Did you know that nearly half of all employees say they want to stay remote going forward? Are you worried about productivity while managing a remote team?

If so, then you’re in the right place. Keep reading to learn how to manage a remote team effectively and what tools you need to face your biggest challenges.

How Do You Manage a Team Remotely?

Managing a remote team can come with many challenges. Many team leaders and executives struggle with how they should manage their employees’ work hours. Should they monitor productivity closely or let each team member set their own expectations? When everyone is on the same page, you’ll find much more success and increased productivity.

You can do this by setting clear expectations and establishing a strong culture with shared values. Creating structure can be difficult when everyone is spread around the globe, but it doesn’t have to be.  Many companies find that choosing a remote environment provides their team members with the work/life balance they’ve always wanted, as our president Albert Steed did.

Challenges of Managing a Remote Team (And Their Solutions)

Too many people keep using outdated technology because they’re afraid of change. But once you make the change to updated tools, you’ll find productivity increase just as we did with our team.

Certain tools are necessary to solve the unique challenges that come with remote work. Let’s dive into the top three we see every day with our clients.

Lack of Collaboration and Communication

The biggest hurdle many remote teams face is the lack of real-time communication and the ability to collaborate on projects. However, the right tools can solve this challenge and provide everything you need to stay on track with even your largest projects.

Even the most independent employees need to have regular check-ins with management and the rest of their teams. Many workers find that consistent connections help the loneliness that can come from working remotely.

You don’t need to schedule long meetings similar to ones you used to schedule when everyone was in the office. In fact, short virtual huddles have shown to be a great opportunity to check in with your team. Ask if anyone has any concerns or questions, and share any new information or changes with everyone.

For more connection and collaboration, an online communication tool, such as Microsoft Teams, is a great option for many remote teams. You can share with everyone on a certain channel or send personal messages to specific team members. This form of asynchronous communication allows for real-time messaging without cluttering up everyone’s email inboxes.

Managing Several Time Zones

Our society is becoming more global every year. And likely, your remote team is facing the challenge of living in different time zones. This can become cumbersome when planning meetings and working collaboratively. The right tools can allow your team to successfully navigate remote work.

Using online calendars allows your team to set their work schedule. It also allows you to see when everyone is available for future meetings or project kickoffs.

A tool such as an online calendar gives your team the autonomy to set their schedule. And it also serves to communicate their schedule to everyone else.

As a manager, it can be difficult to manage a global team. But, it’s vital that you make the effort to schedule meetings and other important group work times when everyone can be involved.

Nobody wants to feel left out or like they’re missing out on vital information. This is why having the right tools such as digital calendars can help you and your team to stay connected despite being remote.

Tracking Productivity

Unfortunately, managing a team remotely can lead to decreased productivity and increased distractions. Employees don’t want to feel like they’re being tracked or watched. However, you still need to know that projects and deliverables are on target with your established timeline.

Going back to setting our foundation in clear expectations, you need to have a tool that everyone can access when tracking large projects. Previously, in the past when everyone could meet in a conference room, having a whiteboard or physical Kanban board was the tool of choice. However, in today’s remote environment, choose a digital tool instead such as Microsoft Projects.

Digital project management tools allow everyone to see what their colleagues are working on. And they can quickly see when they can expect the deliverable to be ready.

Additionally, certain team members’ tasks are dependent on a colleague finishing their task first. You can effectively eliminate any emails asking for progress reports. Everyone can quickly see at a glance where the project is and what milestones have been completed.

The key to managing a remote team effectively lies in providing them with the tools they need to get their job done. With these Microsoft tools listed, you provide a standard they’re familiar with as well as the secure connection they need as remote workers.

Now You Can Start Supporting Remote Workers Today

Managing a remote team doesn’t have to be a hassle. And you don’t have to worry any longer about missed deadlines or decreased productivity. However, even the best tools won’t solve your problems if your team isn’t clear on their expectations or how to best use these tools.

To avoid future uncertainty and lost productivity, you can bring in an expert. We can show your employees how they can maximize their efficiency while working remotely. To learn more, you can schedule a free 15-minute call to see how you can turbocharge your productivity today.