5 Tips for Managing Remote Teams

Now that many are still working from home, team managers may find it hard to adjust to manage your team’s productivity.

I’ve worked & managed remotely for over fifteen years now, so I thought I’d share some lessons learned:

  1. Measure performance on outcomes & deliverables: from my own experience working in larger enterprises, the larger the enterprise – the more inefficient your people are – not that it’s their fault – it’s just a by-product of larger businesses.

    I remember one of my former employers (a FTSE listed company) would track and measure performance of their sales people on the WRONG metrics…

    …for example, volume of sales calls (not quality). So what would happen? Sales people would just make a call, let it ring for a few seconds, hang up. Call done. Yep, that’s how it was measured.

    I would have measured based upon actual sales and possibly # of calls that were over 2 minutes at least.

    Measuring on volume or hours put in is not an effective measurement of performance and now work-from-home will shine a bright light on this. This also punishes those who are more efficient at producing in less time.

    So, review how you measure performance. Is it encouraging bad habits and incorrect performance results?

  2. Schedule regular check-ins: Depending on the structure of your team, schedule either daily, every other day or weekly check-ins to get caught up with how every team member is doing.

    This way your team feels supported and you can ensure things are still on track.

  3. Setup proper controls: With multiple members accessing data and information that could be confidential (e.g. customer data), you need to ensure proper information controls are in place and understood by all team members.

    For instance, if your team needs to access customer data, they should be allowed to export or save any of that information on their local computer.

    If not all team members need to access specific data, then see if you can put restrictions on their roles so they do not access that information.

    Proper training of why controls are important and the risks and severity of abusing data controls should be a priority.

  4. Setup internal messaging: Email is horrible for internal chats and messaging. That’s why apps like Slack, Microsoft Teams are great for this purpose.

    But, these apps can also lead to distraction and less productivity. Don’t expect everyone to respond right away or have them schedule regular check-in times where they check and respond to internal messages.

  5. Change mindset: Not everyone is suited to work from home. But this is a reality for our current environment and I don’t see it going away any time soon. While I don’t see work from home replacing in-office work, work from home should experience an increase in interest in businesses around the world.

    There are many benefits to work from home, such as no time wasted commuting and being stuck in traffic, being close to family – rather than asking “When will work from home be over?”…

    …ask a different question: “How can I make the most of this opportunity to work from home?”

Are you having any problems managing your work from home teams? Share them below and I’ll try to answer them as best as I can.

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