Covid-19 changed the workplace forever. As we’re entering the post pandemic era, more and more companies are allowing their employees to work remotely. In fact, 47% of employers intend to allow their employees to work remotely going forward. If having a fully remote team is not feasible, companies are exploring the option of hybrid teams.
In this changed workplace, you, as an employer, must tweak your team management strategy to mentor employees working on-site and the ones who chose to work remotely. In this brief guide, we will discuss quick tips, tools, and strategies to manage remote and hybrid teams in 2021.
Let’s dive in:
What Is the Difference between Remote and Hybrid?
A remote team means most of the employees work from remote locations. Team members don’t have a fixed office. And they don’t have to meet in-person. Having a remote workforce offers multiple benefits. Increased productivity, easy access to talent, increased wellness are just a few to mention.
The hybrid workforce includes both types of employees - remote and on-site. In most cases, employees have an option to choose whether they want to work remotely full time or for just a few days in a week. Hybrid team setup is perfect for companies that aren’t completely up for adopting a fully remote workforce model.
Tips to Manage Fully Remote Teams
Managing a remote team is sometimes challenging because you and your team members cannot have face-to-face conversions.
Here are a few quick tips to manage a fully remote team so they are engaged and motivated.
1. Layout the Boundaries
You should lay out the rules regarding working and communication in advance. It’s essential for your remote team to know the preferable hours and communication media to reach out to superiors and other members of the team.
2. Have a Daily Check-in
You should schedule a daily check-in to discuss project-related updates, give feedback, or ask for requirements if any. It will not only keep everyone on the same page but also make your remote team members feel connected and supported while they work from home.
3. Set aside Time for Meaningful One-on-One Conversations
Sometimes, you need to have one-to-one sessions with each team member. Preferably, you should do it weekly to make sure that they aren’t struggling with something or haven’t missed any important project-related update.
This is more than just a check-in, but a time for meaningful conversations around things outside of the day-to-day grind. It's an opportunity to explore their career ambitions, challenges, questions, and build a relationship with them. This is especially important for remote employees who struggle with feelings of isolation.
For that reason many remote companies start remote mentoring programs where they can ensure all remote employees have access to development opportunities. If a remote mentoring program sounds like something you should have in your organization check out our Remote Mentoring Handbook where we talk about how to be great mentor in a remote environment.
4. Encourage Social Interactions
You should host virtual events and remote team-building activities regularly. Such activities help remote team members know each other, form a bond, and work together as a team.
5. Avoid Micromanaging
You must allow your remote team members the freedom to work the way they want. It’s best to just delegate the tasks and monitor the progress. As long as they’re getting the work done on time, avoid pinging them at regular intervals.
Tips to Manage Hybrid Teams
The following tips will help you bring the best out of your hybrid team.
1. Set Expectations Beforehand
You should explain the norms regarding working hours, office attendance, mode of communication and everything else to your team. Lesser the ambiguity, the better would be the team coordination.
2. Set up a Common Information Source
You should keep all important files, resources, and tools in one accessible place. It will reduce mix-ups and help both on-site and remote team members have access to the same information.
3. Cross Train for Multiple Responsibilities
You should train your employees to be proficient in tasks outside their outlined roles. It will be helpful in those conditions when a team member is unavailable or unreachable due to some reasons.
4. Adopt a Remote-first Culture
You should have a culture and system in place, which facilitates remote working. It will enable team members to work seamlessly whether they’re working in an office or somewhere else. For inspiration, check out these 15 companies that thrive on remote work.
5. Focus on Outcomes rather than Output
You should focus more on the results than controlling the process. If you empower your team with the right tools and strategies, be it remote team or on-site team, they will deliver results.
Top Tools for Managing Remote & Hybrid Teams
The following tools are super helpful in efficiently managing remote and hybrid teams:
Slack is a team communication tool to help you manage different ongoing interactions. Each team, project and topic can have separate channels, where related messages and files are kept together. With Slack, you can have one-to-one conversations too.
You can use Slack not only for text messages but also for voice messages, voice calls, and video meetings.
Asana is a project management tool to keep track of different initiatives and tasks. You can quickly get an overview of the team calendar, project statuses, and any pending approvals.
You can create tasks, assign these tasks to individuals, and interact with them directly from there.
Asana keeps files, instructions, and other details together for easy management.
Microsoft Teams is group communication software to help improve team collaboration across an organization. You can use it to chat, video call, or share files. It can also help you explain your ideas with its screen sharing feature and virtual whiteboard.
Moreover, Teams integrates well with the Microsoft Office suite. So, your team can collaborate easily, and you'll be able to check the progress anytime.
G-Suite is an integrated suite of apps essential to take care of projects remotely. It has tools to save and edit all the documents and spreadsheets online.
Apart from that, G-Suite also provides access to shared team calendars. It can help you keep track of important events and reminders. And it makes it easy to chat with individual team members, hold meetings and share quick notes.
GoToMeeting is a video conferencing software that allows you to host online meetings. You can hold daily meetings, organize training sessions, or brainstorm together with your team.
GoToMeeting makes collaboration hassle-free. Multiple people can share their screens, draw and highlight important points, and discuss over a virtual whiteboard.
Survey Anyplace is a survey tool to design customized quizzes, interactive surveys, and detailed questionnaires. Team members can collaborate to create and edit the surveys from anywhere. And you can share the recorded survey results, responses, and answers with the entire team.
Survey Anyplace comes handy for internal assessments too. You can use it for employee self-assessments and job satisfaction surveys, and provide personalised feedback.
Chanty is a tool that provides easy communication and task management. You can make team-wide announcements or chat on the go with individual team members. In addition to text messages, it supports quick voice messages and audio calls too.
Additionally, you can use it to create and assign tasks to your team. It keeps all the related messages, images, and important files together for easy reference.
Clipchamp is an online webcam recorder and video editor suitable for creating videos online with your team. You can make animated videos from scratch or use the in-built screen recorder to record your screen.
With Clipchamp, you can record your webcam video alongside or just your voice too. You can then add captions and other elements, split the videos into multiple files, and share with your entire team.
9. Time Doctor
Time Doctor is an easy-to-use time tracking tool. Using Time Doctor, you can create tasks, assign projects to different team members, and check their progress.
Along with those, you can analyze summary reports to increase team efficiency and improve productivity. Time Doctor provides regular screenshots and website and app usage reports to help you see how your team is working.
Teamwork’s team management software is ideal for managing remote teams. With Teamwork you can take care of everything, from task management to time tracking, resource planning and internal communication on tasks.
Teamwork can be your “single source of truth” for keeping productivity at an all time high, even for remote teams. They also have a chat feature with video calling, keeping that “in-office” feel and helping your remote team keep in touch.
To Wrap Up
Employees are your best asset. They can make or break your company. The above-mentioned tools will help you and your team work in tandem. And if you use these tools strategically, they will certainly improve the productivity of your team.