Over the last decade, there have been significant changes in the way the business world works. The number of people working as freelancers is growing rapidly. This, combined with the current work climate that we have now been forced into with COVID-19, has many employers relying on remote teams. These teams can consist of employees scattered all over the world.
Due to the rapid growth in the freelance and remote workforce, we can assume that there are significant benefits in hiring remote workers and managing virtual teams. Yet, there are still a few drawbacks that need to be dealt with. The most common disadvantages are organizational and time management issues.
In this article, we'll go through some tips that will help your remote team run like clockwork.
time management tips FOR REMOTE TEAM LEADERS
1. Have everything planned out and set up
Before you even start a project or form a team, you need to have your groundwork laid down. This will ensure that you save yourself a lot of time in the future if some hiccups occur.
What you need to do here is:
- Write down reasons for doing the project
- Present a clear path to the goal
- Schedule individual tasks
- Define timetables and deadlines
- Review and control individual tasks
One more thing you need to do in this stage is to gather all the necessary documents and software to make sure the whole process will run faster.
Some software solutions that will help you when managing remote digital teams are:
- Project management software, like Trello
- Communication software, like Skype
- Time tracking software, like Clockify
- File-sharing platform, like Google Drive
2. Create a thorough to-do list
Numerous studies have shown that making to-do lists helps teams, as well as individuals, be more efficient in completing their activities. By following the list you've created, you can avoid feeling overwhelmed and disorganized because you will have a detailed timetable with all your tasks and responsibilities in one place.
Here are a few more advantages of making a to-do list:
- Accomplishing tasks seem more manageable
- Your team has a clear picture of what is done and what is awaiting
- It makes your team feel satisfied when they cross one task off and gives them the motivation to go to the next
- Precise time frame means less or no time wasted
- It helps everyone in team focus on the important points, at any given time
There are a few things you have to do before you make a to-do list. First, determine the goal that your team needs to reach and then write down all the activities that need to be done in order to achieve that goal. Write them down without any order or detail; just write anything that comes to mind. Only after stating all the activities in one place, you can make a definite timetable. It's also helpful to eliminate less important and repetitive tasks.
This is what you need to take into consideration when making a list:
- Make a short list with specific activities rather than a long one with many little chores
- Make a list before doing any work; while this seems pretty obvious, many managers start planing when they are already swamped with work
- Start your list with the most difficult and the most time-consuming tasks
- Mix it up; insert some light activities after imperative ones. This way your team can rest for a bit and have more energy to do an extra mile
3. Allow flexible work hours
Even though being part of a remote team means you don't go to the office every day, there are still some companies and managers that require their employees to be at their computers at the same time.
Allowing your employees to have freedom when it comes to their work hours will prove beneficial to the group's efficiency and productivity. If you have a well-constructed timetable with everyone's jobs and responsibilities, flexible work hours can be the key to establishing good group dynamics.
Other advantages of flexible hours include:
- A feeling of personal control
- Increased employee morale
- Reduced employee burnout and overload
- Reduced turnover
4. Set up meetings or video conferences
Many remote team workers feel lonely because they don't have the opportunity to go for a drink with their colleagues after a hard day's work or to celebrate a job well done. Occasional meet-ups and video conferences can help individuals feel like they really belong to a team.
When your team members are scattered all around the world, schedule video meetings from time to time to just have a group brainstorming session. Everyone can turn on their cameras, make their favorite cup of coffee and work together on new projects and ideas.
5. Team-building is a must
Team building is a great way to, well, build coherent teams. Distance is not a problem; just choose an activity that can be enjoyed virtually, like an online tournament. Group projects have proven to be more effective if the team members know and care for each other.
Have every employee say something about themselves in a video and have a friendly chat with the group. You can even host an online game tournament for team members. By doing this, people will learn something new about other teammates, which will result in stronger team motivation and productivity.
Games and team chats are just two of the many possibilities you can use to build a strong bound virtually. There are many more ways that you can research on the Internet or come up with yourself.
Leading a remote team often proves to be a bit challenging. The biggest hurdle for managers is to find a way to create a friendly workplace without people physically being in one place.
However, by following the advice given above, your team can become more organized and time-efficient. The best recipe for getting a job well done is communication, organization and a little bit of fun.
About the Author: Marko Maric has worked with several startups over the years and helped them grow their brand and business online. Currently, he is at Clockify trying to make the world a more productive place.