As more and more businesses shift towards remote working, there’s never been a better time to invest in your tools and your teams. Above all, it’s important to inspire trust and clarity, whilst ensuring that people still feel like part of your team. So, here are our top tips for managing teams remotely, and some handy tools to help keep things running smoothly.
Focus on your culture
It’s no secret that the best teams have great cultures. In fact, your culture is one of your biggest assets for leading your team. The challenge that many of us now face, though, is how to maintain that culture away from the office environment. Now that you’re working remotely, you’ll need to focus on whatever it is that unites you as a team. Your ‘why’ is more important than ever. What’s that shared cause that unites your team, that drives you, and gets you up in the morning? How can you use that to keep everyone feeling motivated, connected and fulfilled?
If you need some inspiration on how to inspire others with your ‘why’, we recommend Simon Sinek’s book Start with Why. Sinek demonstrates the magic that happens when great leaders lead with trust, value and an unwavering focus on culture.
Below we’ve included some of our favourite tools and techniques for maintaining team culture remotely and leading amazing teams from home.
Use Slack to manage work and keep everyone in the loop
If you haven’t heard of Slack, think of it as your virtual office. Slack is a collaborative platform for organising teams and work. You can organise your projects with different Slack channels and integrate it with other apps to streamline your workflow.
At AM, we have multiple Slack channels we use to manage our workload internally. We also have a channel where our clients can chat with us and each other, ask us questions and answer each other’s questions. It’s like our own little community.
Slack also has a host of app integrations to simplify your tasks and connect members of your team. One we’re loving lately is Standups by Jell, a tool for posting your deliverables for the rest of the team. It’s great for seeing what your team are up to and what’s getting accomplished day-to-day. Plus, it holds people accountable after they outline what’s on their to-do list for the day.
Slack has loads of other useful features too, like polls and reminders. You can also upload files and iterate on them, make calls within Slack with audio, video and screen-sharing, and customise your notifications for each channel with keywords to limit distractions. And that’s just scratching the surface!
It’s also a great tool for maintaining company culture. Cue the gifs, dad jokes and virtual coffee catchups!
Use Zoom for meetings, calls and team catch-ups
Having regular video calls with your team is another great way of connecting. Usually have a weekly team meeting in the office? Move this to a weekly Zoom call! At AM, we now have daily Zoom calls at the start of the working day so the whole team can have a coffee and a chat together, something we would usually take for granted in an office environment. Zoom is an instrumental tool in the shift to remote working, enabling you to effortlessly connect with your team on the spot, and host webinars and virtual meetings with your clients.
Collaborate on important projects with Dropbox Paper
Dropbox Paper is a collaborative workspace, allowing you to seamlessly plan and coordinate projects. You can use Paper to create customisable documents for projects, plans and meetings and share them with specific team members, who can then collaborate on them. You can also @mention team members in docs to assign them tasks and grab their attention.
With Dropbox Paper, you can add to-do lists, timelines, calendars, tables, code and Dropbox files. Overall, it’s a really great tool for strategy, goal setting and collaborating with teams and departments. We love it for organising our marketing and content, but it’s equally great for any industry or project!
Take advantage of Paper’s template library to create documents for meeting notes, brainstorming and project planning with clear goals, success metrics and budgeting. The templates feature great prompts for whys and hows, encouraging you to think differently and more creatively about your projects.
Organisation is key!
Whatever tools you use, organisation and communication are key for managing teams successfully. Be clear with your team about what communication channels you’re using and why, to avoid any confusion. We find that over-communicating is better than under-communicating, so don’t be afraid to regularly check in and see where people are with things, and make sure to be super clear in your messages to avoid any misunderstandings.
Make time for non-work-related catchups
Whilst many freelancers and business owners will be used to WFH, it can be a big change for those used to the daily interactions of office life and client meetings. So, remind your team that you’re here to support them emotionally and make time for regular catchups and video calls about non-work-related things.
A great way of connecting with your team outside of work is having a games night over video call. At the time of writing, our clients and pals at Gooses Quizzes are hosting live quizzes on Twitch every night at 7pm for the foreseeable future. This is a great thing to do with your team on a Friday night with a few beers, and you’re sure to have a few laughs!
Even just checking in and having a virtual cup of tea together and a good old blether on Zoom can go a long way. This is a time to check in with each other, support each other and be open to everyone’s individual ways of working. In these trying times, it’s so important to look after each other and support one other in any way we can. Just because we’re remote, doesn’t mean we have to be alone!
Now is the time for culture, now is the time for leadership, and now is the time for community. And now more than ever, we need to stick together, even though we’re apart.
We hope these tips help you make a smooth transition into remote working.
This is an unusual time for us all, as we try to adjust to new ways of living and working. If you’d ever like to have a chat, we’re here to offer advice and support, or even just someone to talk to. Don’t be afraid to reach out to us, we’re just a message away!