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How to manage a team remote working

It can be a difficult balancing act to manage your team when they are working remotely. You may be worried about allowing your team to work remotely, but there is no need. Just remember these three things; trust, tolerance, and support.

Trust

You must have faith that your team will continue to be productive. If you have hired well, you should have no worries about them working from home. Agree clear targets at key points, either at the beginning of the day or week, and make sure you check in with your team to see if they are OK or need additional support.

Tolerance

Working from home may not be the norm for some, but it’s important to understand that in some situations, this is unavoidable. Decide how you are going to conduct your daily working arrangements and have regular catch ups.

Support

Being there to offer support to your team members is something that you will do anyway as a manager, but you may need to extend this support to help your team members adjust to working from home. Make yourself available and lead by example.

“Check up on them, not to see what they’re doing but to see if they’re OK and how you can help. We’re social creatures and regular interaction is needed.” Chris Adcock, managing director, Reed Technology.

Technology 

Technology aids many areas of our daily lives, including providing employees and businesses with the tools to work effectively. The main tools available can be broken down into categories such as communication tools, workplace replacements, project management, and productivity tools.

Communication tools

Working from home means you don’t have the ability to speak face-to-face, ask quick questions and discuss ideas in a group. This is why tools that aid communication are vital for remote working.

Some available tools are:

Whatsapp - messaging app for individual and group chats, with video and audio calls

Facebook Messenger - messaging app for your Facebook connections, and includes video and audio chat functions

Slack - real time communication app, designed to reduce the number of emails between employees

Microsoft Teams - combines group chat, conference calling and file collaboration  

Zoom - video conferencing software 

Webex - conferencing software for audio and video calls 

Skype - the original video calling app

Replacing workplace tools

Ideally your organisation will have a system in place that allows you to use the software you use in the workplace. However, if this is not the case, these free Google programmes can provide a solution:

Google Docs - online word processor, fully compatible with Word documents

Google Sheets - online spreadsheets with functionality of Excel

Google Slides - allows you to create free online presentations, compatible with PowerPoint 

Project management tools

Coordinating projects with loads of moving parts can be tricky, luckily there are a range of project management tools that can help teams understand and allocate specific tasks within a large project.

Some available tools are:

Trello free tool in which allows teams to create and assign tasks to colleagues using cards, set deadlines and monitor progress through task lists  

Asana allows project managers to plan and assign every phase of a project, using a timeline 

Productivity tools

When remote working, it’s essential that you limit distractions. These tools can help you stay on track:

Timely - an application that allows you to block out time to complete certain tasks 

Toggl - time tracker to document how long you have spent on certain tasks and track your work

Rescue time - monitors computer usage and notifies you when you become distracted 

Focus mate - pairs two remote workers and allows you to view what the other is doing

Organise the way you work as a manager, set clear tasks for your team members, and make sure they have access to the right tools to do their job. These three elements, coupled with support from you, will enable your team to continue producing fantastic work.

For more information on how to manage a team remotely, download our guide to remote working.