Further tips on managing a remote team

Working remotely is creating a new set of challenges for leaders as they support and stay connected with their remote teams. In previous blogs I have shared tips on working successfully remotely. Here are some further tips I have picked up from clients over the last week as they move to a new way of working.

1. Establish a remote leadership team

To help mitigate the shockwave of change as companies move to working remotely, form a team of experts who have remote work experience. These people should be able to communicate nuances and serve as resources to those who will inevitably have questions.  Part of this core team’s role will be to document challenges in real time, transparently prioritise those challenges, and assign who is responsible to find solutions.

2. Minimise your tool stack

While functioning remotely, your company should strip the tool stack down to a minimum. Google Docs; a company-wide chat tool like Microsoft Teams or Slack; and Zoom or Skype are all you need to start. If your team needs access to internal systems through a VPN, ensure that everyone has easy access and instructions on usage are clear.

3. Work in short, fast increments and iterate regularly

Look to work on projects in small steps. This allows teams to work on something for a short period, send it for approval, then work on something else while they wait for feedback from necessary stakeholders — rather than plowing ahead and potentially wasting their own time.

4. Create a “source of truth” handbook

This can be quite basic to start, but will serve as a single source of truth for the pressing questions. You’ll need to communicate this company-wide, and update it continually with individuals defined as responsible for common questions around tools and access. This can start as a single company webpage or repository in such a tool as Notion, and will serve you well even after the current crisis subsides.

5. Set up a virtual coffee room

Depending on team size, consider creating an always on video conference room per team, where team members can come and go as they please. This helps team members acclimatise to remote working. It demonstrates a focus around informal communication, an important element that occurs spontaneously in an office and needs an immediate replacement in a remote setting.

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