6 tips to manage a remote team

Asking yourselves how to organize your team through teleworking? We share our multi-year experience and best practices in working remotely

You are perhaps asking yourself how to organize your team in a new context: teleworking. For some of you, this is is an abrupt operational change. As Kantify is a remote-first company, we selected a few simple tips to help you succeed in remote working. These can be implemented in a short time frame and can help you set the right basis to succeed as a team.

Have the right systems in place

Operating well means communicating properly. As you don't have the possibility to just 'go and see' your colleagues, you should put into place the necessary mechanisms to communicate easily. This can be done with a chat system (think Slack) or a video conference system (think Zoom or Google Hangout). This is fast to set-up and will enable you to make team communication or bilateral communication easier. Video is not as important as the sound (obviously) but it always helps to see your interlocutor.

Be transparent

If people don't see each other everyday, it will be hard to know what each colleague is doing (which meeting, which calls, which deadlines). A simple transparency measure is to ensure that everyone shares their online calendar public with their colleagues. If there are times of the day during which someone won't be available, you can simply indicate it in your calendar.

Set your operational framework

As a remote team, you want to have a framework that enables everyone to know what she/he has to do. Here are some of the ways we keep ourselves organized and focused: * a weekly team meeting to communicate the objectives of everyone and discuss important topics * a daily written stand-up where each team member lists what they have done and explain our objectives for the day. We use it to share possible difficulties. * a bilateral meeting with a manager, 30mn each Friday to review the work done, and set the objectives for the following week.

Focus on objectives, not on time

In an office, there are often expectations about when people have to arrive or leave. There can be social pressure to measure time present, rather than outcomes. While some jobs require you to be present at certain times of the day (for example client-facing jobs), many jobs don't have this requirement. Nevertheless, in a remote working context, you want people to be there at certain times so you can hold meetings, follow-up projects, and communicate easily. Communicating the required presence, but focusing on defining the objectives will ensure that your team is efficient and gets their work done.

Not everything is about work

As a remote team, you don't want to speak only about work: Chatting with colleagues during the day can be a nice break, and it gives the opportunity to relax together. One thing we enjoy is the "after lunch", a moment where we have a video chat to speak about anything we want. This is done to recreate this moment of coffee or sandwich gathering. It can look strange when you have never tried, but just give it a try. Beware to ensure that your group is small enough so interaction can happen.

Communicate well

When you communicate in a chat or by email, you lose context, tone, and gesture. This increases the chances to misunderstand each other. You should make sure that everyone is aware that communicating online requires an extra level of carefulness. Emojis are very useful team companions to convey emotions. Let's take an example: "No I don't think you should do that ;-)" vs "NO I don't think YOU should do that!!".

We wish you a good start in your remote working journey, dear readers, and partners. This is not the ideal context to get started, but this is feasible with a touch of agility.

NB: this article is written at a time where many organizations implement confinement measures due to Covid-19.

Kantify is a startup specialized in AI solution development. If you are considering implementing AI-based solutions in your business, just get in touch for a first video call.