How to Manage a Remote Team
APR 02, 2018 13:31 PM
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How to Manage a Remote Team

by Anthony Coggine
Remote work, or telecommuting, has become a common sight in the modern workplace. Employees all over the globe have shown to not only enjoy remote work but also find greater productivity in it. Data has shown employees that work remotely boost profits in the businesses they work for and produce greater results at higher efficiencies. 
These revelations have led to businesses all over the world switching large portions of their workforce to remote work. Managers, however, are still somewhat unsure of what their role is when trying to manage remote employees around the globe. One must not ignore the benefits of outspoken employees who enjoy their independence and freedom. 
Still, businesses must find a way to implement their culture even when their employees are embedded in their own. This is where the dilemma comes into play. How can we manage a team of people working from home or cafes without eye to eye conversation? The answer to this question is actually much simpler than it seems thanks to the technologies of today.
Remote work, in its essence, is about treating employees with respect and trusting them to do their work on their own and in their own time. Initially this was a struggle for businesses, but as the results have shown, it has paid off tremendously. 
While the news of this, and the results, have been great the reality of management still must be implemented. For some, managing remote work revolves around loose and vague terms. Some managers find it efficient to just schedule meetings over Skype or Zoom. 
Other managers enjoy implementing at-home time cards or daily reports. While remote work is still in its larval stages, we can still analyze what employees report they like and develop management schemes around the data.
It is important for managers to keep in mind that remote work is about freedom and independence. As such, daily check-in and check-out times have been less effective then assigning projects or weekly goals. 
For managers, they must keep in mind that remote work opens up unique possibilities. With certain technologies, like Microsoft Remote Desktop and Skypes’ on demand meeting services, keeping up to date with employees is practically easier than in an office environment. 
Telecommuting does not mean that employees go off the grid and are unreachable beyond vague writings and surreptitious reports. Managers must still keep their eyes on the employees of the business and check in to make sure everything is going smoothly. 
To that end, apps like Slack have integrated instant messaging services that allows quick and concise communication between management teams and employee staff. Zoom allows employees to take meetings on the go and allows them to use their phone as a meeting connection. The technology of today creates a unique advantage for managers as keeping non-intrusive tabs on your employees is easier than ever.
Pride and independence for the employees when implementing telecommuting should never be reflective of a traditional office environment. Even so, the management styles must change to meet the new technology and new environment.
No longer will traditional pressures work has the physicality seen in traditional office work is absent from telecommuting. This has the upside of reducing stress in both the managers and employees. Telecommuting makes the job of a manager much easier than it usually is.
Ultimately, remote work is beneficial for both employees and managers. Managing a team remotely is more about concise communication and mutual consideration for each other's own lives. The ideal management system is one of mutual respect and taking the time to personalize tasks that fit each employees life. 
Telecommuting environments are about working to live and not living to work. This system  will lead to a new revolution in employment schemes and top-down organization centered around macro management and not the minute details of traditional management. Most managers find that remote work environments are conducive to more positive relationships between managers and employees. 
This is probably the most beneficial aspect of telecommuting. It tends to bring out the best in people and allows managers to work side-by-side with employees rather than over the shoulder. The goal of remote work is to create a truly egalitarian workplace which leads to happier lives and less stressful days for all employees of an organization. 
Anthony Coggine is recruitment consultant who has spent more than five years in variety of industries, primarily focused on his clients' recruiting and business processes, improving his clients' efficiency so they could be more profitable and poised for future growth. His tech interests include data visualization, CRM and analysis as well as the intersection of journalism and technology.
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