10 Things Learned Managing a Remote Team for Ten Years

When the pandemic became reality in March 2020 and stay-at-home mandates started being issued, standard workplace settings and practices came to a screeching halt. Nearly everyone that could transition to remote work did in a span of a week. While remote work was a new concept to many, vChief has been operating remotely since its inception, and I’ve worked remotely for the past ten years. I’d love to share some of my top tips for managing a remote team:

  1. Hiring the right people is critical. Although a larger percentage of candidates will have some amount of remote experience nowadays, it shouldn’t be a deal-breaker. In addition to the right knowledge and skills for the specific role, what you should be looking for in your candidates is a strong professional maturity and the ability to move projects along autonomously. Ask questions during the interview that help you determine how self-motivated and resourceful each candidate is. You want to hire people you feel confident in to get the job done.
  2. Trust your people. You hired them because they were a strong candidate and will get the job done (remember #1?). That means you should not be micromanaging or monitoring how they spend their time just because they aren’t in the same physical office space as you. If you do find yourself slipping into this mode, take a step back and reflect on why. Are you having a hard time letting go of controlling the way things are done? Are you communicating effectively (we’ll dive in more in #3)? Or are they truly not as resourceful as they claimed to be during the interview process. If there are trust issues, it is best to nip them in the bud as early as possible.
  3. Communication is key. Figure out how your team members like to communicate and work with that information. Do they appreciate a quick text when you need something? Do they need calls to strategize on big questions? Do they prefer email so they have text to refer back to for details? Let them know how you prefer to be communicated with as well.
  4. Technology tools and apps are your friends. Google Docs allows collaboration, Slack lets you communicate quickly and instantly, Zoom facilitates visual cues that can be so integral to communication, and Asana and Trello allow you to move projects forward as a team. Even though right now we are all experiencing a bit of virtual fatigue (I’m looking at you, Zoom), these tools are critical to the success of remote teams.
  5. Rituals are helpful for yourself and your team. Rituals can include mapping out your plan for the week on Monday mornings, setting your intentions, and looking at your ‘big rocks’ for the week. Also, wrapping up the end of the week by reviewing your accomplishments, looking at your critical next steps on the projects you’re working on, and building in new to-dos can help you clear your head for the weekend.

Want to learn more? Read the complete article at www.virtualchiefofstaff.com.

Madeleine Niebauer is the Founder & CEO of vChief Virtual Chief of Staff service, which offers part-time and interim chief of staff support to start-ups, nonprofit organizations, and businesses of all sizes.

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