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Working Remotely: A Guide to Remote Project Management

July 3, 2018
8 min read
remote project management
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The secret to increasing productivity and promoting happiness.

 

When the topic of remote work comes up, it’s quite common for people to be doubtful of how to work on the projects. The whole process involves connecting solopreneurs and project teams living in different countries or continents. With the technology evolving, where the information and resources have become accessible to everyone from every nook and cranny, face-to-face working is becoming less popular. Every individual is looking forward to endearing the culture of remote working. It becomes a tough gig to empower the team to thrive when, for instance, an Indian sitting in Banglore is working for an American company and so on.

What is a remote team

A remote team is a group of professionals from various time zones, diverse skills and different culture working together on a unified project. Each teammate working from a separate location, living in different cities, and working across time and space. Working remotely is one thing and managing a remote team is another challenge. Remote work is everywhere. There is a lot of difference when the teams are sitting right in front of the office and when they are working outside of an office. When you are leading a remote team, you would know the challenges that come along including project management, managing teams and keeping projects on time. These little too big things become hard enough at times.

There is surely a lot good about the remote working culture. Here is a research on remote work:

  • A survey from ConnectSolutions: 30% says they get more accomplished in less time.
  • 82% say they experience lower levels of stress.
  • According to Harvard Business Review: 87% feel more connected thanks to new video conferencing tools.

Challenges in Managing a Remote Team

As it is becoming increasingly common for letting employees work remotely, challenges related to remote working are common.

  • Lacking the right communication tool
  • Hiring the right resources
  • Missing accountability program
  • Respecting everyone’s time
  • No clear roles and tasks
  • Setting schedules
  • Difficult tracking employee performance
  • Lack of cohesion within the team
  • Making everyone feel part of the team

How to Run a Remote Team

Companies like Aha, NationBuilder, Automatic Buffer and many more are successfully working as 100% remote companies. Still, many companies are going through thick and thin to successfully run around as remote working companies. If you want to have some ideas about how teams have successfully set themselves remotely, we have got you some tips.

Best Practices for a Remote Team Project Management

1. Set boundaries with remote workers

Remote teams often need some kind of boundaries to outline their work and personal life. As the teammates are working from different time zones any notifications or chat message or emails can ruin someone’s sleep or disturb their family time. Discuss work schedules with each team member by respecting their time and show them that you care for their time. This will help in building positive relationships with employees making sure nothing is too hard for anyone.

2. Encourage and embrace diversity

It is of no surprise to come across cultural obstacles when managing remote teams. The problem with multicultural teams involves misunderstandings and conflicts that divide the teams apart. It becomes pretty hard to manage the people of different races, embracing cultural diversity to allow team building.  A simple way is to find how different people from different areas are open to receive feedback, promote a mindset of celebrating differences, be respectful about national holidays for your global team, and respect every cultural difference.

3. Set expectations early and clearly

Every business has expectations: whether working remotely or virtually. Being clear with employees will keep them focussed working towards the same goals.

You should set clear expectations for:

  • Work hours
  • Availability
  • Communication system
  • Timely meetings
  • Key projects and deadlines
  • Scheduled meetings
  • Respond to email

4. Brush up on your online communication skills

Many remote working teams come across a setback in communication when working on projects. It is always going to be difficult to connect with your teams in different areas without having good communication skills. And of course, online communication skills. As you start with the conversation, be quick and concise, so the teams do not get confused. Develop your writing skills, talk precisely, use the right tools to collaborate effectively as awesome communication is vital in the remote workplace.

5. Give them help when they need it

Being out of sight, you may have to struggle to address the needs of every employee. Though you may be out of sight, don’t ever let them be out of your mind. Unexpected problems related to project, or a teammate or how the work is being done are common in every business. If something is really bothering your employees or they’re feeling under the weather, understand the clues they might be giving you and give them a helping hand.

6. Invest in the right project management software

Your remote team working culture will flourish when you have everything under one roof. And this can be made possible when you rely on remote team management software to plan tasks, projects, and even people. Here’s what you can do on a project management software:

  • Communicate with your scattered team
  • Keep a track of project evolution
  • Track productivity
  • Maintain and manage timesheets
  • Share information in real time
  • Have discussions
  • Manage the tasks on a task list
  • Interact across different time zones

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Learn about everyone

It becomes much simpler to know a person who is sitting whole day beside you. You work together, spend hours together and you start knowing them in and out, their strengths and weakness and what personality they possess. But when working remotely you will have to try a little to know about your team. You will never know when you actually want to know. Make it a point to have a discussion that gives you a learning about their personality. Do not try to know unwanted things that may bug them. This will grow a positive culture with your remote team.

As the market is going global, so your team should. And when you have to manage your remote team, make sure you know their pulses. Having the right tips and trick we have included, you should be ready to create an energetic business with your remote workers. You can do wonders for your business by remote working if you are ready to put those little extra efforts and drive your team towards success.

If your remote team is already working at peak, what are your amazing tricks and tips?

Good luck for your remote working culture!