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Managing Distributed Teams

Now that the darkest days of the pandemic are behind us, business owners may finally feel like they can breathe again. That’s not to say that the pandemic didn’t create lasting changes to how we conduct and manage business. One of the biggest changes was the rise in distributed teams: employees working remotely in different physical locations versus a common workplace. Distributed workforces rely upon virtual communication and collaboration to replace in-person interactions.

The upside to a distributed workforce includes greater flexibility and work-life integration. The downside is that some remote employees can feel isolated from their colleagues and estranged from the company and its culture. So, how do you keep your distributed employees engaged and productive? Below please find three tips to help:

1. Foster social interactions – One possible drawback to working remotely is the loneliness remote employees can experience. Hosting social hours, video chats, and virtual team-building activities can help engage your remote employees and help them maintain strong connections with their colleagues. Planning in-person company functions and outings can also help strengthen those connections.

2. Keep every member of your team in the know – It’s important to keep your remote employees updated on the company’s short and long term initiatives and goals. Since some information traditionally is shared over water coolers or across desks, remote employees can be left out of casual conversation and miss the nuances casually among the team. Using an employee-friendly tracking system (Project Manager software) to share both formal and information updates can help keep remote employees abreast of all updated information. Additionally, managers must provide clear, defined expectations and metrics of success in order to engage employees and eliminate any ambiguity or confusion.

3. Implement software to boost efficiencies – In order to help your distributed team meet expectations and ensure that things are running efficiently, you’ll need to find the rights tools and software. For instance, while you may not see employees working, you can monitor their by using a productivity management tool. Also when working as part of a distributed workforce, being able to communicate in real time with teammates hundreds or even thousands of miles away is crucial. Luckily, with the help of instant messaging tools and video conferencing, collaborating with your distributed team is easier than ever. Video conferencing platforms allow teams to hold meetings in real-time, record them, and play them again for later reference. Additionally, tools like Slack help facilitate and track real time communication.

Distributed workforces are here to stay. While managing distributed teams is certainly much different than managing a traditional team, there are a variety of ways to keep your distributed employees productive and engaged. Take advantage of best practices such as those offered above here to engage and empower your team—no matter where they’re working from!

Reach out to us for training materials to effectively manage your distributed team members!


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