7 Tips for Managing a Remote Team

Written by: Victoria Strange
Published on: 9 Dec 2020

Managing remote teams

Since working remotely, you may have noticed some changes in your team. The workplace culture may be shifting, communication could be on the decline and there might be fewer opportunities for training or socialising with your team. If 2020 has taught us anything it’s that things can change very quickly. Managing change is tricky, and for many team leaders, what worked before may not be working so well now.

For these reasons, we decided to come up with 7 tips for effectively managing a remote team.  

  • Trust your team 
  • Be adaptable 
  • Offer support 
  • Embrace the culture shift 
  • Don’t let training opportunities slack
  • Socialise with your team
  • Have your own support network 

Trust your team 

Our first tip for managing remote employees is to trust your team. Working from home means that team leaders cannot so covertly check up on their teams. Although communication is incredibly important when managing change, the key to keeping afloat with the goings on in your team is not to constantly check in, chase and micromanage, but instead to empower your team with trust.

This means maybe communicating less with your team than you think you should but making the communication you do have more purposeful. Rather than having three short catch-ups during the week, have one, longer catch-up where you can really feel that you’ve made progress, such as introducing a new project or solving an issue, rather than using your catch-ups to check up on your team. Check in with your team in the morning, set expectations or goals for the day, and then trust that your team will get on with it. 

Be adaptable  

When it comes to managing remote teams, you need to be aware of the different living situations of your staff. Some people are having to deal with distractions from children or housemates while other colleagues may be living alone and dealing with feelings of isolation and loneliness.

Managers must adapt the way they manage and communicate according to these different situations. It may be necessary to adapt our expectations too; make reasonable adjustments based on different personal needs. Then, if someone hasn’t met these expectations or is consistently underperforming, explore the reasons why.

Offer support

For many of us, the role of a manager has become a lot more supportive than it once was. With the ongoing pandemic and changes in living and working environments, employee wellbeing should always be at the forefront of our minds.

Look out for any changes in performance and notice those who are struggling. There is a direct link between employee wellbeing, and motivation and productivity at work, so if you do start to notice a change in the behaviour of your staff, decrease in morale or productivity, this could be a sign that they need additional support. Listening and observing are two key factors in providing support to your employees. Ask your team how they feel and really listen to their answers - making sure you’re hearing what people need so you can make reasonable adjustments.

Embrace the culture shift

Keeping everyone connected when working remotely is paramount, but how do we make sure to sustain a happy and productive workplace culture when the team has been separated and are now working in entirely different environments? A culture where all people are working from home is very different to a culture with people who have become accustomed to working in office. Of course the culture will naturally change because we’re all working from home, but forcing a new culture that you think will fit this “new normal” will not necessarily work as culture comes directly from people and if the people want something different, then culture will naturally shift.

The one thing that should remain unchanged are the values which underpin the company’s culture. These should always remain at the forefront of our minds and if the culture shift is still aligned with these company values, then it should be fully embraced. 

Don’t let training opportunities slack

Don’t let training opportunities slip just because we’re working remotely. Continuing to invest in your employees’ progression and learning can help boost morale in the team by helping them feel valued. If you’re stuck for ideas, GAAPweb has come up with a useful guide for some of the best free online resources for Accountants that will help inspire you to upskill your employees. 

Socialise with your team  

It can’t be all work and no play! Keep the culture of the office alive by creating regular socials and opportunities to connect with colleagues. Keeping your staff connected with each other is a key part of managing a remote team and imperative for maintaining mental health and morale. The more connected your team feels, the more likely they are to approach each other for help or opportunities for collaboration.

Have a support network 

As the team leader, you may sometimes feel a bit isolated from the rest of the group, so having your own support network can be a real help. We suggest creating a community of managers or team leaders where you can discuss the challenges of running a team remotely or managing others, swap tips and maybe even learn from other’s mistakes. 

Are you a manager in the Accounting and Finance profession? If so, we would love to hear about your experiences, tips or advice. Please get in touch on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter to share your ideas with us.