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As remote work becomes more prevalent, many people struggle with how to manage projects from home. It’s a delicate balance between being accessible, responsive, and productive. But managing remote workers doesn’t have to be complicated. If you have team members working from home or other offsite locations, it is important to establish best practices. With that in mind, here are some tips for working remotely as a project manager:
The key to managing remote workers is communication. This means frequent communication, even if you only have one remote worker. Staying in touch with your team, sharing updates, and discussing progress is critical. This includes regular, consistent one-on-one meetings with your most important team members. That said, you can’t just send an email every day, or you’ll end up hurting the productivity of everyone on your team. There are several ways to improve your communication: – Establish open channels of communication: This could be an intranet forum, an in-house chat app, or a project management tool. Whatever method you choose, your team members should have a clear line of communication that is accessible at all times. – Use video calls for important one-on-one meetings: Video calling is a great way to ensure that everyone is putting their best foot forward. You can see tiredness and other signs that communication is lacking. Video calling also helps remove any misunderstandings that might arise from written or audio-only communication.
Have a Dedicated Collaboration Space
A common issue with remote work is that the work space tends to get cluttered. Remember, it’s difficult to assess a colleague’s work space when you’re working remotely. Dedicate a clear space to collaboration and stick with it. The tools and materials you use there should be consistent and accessible to everyone on your team at all times. It should be easy to find what you need and remove what you don’t. It should also make clear the priority of each task.
Set Regular Timed Meetings for Synchronization
Like communication, regular meetings help to synchronize your team. But regular meetings can be inefficient, especially when they’re held in person. Instead, use your tools to set up regular meetings, but with a twist. Use collaborative tools to set up “virtual’ meetings that help clarify project progress. Use them to assign work and give feedback; keep team members informed about their progress; assign tasks and deadlines. Don’t hold meetings just for the sake of holding meetings. Use them to get things done.
Send Detailed Weekly Updates
When you have a new team member, it is common to provide a high-level update every week. But when you work with remote team members, you may be tempted to switch to a lower-frequency update. Avoid this trap! Instead, provide detailed weekly updates to your remote colleagues. Send a brief summary of the week’s progress, along with any important information they should know. This should be a written update; don’t rely on audio or video calls alone. A written update ensures that everyone on your team has the same information. It also helps you organize your thoughts and make sure you don’t miss anything important.
Use the Right Tools for Communication and Synchronization
Communication and synchronization are two different things. You want to ensure that everyone on your team has access to all the information they need to do their jobs. But you also want to make sure everyone is working on the right tasks at the right time. To do this, you need tools that help you track your project status, assign tasks, and track time. For communication, consider using the following tools: – A project management tool such as Asana, JIRA, or Trello: This will help you manage tasks and assign work. It will also allow you to set up “rules” that encourage communication. For example, you may have a rule that requires team members to comment on a task when they complete it. – A team collaboration tool such as Slack or Zoom: This can be used for all forms of communication. You can also customize it to suit your needs. For synchronization, you can use a task management tool. But you can also use a project management tool that has built-in time management tools.
Ultimately, managing remote teams is like managing in general. You should encourage communication, set goals, and track progress. You should also be transparent about company goals and strategies, and set realistic deadlines. It’s important to set rules for your team that benefit everyone, including you. Remote workers can be extremely productive, but only if you have a clear plan in place.