Newsletter – November 14, 2018

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Four tips for managing a remote team

Hi friends!

We get a ton of questions about how to manage remote workers. Our stock response is “do everything that you’d do as a manager..and do it really well” – we do realize that’s like saying “treat your long-distance boo just like they live around the block.” Not being in the same location as your staff member requires an extra level of thoughtfulness on the part of both staff member and manager. With that in mind, here are a few easy-to-do tips to make the remote management relationship thrive:

  1. Use video: The best phone in the world can’t pick up on body language and facial expressions, and for some conversations, those elements make a huge difference. Today, most video conferencing apps are available on your smartphone. If you’re not already doing it, try to use videos for just 50% of your check-ins and team meetings. Trust us, your hair looks great.
  2. Write a once-a-week “watercooler” email: Okay, resist the urge to communicate decisions or share information by telling people you encounter in the office kitchen. Instead, send out a weekly (or biweekly) update email to everyone on the team highlighting items that a remote worker might have missed out on.
  3. Use voice memos: Voice memos are the flared jeans of workplace communication. They had their heyday not too long ago, and now they’re making a comeback. Skeptical? Consider this: voice memos take less time than emails, aren’t impacted by timezone differences, and allow you to communicate more authentically. Next time you have a quick idea or message to send, try sending a voice memo on your morning coffee run.
  4. Pick up the phone: Everyone’s heard of the 2-minute rule for email responses and the 2-pizza rule for team meetings. The rule that’s particularly helpful with remote staff is the ‘3-emails rule’: if three back- and-forth emails hasn’t resolved an issue, it’s time to pick up the phone and talk it through (but if it’ll take longer than 15 minutes, refer to tip #1 and use video!).

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