You might be taking your first steps into the wide, wide world of remote work. Or maybe you’re looking to bring your already-remote team even closer.

Either way, we have some strategies you can start using today that can transform the way you manage your remote team!

There are pros and cons to every team dynamic. But if you start with these steps to lead your remote team, the opportunities will far outweigh the difficulties. Let’s have a look!

Put the right tools in your toolkit

First things first, you need to decide on the platforms, software, and systems that you will use to communicate with your team.

This includes project management tools, video calling and conferencing tools, file storage and data sharing tools, and any other collaboration solutions that enable your team to do their job in sync with each other.

Once you think you know the right tools for your toolkit, make sure they accommodate everyone’s needs, and bridge any gaps some people might have with accessing or using them.

Be sure to give everyone time to train on and get used to the systems early on. For instance, why not run your first Zoom session on the subject of how to use Zoom?

Set SMART Goals

People are surprisingly good at managing themselves, but only when given clear direction.

Make sure your team objectives are laid out clearly and succinctly, and that those goals (as well as your progress towards them) are readily accessible by everyone involved.

Whether it’s overarching goals (like quarterly stats or monthly sales targets), or specific goals (like a project deadline or even an agenda for a certain meeting), it’s important that your team knows what they’re being asked to achieve. That way they can ensure they are taking the right steps to get there.

Set a schedule of communication

Staying in contact with your team is crucial for providing updates, and getting updates in return.

But when your meeting schedule is haphazard and your team is constantly on call, it makes it nearly impossible for them to organize their time effectively, as well as be prepared for discussions.

Decide on a set time for your team meetings, whether it’s daily, weekly, or monthly. And set the time of day as well. The more consistent your scheduling, the more effective your meetings will be.

Make time for 1-on-1’s

When working remotely, it’s easy to start to feel that no one is paying attention to your work and accomplishments.

This can allow some workers to find ways to be less productive. But it also makes everyone feel more disconnected and alone, which hurts their mental wellness and your company culture.

Take time to check in with every colleague individually to maintain rapport and show them that you’re still invested in their individual development. Even if they have nothing to say, you’ll be reminding them that your digital door is always open!

Make time for team building activities

Even if you can’t go out and do something together, it’s important to keep up with your team-building activities.

Find something non-work-related that can help strengthen the interpersonal relationships of your team, and help everyone feel a bit more connected to each other.

This could be playing an online game together, having a meeting for a funny topic, or ordering everyone delivery so you can have a team lunch together from home — whatever helps grease the wheels of communication and interaction.

Flex your flexibility

One of the biggest attractions of remote work is the work-life flexibility it offers.

That said, while you should expect your employees to respect work boundaries and not get distracted all the time, you should also be allowing them some freedom when things at home interfere.

You’ll also find that certain people work better under different circumstances than others. One might want to maintain their 9-5 hours, while another might want to take care of their child during the day and do their work in the evening.

Pro Tip: Try a deadline-driven delivery schedule when possible. Allow your staff to manage their time as they see fit, provided they deliver their work by a certain time.

Trust your team

We understand. It can be really hard to not get anxious about what others are doing when they’re not within arm’s reach.

But do yourself, and your staff, a favour: trust them to do their jobs.

Micromanaging wastes everyone’s time, and it causes unnecessary stress for both you and them.

You need to strike the right balance between accountability and the trust you afford them. Instead of demanding constant updates and making them track themselves at every turn, ask yourself what progress really requires a report.

By minimizing how much you do to manage your staff, you’ll be pleasantly surprised how much more they can do on their own!