The pandemic has made it possible, or even necessary, for many employees to work from home. Although some people have safely returned to their office, others are happy to keep working remotely.
For many project managers, it means they need the right skills and tools to manage a remote team. This type of work comes with various challenges, such as encouraging transparent communication at every stage of each project or building a company culture that makes employees feel like they belong.
Managing a remote team is not always easy, but these seven tips should make it easier. Here is how to manage projects remotely.
Plan each project in advance
If your goal is to be good at managing projects remotely, you need to get organized. Since your team will rely on you for guidance, you need to know where you’re going and how you will get there before the project starts.
Take time to figure out which tools you will use, which documents will be needed, and which tasks must be performed.
Plan everything as well as you can, and be ready to make some adjustments after the work starts.
Hire the right people for the job to be done
No matter your project, you know you need to get the right people on your team. Keep in mind that although there are employees who are happier and more productive when they work from home, others will always prefer working from the office.
It’s up to you to choose team members who thrive when working from home.
But one very interesting perk of managing projects remotely is that there is no limitation regarding who you pick to join your team. You can hire talented workers from anywhere worldwide since all the jobs will be done remotely.
Use a digital workplace platform to simplify everything
Your team will struggle to work and communicate efficiently without a digital workplace platform. If your employees have been working remotely, you might already have one.
A digital workplace platform makes it simple to define roles and assign tasks to different team members, communicate with them and keep them updated on everyone’s progress.
There will be no misunderstanding, and no task will be performed twice by two different workers. Everything will be crystal clear for everyone.
Use the right tools to track your team’s time
Your digital workplace platform might already feature some convenient time-tracking tools. Even though you trust your team, it’s helpful to keep track of their time to see who is working on which task and when.
Time tracking also helps you get a better idea of how much time it takes to perform each task of your project, which can, in the end, help you set out realistic deadlines and estimates. Plus, it can help you optimize tasks that take too much time.
Communicate efficiently with everyone
You can’t just assign roles and tasks and expect everyone to work until the project is completed. You need to be available to answer questions and provide guidance and encouragement.
Be sure to communicate regularly with your team and give them updates. Be transparent with them, and let them know they should be transparent with you.
When you manage projects remotely, you must be transparent with your clients and superiors. They will want to know how the project is going and if it will be done on time.
Be sure to set clear boundaries
One of the most difficult things for remote employees is to set clear boundaries between their professional and personal lives. Just because they work from home doesn’t mean they have to work all the time or should always be available for meetings.
Everyone on your team should set boundaries, and as their manager, you will need to be aware of these boundaries and respect them.
Of course, the opposite is also true: if you let your employees know they can’t contact you outside of work hours, don’t answer their messages if they contact you when you’re not working.
Stay close to your team even if you are working remotely
Finally, try to find ways to encourage fun conversations and interactions between your team members. They won’t be able to take a break and chat around the water cooler, but that doesn’t mean they can’t get to know each other with informal chats.
When your employees are having fun and feeling connected to one another, they will be more likely to enjoy working on their current projects.