• Winston Ng

6 Top Tips for Managing a Remote Team

With 2020 off to an unpredictable start, there's a high chance that you and your employees may need to transition into working from home. At H8tch, we are no stranger to this. Our team of over 50 talented software engineers deliver custom software development services while working primarily remote. It’s safe to say we know a thing or two about managing a team that works from home!

It's not always easy and comes with some unique challenges and barriers. Here are some tips and tricks for managing a remote team.

1) Have daily “standup” calls with your team to talk about what you’re doing and possible blockers

Good communication is a major obstacle with a remote team. While messaging and emails are important channels, there are some things that are better said through live conversation. Fostering trust amongst your team and understanding the issues that they are facing will only help enhance your dynamic and productivity moving forward.

2) Be responsive over your team’s pre-determined communication channels.

Whether it’s Google Chat, Slack or Emails, we can’t forget these written communication channels when working in a remote team. You have likely determined which channels you will be using for day to day operations. Be clear about which channels you prefer and stay on top of them so that your employees know the best way to reach you. While your team understands that you are busy, your responsiveness on these channels determines how comfortable they are in reaching out to you.

3) If you’re going to be away during work hours, let your team know so they won’t panic when trying to communicate with you

Working from home means that your team won’t always know where you are, or if you’re away from your office. Make sure you let your team know if you’re going to be away or need to step out. If you all of a sudden go dark, it may cause your team to panic, especially in an urgent situation. Letting them know ahead of time means that they will know when to expect you back, rather than doing anything drastic on their own.

4) Use a task tracking system such as Jira to know who’s working on what and the dependencies

Transparency is key when working together as a remote team. Rolling your chair over to the next desk to ask a coworker what they are doing is no longer an option. Having a tracking system like Jira or Asana allows you to keep tabs on what everyone on your team is working on and the bottlenecks that may be occurring.

5) Have a good separation of work & living space

When work and life come together, it’s easy to lose your balance between the two. Whether it be through choosing a time to unplug or making time for family and friends, incorporating breaks will ensure that you don’t get swallowed up by your work. While there is no physical distinction, like leaving the office for the day, make sure you proactively create those barriers for yourself.

6) Go out for a walk during breaks to breathe and interact with others. Human connections are still essential

As we’ve mentioned, it’s easy to get sucked into your work if it comes home with you. However, there are other things that you should prioritize in order to stay motivated and healthy. Make some time for a walk or to Facetime your friends and loved ones. It will not only help with your mental health during this time but it can protect you from burnout and negative attitudes. Maintaining a balance is key.

If this is your first time establishing a remote team or working remotely yourself, we understand the apprehension! There are a lot of positives that come with working from home as well. We urge you to prioritize open communication, accountability and work-life balance. We hope that these quick tips will help you manage your remote team moving forward.

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