remote team can often add a layer of complexity that is difficult to get a handle on.
And for today’s leaders and prospective leaders, being tasked with managing a remote team, or one that has members who work virtually, will almost assuredly be a part of your career.
According to a recent survey by Global Workplace Analytics, working virtually in some way is already a reality for 50% of the workforce, while over 80% of employees indicated they'd like the option to work remotely at least part of the time.
Technology has been the big game-changer and the reason stats like the ones above keep rising. Advancements in the tech sector have eliminated many of the challenges around how teams connect and communicate, easing the anxiety many company decision-makers have had when it comes to opening up opportunities for staff to spend some (or all) of their time working remotely.
But just because people are able to connect in a virtually seamless way, doesn’t mean they’ll actually “connect” as a team.
It’s very common for issues around communication, collaboration, support, trust and overall team building to be a constant struggle.
We work with organizations in the areas of Team Building (Team Building in Dallas), collaboration and communication, with many of our clients being a part of the current environment – they’re focused on connecting teams with members who work remotely. Each session we do is customized specifically to the group we’re working with, but often we’re tasked with helping to create an environment where staff collaborate and communicate at a high-level, despite the virtual setting.
As we highlight, the increase in people working remotely doesn't need to result in a lower-level of engagement amongst team members.
With that, here are a few tips for managing a remote team:
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate (even over-communicate) The foundation to a healthy team culture (and to being a successful manager) is effective communication. When your team has members who regularly work virtually, and may be distributed around the country (and even world), it's even more important to be overly communicative.
Don’t take this for granted.
Set-up regular (ideally daily) connections with your staff, and find ways to consistently connect them to each other.
Technology has made this a smooth process.
From video conferencing, messaging apps (Whatsapp), good old fashioned phone calls, social media platforms and shared docs – find a mix that work for everyone and commit to using them.
Highlight Empathy In a recent study focused on what ingredients are most important in creating a strong team, MIT professors found that teams who collectively “consider and keep track of what other people feel, know and believe,” were much better off. This is known as “Theory of Mind.”…but at its base, this is empathy.
So much of what we do in our improv-based corporate training workshops (Corporate Workshops Dallas) has empathy as a key foundation. The more you can empathize with one another, the easier it is to collaborate as a team.
Encourage team members to get to know each other…what are their interests outside of work, their family life…like colleagues would if they worked in the same office and went for coffee regularly, or ate lunch together. These personal connections are meaningful. Look for ways to facilitate them.
Meet-up Plan regular meetings where everyone actually is in the same place at the same time. Whether it’s once a month, every quarter, twice a year or annually. It’s important for the team to meet up face-to-face on a fairly regular basis.
And when you do meet-up, plan out time for the team to engage, connect and bond.
Managing a remote team can be a little scary at first, but with some attention to details, it can be a very rewarding experience for everyone involved.
If you’d like to learn more about our corporate workshops that we can customize specifically for teams who have remote staff, reach out to either one of us:
You can also read more here - (Team Building in Dallas)