Best Practices for Managing Remote Teams

Many businesses continue to work remotely, at least partially. There’s a lot of noise out there around working from home, but how about managing a remote team? What’s changed in how you should lead? We spoke with Certified Executive Coach and HR Consultant, Alison Napier from Ripple Solutions to find out. Our interview is below.

Plus she’s put together a special tool kit and consulting package with a member discount for those of you who are eager to master remote management. Details below. 

 

Interview Questions:

 

1. Who are you and what do you do?

I am a Certified Executive Coach and HR Consultant who helps leaders define meaningful visions for their teams (and themselves), create tangible action plans, and achieve their most ambitious business goals.  I seek to understand the unique fabric of a business, define programs and solutions that are most relevant and impacting, and then work tenaciously to execute them.

 

2. What types of problems are managers currently experiencing managing remote teams?  

When managing remote teams, Managers are facing new challenges related to connection:

  • It is more challenging to know what your people are working on;  if they are facing challenges or struggling with work; or what impact COVID has had on their lives as a whole. It is not possible to simply ‘stop by their desk’ and grab a coffee to catch up.  
  • Some Managers are facing higher amounts of interruption as people are more likely to reach out over messenger and ask a ‘quick question’ then they would have been to come to your office. 
  • Managers face a new challenge of creating a sense of team and promoting collaboration, when they cannot get the team in the same room.  
  • Managers and employees face the challenge of always being ‘on’ now that there is no physical separation between their home and workspace, increasing the concern of burnout.  

In many cases the demands of the business have not changed, but the way of working has changed dramatically.  This can feel like more pressure as we all learn to adjust. 

 

3. What are some common misunderstandings when it comes to managing remote teams?

In a remote environment, not all connections have to be formal and planned for.  You can recreate the water cooler moments, (and they don’t all have to be a one hour Zoom call!).  

As a manager, you do not have to own every connection - you can draw on your team members who are natural ‘connectors’ to create this as well. This may even satisfy a need they have been missing since they began to work remotely.

 

4. Are there some people who simply can’t work remotely? 

There will be people who will prefer not to work remotely for a variety of reasons.  Perhaps it is due to not having an adequate work space at home, or the difficulty of focusing when children are in the space, or due to loneliness if they live alone.  As a leader, it is critical to understand your employee’s situation and understand if anything is getting in the way of their productivity.  You may not be able to solve every problem, but the key to be aware and remove barriers that you can.  

 

5. How do you go about helping managers?

I have created a toolkit of best practices designed to help a leader and organization thrive in the new remote management environment,  by providing practical and actionable tools for engaging, motivating and sustaining the performance of their people and teams.  This toolkit is coupled with either a personalized 1:1 consultation or an interactive management session.  Each team is unique, and the personalized consultation or management session ensures the leader can gain insights that are most relevant to their team, and take meaningful steps forward. 

 

6. If you could give 1 practical tip or advice to a business leader or tech professional managing a remote team for the first time, what would it be?

Now is the time to reach out to your team.  We are all hard wired for connection, and in these uncertain times people want to feel seen, heard and understood more than ever.  Take the time to do this for your team and they will repay you with commitment and continued hard work for you and your company.   

 

Interested in boosting your Remote Management skills, and supporting your team to thrive? 

There are two learning options available at a discounted rate for VIATEC Members:

 

Option 1: Manager Toolkit & Consultation. $500 (Member rate: $300)

  • Manager Toolkit includes best practices, templates/outlines for meetings, and resources for further discovery. 
  • 1:1 consultation for insights on topics specific to your team / organization.

Option 2: Manager Toolkit & Management Session. $800 (Member rate: $500)

  • Manager Toolkit includes best practices, templates/outlines for meetings, and resources for further discovery. 
  • 2 hour interactive session covering best practices for managing remote teams; the opportunity to raise questions/seek advice on topics unique to your team; the opportunity to frame a draft action plan for your business.
  • Clients will leave the session with a draft of a personalized action plan to take forward into their organization.

 

If you are interested in getting started, or learning more, send Alison an email: alison@ripplesolutions.ca

 

Alison’s Background:

As a Senior HR leader at a global Fortune 500 company, Alison has worked locally, nationally and internationally to provide innovative and effective HR support and solutions in a wide range of industries.  Alison has led remote teams, and supported leaders of remote teams located around the globe. 

 

To learn more about Alison, please find her on Linkedin.