Tips for project managers with remote workers

Read on for remote working tips

More and more companies are learning that remote workers can actually be a more effective investment than in-office workers. Allowing employees to work from home—either on a rotating basis or full-time—minimizes the number of employees in your office, which can reduce overhead costs, cut down on office distractions, and allow your employees to be more productive when illness or personal emergencies prevent them from coming into the office.

But if all or part of your team is working remotely at any given time, how can you collaborate on a project and ensure that things get done on time? How do you prevent items from falling through the cracks?

Here are 4 tips for effectively managing your remote team to ensure that you still work like a well-oiled machine:

Cloud-based document management

Remote workers and physical documents simply don’t mesh. If you’re going to manage a project with remote workers, all of your documents need to be digitized and kept in some kind of cloud-based document management system. This allows your workers to share files remotely and keeps all relevant documents in an accessible place, regardless of where your workers are located.

Regular team calls

On-site workers have the advantage of being able to come together and discuss projects face-to-face on a regular basis. This allows them to overcome obstacles, communicate ideas and issues, and ensure that everybody is on the same page. Your remote team doesn’t have to sacrifice these benefits though. Simply schedule regular team calls, either in a basic conference call or over video chat. There are a lot of different free conference calling programs out there that you can use to do this, so find something that works for your team.

You should probably have a brief team call once a week, just to catch up and ensure everybody is on track. Other than that, just make sure to schedule meetings any time there’s a hang-up or big change in the current project.

Share your goals

Clear goals are vital to a remote team. They allow everyone to know what you’re working towards, and can give everyone a morale boost when that goal is reached. So make sure that your goals are clearly written in some way and shared with all of your team members.

But don’t stop there. Ensure that your team members have their own goals as well, and let those be shared with the rest of the team. This keeps everyone accountable for meeting their goals, allows them to report on progress towards those goals, and gives your team a chance to celebrate each other’s successes.

Have a means for accepting feedback

Taking feedback is important in any team, but it is even more vital for teams that don’t share a physical space, because your workers don’t have the opportunity to step into your office and share their ideas or concerns with you. This means that you need some sort of system that your team members can use to communicate these things with you remotely.

You could just invite them to call or email when they have something they want to discuss, but such things can easily get shuffled to the bottom of your pile and forgotten. So set up some sort of organized system for accepting feedback with idea management software. Programs like these are rather robust, and provide an easy platform for team members to submit ideas and concerns. Think of it as your digital suggestions box.

Don’t let the physical distances between your team members become obstacles to communication and productivity. With careful project management and the right tools, you can keep your remote team running just as effectively as any in-house team.

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