By Raymond Chiu
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses were forced to adapt to a remote work environment. This can be challenging for many employees, regardless of the industry they are in.
As a project manager, your task is to make it easy for your team to cope with the changes. That’s because it is likely that some of them are not used to a work-from-home environment.
That said, here are eight tips on how you can be a better remote project manager:
Have a Dedicated Workspace
The kind of home office that you would like to set up would depend on your work’s nature. Regardless, you must have a dedicated desk, a space that is free of distraction, and a stable internet connection.
You can also keep the following tips in mind when choosing a dedicated workspace:
- Determine the space that is conducive for most productivity.
- Figure out whether you prefer entertainment or a quiet space
- Consider how you usually divide your day
Remember: You need a home office that can encourage you to be productive while working remotely.
Set and Manage Expectations
To manage your remote team effectively, it would be best to set clear and SMART goals. That way, you can manage expectations.
What you can do is develop a plan that will enable your team to get things done. This includes tasks that every member should complete within a given time.
And because you’re working with a remote team, it makes sense to leverage project management tools.
We suggest that you look for a tool that allows you to do the following:
- Assign tasks with due dates to a specific team member
- Shared documents and other relevant collaterals
- Handle internal communication
Doing so ensures that you can do all the necessary tasks in one place. No need to switch from one platform to another, reducing the confusion.
Streamline Your Process
While there are various project management methods that you can try, we suggest finding one that suits your team. Better yet, review your existing process and find ways to streamline it.
Here are some essential areas that you might want to focus on:
- How you can process and track leads.
- How can you set up and schedule team meetings without hassle?
- How you can find a replacement for “in-house” feedback.
- How you can record and declare task fulfillment.
Another thing to consider is risk management. That said, develop a process that enables you to anticipate and be proactive in handling and averting a crisis.
Provide the Right Tools
The secret to having a productive remote team is having the right tools. Doing so allows your team to do their tasks with ease.
If you manage a team of digital marketing professionals, make sure they have the right analytics tools. And we are not just talking about access to Google Analytics and Search Console.
Your SEOs will also need tools that will allow them to monitor your search engine ranking and backlink profile.
Regardless, your tools should be able to provide the following:
- Tracking project milestones and deadlines
- Assign tasks to different members of your team
- Automate your business processes
- Simplify your communication channels on various team and departments
- Provide every employee access to necessary information that can help them accomplish their tasks.
Engage and Build Trust
As a project manager, it is imperative to pay attention to your team’s needs. That’s because meeting their needs is the same as enabling them to do their jobs well.
Moreover, it shows that you trust their judgment. And when your team feels that you trust them, they will be motivated to do their work.
But does that mean you have to give in to their every whim? You do not have to.
It is a matter of balancing meeting your team’s needs and knowing what the business can provide. For instance, they will ask for a tool that appears out of budget. There are two things that you should do:
- Explain why you cannot provide the tools they need
- Offer an alternative
The alternative can be something that your team members recommend.
As previously mentioned, a project management tool allows everyone to know what they are working on. Another benefit is that you can track their progress.
That way, you will know if you are getting closer to your goals. A project management tool also allows you to mitigate any risks before it happens.
Provide Regular Feedback
Aside from monitoring your team and whether they are accomplishing their tasks, it is also integral to provide feedback.
That does not mean that you should be harsh all the time.
Give your team a pat on the back for a job well done. And call them out for any mistake they made.
If you see that one team member is progressing slower than usual, ask what could be the matter. And then offer ways to help.
The key here is to explain satisfactorily why your team must accomplish their tasks.
It can be challenging to motivate your remote team. One reason is that there is a lack of human connection in this kind of work set up.
Employees who work remotely are prone to dissociation at work. That’s because they do not have colleagues to chat with.
As a project manager, your role is to motivate your team to do excellent. And we are not just talking about giving them a pep talk.
It is also imperative to give your team a sense of normalcy, especially if they are new to this kind of set up.
Managing a remote team can be challenging. However, applying the tips listed above can help you ensure that your team is loving their work. Because if they do, it will be easier to reach your business goals. Good luck!