Most companies today are embracing remote work to some degree. And, with the rise of technology and increased global awareness, there’s no sign that remote working is going away anytime soon.
When the pandemic began in March 2020, the work environment changed drastically, and it has stayed that way. The perception of remote work has also altered as a result of these changes, with both employers and staff now recognizing its advantages.
A Mercer survey in May 2021 revealed that 70% of organizations intended to employ the hybrid model. Many businesses have already made the transition, including well-known firms such as Adobe, Salesforce, Spotify, and Twitter. And Microsoft’s Work Trend Index (published in March 2021) discovered that 66% of employers across the world were transforming their workplaces to accommodate remote work.
Managing remotely is a new skill that demands communication, mediation, digital tools, and excellent planning and visualization. A remote team functions differently from one that works in an office because it is established from the bottom up rather than by assuming other people would be available. It would include individuals who actively sought and accepted a job working from home.
Not all people enjoy working from home. According to recent research conducted by the National Research Group, 51% of Gen Z find working from home to be distracting, and 41% do not feel they have adequate tools.
If you’re unfamiliar with handling a remote project, you’ll need to develop some abilities. To that end, I spoke with project managers that have been managing remote projects for years. They gave me their best tips for how to manage remote projects successfully.
Best Remote Project Management Practices
There’s no one size fits all solution for remote project management, but there are some key practices you can implement to set your team up for success:
1 Practice Good Video Meeting Etiquette
If you’re going to be working with a remote team, chances are you’ll be using video conferencing tools like Zoom or Google Hangouts for meetings. While there’s nothing wrong with meeting face-to-face, there are a few etiquette rules you should follow when having video meetings.
First, make sure your environment is conducive to productive conversation. If you’re in a public place or somewhere with a lot of background noise, it can be tough for people on the other end to hear you clearly. Second, mute your microphone when you’re not speaking—this will help reduce any unwanted background noise. And finally, pay attention! Just like in an in-person meeting, it’s important to stay engaged and avoid getting distracted by things like email or social media.
2 Communicate Intentionally and Often
One of the most important things you can do as a remote project manager is to communicate intentionally and often. That means being clear about your expectations, sending regular updates, and creating opportunities for two-way feedback.
One way to stay in touch is to set up regular team check-ins, whether that’s weekly or daily. During these check-ins, each team member should share what they’ve been working on, any challenges they’re facing, and anything else that might be relevant to the project. These check-ins are also a great opportunity for you to provide feedback or answer any questions people might have.
Another way to keep everyone in the loop is to use a project management tool like Asana or Trello. These tools can help you assign tasks, track progress, and store all your project-related information in one place.
Of course, no matter how well you communicate or how organized you are, there will always be challenges when managing a remote team. The key is to stay flexible and adaptable and to remember that the best solutions are often the ones that involve everyone on the team.
3 Lead With Empathy
One of the most important things you can do as a remote project manager is to lead with empathy.
This means being understanding and supportive of your team members, even when things go wrong. It also means being open to feedback and willing to make changes when necessary.
The best way to show empathy is to put yourself in your team member’s shoes. Try to understand their perspective and where they’re coming from. This will help you build trust and respect, which are essential for any successful team.
4 Write Clear and Concise Instructions
When you’re managing a remote team, it’s important to write clear and concise instructions. This will help your team members understand what they need to do and how they can do it.
It’s also important to be available for questions and clarifications. Don’t assume that your team members know everything just because you told them what to do. Be available to answer their questions and help them along the way.
5 Stay Organized
Organization is key to any successful project. When you’re managing a remote team, it’s important to have a system in place to keep track of deadlines, tasks, and progress.
There are a few different ways you can do this. You can use project management software like Asana or Trello, or you can simply create a Google Doc with all the relevant information.
Whatever system you choose, make sure it’s one that your team members are comfortable using and that will help them stay organized.
6 Leverage Agile Project Management Practice
If you’re not familiar with agile project management, it’s a methodology that focuses on delivering small pieces of work quickly and iteratively.
This is especially helpful for remote teams, as it allows for more flexibility and frequent check-ins.
There are a few different agile practices you can use, but some of the most popular ones are scrum and Kanban.
If you’re not sure which one to use, ask your team members what they prefer or what they think would work best for the project.
7 Set Meeting Schedule and Expectations
One of the most important things you can do as a remote project manager is to set a meeting schedule and expectations.
This will help everyone stay on the same page and ensure that tasks are getting done.
You should also make sure to schedule regular check-ins with your team so you can see how they’re doing and provide feedback.
8 Productivity Mindset
When you’re managing a remote project, it’s important to have a productivity mindset.
This means setting realistic goals and deadlines and being okay with not getting everything done in one day.
It also means taking breaks when you need to and not working too late into the night.
By having a productivity mindset, you’ll be able to manage your time more effectively and get more done overall.
9 Build Strong Team Culture
When you’re managing a remote team, it’s important to create a culture of trust and respect.
This means being open and honest with your team members, giving them the freedom to work how they want, and valuing their input.
It also means being flexible and accommodating to different time zones and schedules.
By creating a positive team culture, you’ll be able to build a strong team that can handle anything.
10 Don’t Lead With Anxiety
One of the most important things to remember when managing remote projects is not to lead with anxiety.
This means that you shouldn’t micromanage your team or try to control everything.
Instead, trust your team members to do their jobs and give them the space to work how they want.
By leading with anxiety, you’ll only end up frustrating yourself and your team.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Remote Project Management
Advantages of remote project management:
- No need to commute
- Less distraction
- Increased flexibility and freedom
- Potentially meet a more diverse range of people
Disadvantages of remote project management:
- Time zone differences can make communication difficult
- You might feel isolated from the team
- It can be harder to build trust with team members
How to Begin Managing a Remote Project
If you’re just getting started with remote work, or if you’re thinking about making the switch, here are a few things to keep in mind.
If you’re not used to working remotely, it can be tough to adjust. Ease into it by starting with one or two days a week, or by working remotely for part of the day. That way, you can get a feel for what works and what doesn’t without completely upending your routine.
Create (and stick to) a schedule
Working from home can be great, but it’s important to set boundaries. Decide what hours you’re going to work, and make sure you stick to them. That way, you’ll be able to enjoy your free time guilt-free.
Invest in the right tools
There are tons of great tools out there that can help with remote work. Slack is great for communication, Zoom is perfect for video conferencing, and Google Drive will keep all your files in one place. Do some research and find the tools that work best for you and your team.
Build a strong team
A remote team is only as strong as its members. Make sure you take the time to get to know your team and build trust between everyone. That way, you’ll be able to work together more effectively, no matter where you are.
By following these tips, you can set yourself up for success with remote work. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your remote project today!