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Maximising productivity in the new normal: 7 tips for effective remote management

More and more companies have shifted to remote management in the past few months. Organisations are adopting new management practices to adapt to the changes and hurdles brought about by the pandemic.

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With work-from-home arrangements in place and proving to be effective, managers and their workforce are driven to focus more on productivity and reaching milestones, ultimately leading to more successful projects.

Managers are now challenged with working with a virtual workforce from home, which can be both a blessing and a burden. There’s a lot to take into consideration with remote management, especially in this setup.

Here are some tips on how you can manage your remote teams effectively:

  1. Keep connected
  2. Always keep communications clear and transparent
  3. Use video as much as you can
  4. Engage in small talk
  5. Maximise use of technology
  6. Go paperless and digitise
  7. Focus on productivity vs. activity
  8. Reinforce your organisation’s values

1) Keep connected

Remote management ultimately needs some sort of connectedness, and technology has been of great help. With various messaging and video conferencing platforms available, it is easier to keep connected to your team whether in the office or countries away. 

With this, it’s important to have a dedicated messaging platform for work that’s widely available and easily accessible to your team. Keeping your internal communications on one platform makes it easy for you to keep track of your team updates and project developments.  

Maybe one of your team members is travelling and can’t get hold of a stable internet connection, so it may be hard to reach them via your usual messaging platform. Remember to make available other ways of communication like email, SMS, and telephoning for instances where these other channels are more viable to use.

2) Always keep communications clear and transparent

Keeping communications clear and transparent minimises mistakes and enables quick action when they do happen. 

A great example here would be in construction. Clear communication is vital not only in activities on site to minimise risk and accidents that can sometimes get costly, but also in dealing with administrative tasks.

Making sure that information in the field is aligned with that in different departments like client invoicing or accounting reduces the risk of project delays due to unbilled payments.

3) Use video as much as you can

Whatever kind of team you’re managing, it’s important that you get to meet face to face. Being able to see the ones you’re talking to improves your connectedness, especially in remote work settings, which don’t allow you to physically interact with your team.

Make sure that you allow even just a couple of minutes of face time during your team meetings before turning off video.

4) Engage in small talk

Build rapport with your team members by conversing with them about their day. Ask them about their family members, their pets, or even that holiday they told you about.

It’s the small things that make your team feel that they are listened to. This is something you’d normally do when you're in the office, so why not do it even while working virtually?

5) Maximise use of technology

Use project and resource management apps. There’s a lot of project management apps and software available across industries and what you should do is take time to find what best fits your and your team’s needs.

Many of these have integrations with other apps you may be currently using that can make remote management easier. With in-app features for messaging and video, file storage, and some with payroll and time-tracking, all your and your team’s tasks can easily be managed.

Whatever remote management program and workflow you decide is best for your team, make sure to provide proper training for these processes and use of these digital tools. 

6) Go paperless and digitise

Digitise your paperwork and maximise the cloud for ease of use and access. Having this makes it easier for you and your team to deal with paperwork, minimise errors that come with manual data capturing, and easily address issues like illegible handwriting. By using digital versions, you’re not only streamlining data collection for easier monitoring and filing, you’re also making it easier for your team to do this on the fly so they can focus on their main tasks. 

With cloud storage, your data is easily accessible to those who need it, when they need it. Files and documents are easier to share and check. From preliminary notices to change orders, having these documents accessible from any device is critical to productivity and collaboration. Most of your digital tools come with cloud storage, so it’s best to maximise it. And if you think about it, you’re also helping to save the environment while having an efficient workflow.

7) Reinforce your organisation's values

Don’t forget why your team is your team. It may be the values that your organisation has, your style of leadership, or the culture your company has. Make sure that these are strengthened even while managing your team remotely.

Also remember to give feedback to your workforce whether positive or negative. It helps in creating a transparent and connected remote work environment where everyone can feel that they are rewarded for a job well done and guided when there are shortcomings. 

Conclusion

Remote management comes with its own challenges and there are a lot of ways to go about it. Remembering to focus on your team and help them maximise productivity is the ultimate key to your projects’ success. Keeping in mind these tips will surely help you overcome these challenges. Make sure to test what’s best for your team and for your organisation to ensure productivity and project profitability. 

About the Author: 

Patrick Hogan is the CEO of Handle.com, where they build software that helps contractors, subcontractors, and material suppliers with late payments. Handle.com also provides funding for construction businesses in the form of invoice factoring, material supply trade credit, and mechanics lien purchasing.

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