How To Successfully Manage A Remote Team

Sofya Polyakov is CEO & Co-Founder of Noun Project and Lingo.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, many businesses were forced to close their doors and embrace remote work. For nearly two years, employees and business leaders around the world have been navigating a new, remote reality. While some companies are returning to the office full-time, others are opting for hybrid or permanent remote work models, opening new discussions around how to best manage remote teams, retain talent and grow a company.

One thing is clear: Remote work is here to stay. As you navigate the new normal, here are three tips to help you effectively manage and strengthen your teams.

Develop A Remote Work Playbook

It’s critical to have a playbook that outlines remote work policies and expectations. The first step to implementing a successful remote-work policy is to give people ownership and responsibility for their decisions. You can do this by getting input from your team about what policies should be included in your playbook. Keep in mind that each working group may have different needs, so while your company’s remote work playbook should have a consistent set of rules and expectations for everyone on your team, it should also allow for custom solutions to remote work for individual working groups. Make sure to revisit and regularly reevaluate what does and doesn’t work. Setting clear guidelines for communication during work and after hours, expectations around engagement, and which meetings are mandatory can help alleviate the uncertainty that can come with asynchronous schedules.

Invest In Your Company’s Culture

Having a remote workforce means you need to invest even more time in strengthening your company’s culture, not less. A shared mission and sense of purpose tied directly to what your company is working toward is critical for your employees to feel invested in what they’re working on. Focusing your resources on building a strong company culture will help you retain the best talent, as well as set you up for hiring success going forward.

Create Opportunities For Connection

Without organic opportunities to chat at the water cooler or over lunch at the office, it’s critical to create opportunities for your team to connect with each other socially. Helping your employees feel connected to the company’s mission, vision and each other can help combat the feelings of isolation that can sometimes come with remote work. This can be done by hosting bi-monthly company-wide meetings for your team to share what they’re working on and milestones as a group. Encourage regular one-on-one meetings between supervisors and their direct reports, virtual stand-up meetings and get-to-know-you sessions for new hires. And most importantly, don’t skip the celebrations!

Ultimately, good communication is key to creating a strong foundation for a positive remote work experience. Keep in close contact with your team and encourage open and honest 360 feedback year-round, not just during annual performance reviews. Regularly check in and ask what challenges individuals and departments are facing, and evaluate what changes should be made to your remote work policy to maximize efficiency, productivity and overall well-being.

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