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7 Tips for The Head of a Remote Team

Hold your first offline meetings

The task of the first meeting is to introduce the team and present the project. The manager talks about the project and describes the role of each employee in it. This helps him to see the team “live” and draw conclusions about who perceives information how. The first meeting is not only the beginning of the project, but also the beginning of the team: people get to know each other and notice what style of communication colleagues choose.

Clearly capture communication channels, their functions and speed of response

Agree at the first meeting what communication channels you will use and in what situations. Once we made a memo and now we use it in working with remote commands as a template. Each team adapts this table for itself before starting the project.

Communication Tool in what situation How quickly do we react Do we agree on communication in advance

Email Official correspondence, correspondence with the client 24 hours. If you need a faster answer, we indicate it in the letter No
Telephone Emergency Communication В— During working hours – no, the rest of the time we agree on a call by SMS
Messenger Operational issues 10 minutes No
Video Conferencing Service Operational issues В— Yes, in messenger

But in the process of work, changes are possible: for example, when during the project the team needs to reduce the response time to a message in the messenger from 10 to 5 minutes.

Record agreements in writing

This helps not to miss anything important and quickly navigate the workflow. When solutions, plans, and current tasks are written down, you can always go back to them. Make a protocol after each team discussion. Not to bureaucratize the process, but to turn to it in disputable situations or when something has been forgotten. It does not matter in what form you will lead him, the main thing is that he answers the following questions:

  1. when the discussion took place;
  2. who participated;
  3. what issues were discussed;
  4. what decisions they made;
  5. what tasks and to whom they were set;
  6. what questions remained open.

Each communication channel has its own function

For example, an employee during a Skype call asked a question in the chat – received an answer. Correspondence began. Say “stop” in time, if you agreed that you are exchanging significant information only in the messenger. Otherwise, data may be lost in chats and windows. They are easier to find if you know exactly where to look.

Each employee has their own access hours

A sign will also help here. Team members need to know when each employee is working and when they can be contacted. This helps you plan general meetings, discussions, and understand when a colleague can be approached for a work task.

Two rooms in the messenger is better than one

Obviously, there should be a common room for the whole team. There is a main discussion, operational working issues are resolved. A general chat is a platform where anyone can ask a question and write a response. But the leader should have his own platform where he will voice decisions and announcements. And for this it is more convenient to have a separate chat. For example, in a “one-way” chat, the manager writes: “On Saturday we meet at the office at 11.00.” A separate chat will guarantee that employees will not miss the announcement of the manager among the gigabytes of near-work discussions.

Use task management tools

Task management programs help any team member quickly navigate what tasks and when he will receive, which ones slow down the work and who is responsible for them. Such programs help the manager to monitor the status of work. After each team discussion, transfer to the program all the tasks from the minutes following the meeting, appointing those responsible and deadlines.

Even before the start of the project, test several such programs to choose the most convenient for your team – Jira, Basecamp, Wrike, Asana, Trello and others. For example, I like Notion – it’s not just a task tracker, it’s built on the principle of a wiki system: it is a knowledge base. That is, not just fixes tasks, but stores all the content on products in one place. The most famous program from the category of wiki systems and one of the most expensive is Confluence from the creators of Jira.

The task of the head of the remote team is to ensure that all agreements on channels and means of communication are observed. But if in the process of work it turns out that some rule does not work or works badly, do not be afraid to change it. The main thing is to coordinate the change with all colleagues. And, of course, to fix.

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