After many months of working remotely, you probably don’t need us to tell you that managing a team isn’t as simple when you’re spread across various locations, and you may be worried that your joint productivity levels and feelings of being a team have taken a nosedive. However, it doesn’t have to be this way! From regularly checking in with your team, to investing in great software for remote workers, there are various things you can do to achieve seamless team management – even if the members of your team are no longer working from the same room.
As a team leader, you may still be struggling to adapt when it comes to managing your team remotely, having originally anticipated that everyone would already be back in the office full-time by now. If you’re not taking the right steps to improve communication with your team members while they work remotely, such as taking advantage of work from home software (like digital team collaboration tools and video conferencing apps), this is something you should be doing now.
This is especially important because remote and flexible working is more than just a passing fad that will soon disappear alongside stay-at-home orders and social distancing. Due to the great benefits that working from home can bring to employees, such as an improved work-life balance, remote working is here to stay – in some capacity, at least. In fact, a study from a U.S. technology research firm has predicted that the percentage of permanent remote workers will rise from 16.4% to 34.4% in 2021. That same study also found that 48.6% of CIOs had seen workers’ productivity improve since they started working remotely.
So, with many employees likely to be splitting their time between working in the office and their homes in the future, here are 5 killer ways to manage a distributed team with the help of clever digital team collaboration tools and other software for remote workers…
1. Catch up with your team members daily
One of the biggest concerns for managers who have had to transition to leading a remote team is that communication will be lost. This can lead to important information not being relayed to the right person at the optimal time, and work not being completed before their deadlines. Planning daily virtual meetings with your team at the start of each day (using a dedicated video conferencing app or work from home software that incorporates video calls) will help you to ensure that everyone knows what needs to be done and when, and check that work is on track to be completed.
With emails likely to be lost in busy inboxes, using instant messaging software will also make it quick and easy to continue to check in with your team throughout the day.
2. Have virtual one-to-ones with team members
During the current pandemic, one issue that definitely shouldn’t be overlooked is the impact a lack of human interaction is having on individuals’ mental health, with a survey conducted by the UK’s Office of National Statistics in 2020 finding that 53% of people felt the virus was affecting their well-being. 47% also said that the pandemic was causing them to experience “high levels” of anxiety. Not only do happy employees equal productive ones, but as a manager, you have a duty of care to ensure your team isn’t struggling at work.
When your team is working from the same office 5 days a week, it’s far easier to determine who is happy and motivated to achieve, and who may be struggling to keep up with their workload. Scheduling monthly one-on-one video meetings with every member of your team won’t just give you an opportunity to provide feedback away from the ears of others, but open up the floor for them to discuss how they are feeling. This will enable you to determine if they are experiencing any issues you can help with – such as an unmanageable workload.
3. Invest in clever team collaboration tools
One of the best things about working in a team is the fact that you can collaborate on tasks and projects. Being able to bounce ideas in group brainstorming ideas leads to more creative ideas being generated. However, this practice doesn’t have to be lost when everyone is working remotely! There are various team collaboration tools available on the market (such as the remote working tool, Ayoa) that enable teams to brainstorm ideas and manage shared projects together virtually.
Ayoa, in particular, offers web and mobile apps that can be accessed by users wherever they’re working from and allows them to make edits to the same idea and project boards in real-time. It also enables users to host video calls and present their work to others without the need for additional remote working tools!
4. Try to keep the feeling of team spirit alive
Managing teams doesn’t just involve ensuring that productivity remains high and that work is being completed in advance of their due dates. Any great manager knows that the teams that work best together are the ones that have great relationships and consider their teammates to be friends. In the office, these friendships are built and maintained through workers engaging in general chit-chat when working, waiting at the coffee machine, or sitting in the canteen to have lunch together – but when working remotely, it’s easy for hours to pass without having talked to anyone on your team.
The solution to this? Use an instant messenger to create group chats for your team to contribute to throughout the day – and actively encourage them to do so, even if it’s just to discuss the TV show they binge-watched in one sitting over the weekend or what they’re having for lunch that day. Feel like your team is missing your regular office socials? You can also take advantage of video calls to have virtual get-togethers, such as after-work drinks or a fun quiz!
5. Provide team members with the tools they need
Even if your team is solely working from home, it’s still your responsibility as their manager to ensure that they’re comfortable in their place of work and that they have access to the tools and equipment to help them do their job to the best of their ability. With many employees having had to quickly pack up their work desks last year and still not having visited their physical office for many months, some vital tools may have been left behind or simply forgotten to be set up – and employees may think it’s now too late to ask for them.
Make sure you check-in with your team members and ask them if there is anything they need, whether this is equipment such as an ergonomic chair, an additional computer screen or laptop stand, or access to software to help them continue to work with other employees, such as team collaboration tools.
What is the best software for remote workers?
When it comes to choosing work from home software for your team, the first thing you need to do is establish what you want it to offer. Do you want your remote working tool to help you keep track of when everyone is working (if your company offers flexible working) or see the progress of the tasks they’re working on? Maybe you’re looking for a team collaboration tool that provides a canvas for everyone to brainstorm ideas and plan projects together? Alternatively, you might need your software to offer video calls if meetings are a big part of your day, and want to avoid investing in multiple apps and having to switch between them.
All of these things are important for successfully managing a remote team and ensuring they’re happy and productive, so you should be investing in a tool that is able to provide a solution to all of these problems. If you’re looking for free remote access software, you’re likely to be limited in terms of the features you will have access to and the number of team members you can use the software with. However, Ayoa is a great flexible option for remote workers.
Ayoa offers three collaborative board types (whiteboards, mind maps and task boards), so you have a range of canvases to choose from when it comes to brainstorming ideas, planning and managing projects with your team, as well as keeping track of your team members’ workloads and progress. Features like the team pulse dashboard and user statuses ensure that you and everyone on your team can provide instant updates on whatever it is you’re working on as well as see when people are available, busy with meetings, or out of the office. Ayoa’s video calling, instant messaging and presenting features also ensure that everyone is always on the same page.
Ayoa has a range of plans for different team sizes and features, meaning you only pay for what you need! So, why not invest in software for remote workers and see your team’s shared productivity and morale increase tenfold?