18 May

The secret of managing a remote team: 6 tips for CTOs

Project management
The coronavirus pandemic has triggered many changes in human life. One of the new trends is that billions of people are moving into remote working mode. This requires new approaches to speed up unprecedented digital and organizational transformation, which aims to preserve human capital as the main business asset during the crisis.

According to Josh Bersin, a leading world-renowned HR analyst, and Diane Gerson, IBM's top HR manager, which they gave the recent joint webinar, at this time of crisis the rescue of companies will fall on the shoulders of HR directors, as once, in 2008, companies were obliged to the rescue of their CFOs.

Vitaly Kukharenko — entrepreneur, experienced professional in the field of artificial intelligence, one of the founders of the popular language platform and brain training startup, shares his experience and gives recommendations in the field of remote working group management.

Tip #1: Nuances of digital office space organization


The situation makes it necessary to quickly rebuild the communication system within the company. Those who have not yet started using corporate messengers, such as MS Teams or Slack, should rectify this situation immediately.

The problem is that the use of regular e-mail does not provide enough information and can not become the basis for rapid live communication. Its disadvantages are said to be:

  • no public channels;
  • no «mention» function;
  • no possibility to use " emoji reactions" and other restrictions.

It is important that the company's system administrators can control the composition of corporate channels.

For this reason, the widespread popular WhatsApp cannot be used as a corporate manager. After all, in case of dismissal of an employee, there is no systematic way to remove his account from the group. This is a serious problem in ensuring information security of the company. There are other, though less serious reasons.

That is why it is necessary to switch to MS Teams or Slack.

Video conference services are excellent for remote communication. For example, you can recommend creating open Zoom meeting rooms for each team. In many cases, it makes sense to create a Zoom Kitchen: employees usually come in and chat with colleagues during the snack or coffee break.

Tip # 2: Benefits of frequent meetings via videoconferencing


It is important to hold short meetings on a regular basis (daily, weekly) on important company business issues. From Linguix's experience, we have seen that this sets the right pace for the entire team.
It is mandatory to organize prompt online communication between colleagues, managers and subordinates during the working day. And not only by work.

For example, a group of colleagues can schedule a daily short stand-up for 10 — 20 minutes at a certain time. Informal personal communication, interest in each other thanks to the emerging personal attachment and warm feelings between employees strengthen the team spirit.

Tip for the manager: At certain periods, you can keep your virtual Zoom Office open so that any employee can come to your office for short consultations.

Tip # 3: The benefits of virtual gatherings


The idea of employees meeting in virtual interest clubs outside of work hours works perfectly. Informal gatherings, dinners, board games — it can generate a lot of positive emotions, gives incentives to strengthen the team spirit.

Tip # 4: The importance of friendly communication


Keep in mind that for most employees, a sudden transition to remote work is stressful. Lack of habit and text communication skills can provoke latent or open conflict in the group. This can happen when a person tries to speculate about a message written by a colleague or thinks that the person is as knowledgeable as he or she is.

At Linguix, it is mandatory to target your employees to communicate with each other in a friendly manner, giving them approximately the following advice:

  • There is no need to try to get out of every dispute as a winner, especially on public communication channels. It is important to stop in time. You should always assume that your opponent has as much skill and knowledge as you do. If there is a need to convince the interlocutor of his point of view, it is better to talk in private, giving in a friendly form their constructive arguments in response to counter arguments of a colleague.
  • You should always assume that the interlocutor has extremely positive intentions.
  • Closer acquaintance and friendly personal relationships allow for more trust in a colleague.
  • Thank and share praise with colleagues. Consider feedback as a gift rather than an attack.
  • Treat your colleagues with the utmost tolerance. Don't forget that you probably can't know and be able to do everything yourself.

Tip #5: Maximize the use of digital services


Our company has repeatedly made sure that the use of multiple digital services leads to duplication and deterioration of process manageability. Therefore, we recommend using one service for a certain category of tasks. Try to standardize it as much as possible and fully use the functionality it provides.

It is possible that individual employees will experience temporary inconveniences in this case. But the whole company will benefit from it.

Here is a list of useful services, which, as practice has shown, have the most suitable functionality for remote office work:

  • Slack and MS Teams messengers;
  • service for video conferences Zoom;
  • office suite and services for teamwork and documentation storage: G Suite, Dropbox, Office 365, Box;
  • services with digital signatures and document management;
  • CRM (SalesForce and similar);
  • Jira, Trello, Bitrix or Asana for task management issues;
  • systems like Karma Bot to express instant gratitude;
  • corporate social networks like Facebook Workplace, Yammer or similar;

We recommend using Shahidjanyan's «Solo on Keyboard» course. This will allow the staff to master the skills of blind ten-finger printing method and reach the speed of dialing 150 — 200 characters per minute. The lower speed just makes digital communication difficult in a remote office environment.

Tip #6: Document everything that happens


Transfer of knowledge in the conditions of remote work has its own specific features, different from the usual work in the office. The «unwritten rules» previously adopted in the company are completely lost in meaning. Everything has to be documented. All meetings must be recorded with an agenda, decisions made and deadlines. This ensures the transfer of knowledge through all parts of the communication system.

The objective asynchrony of the remote office should be taken into account. This is particularly acute when employees work in different time zones. Lack of live communication is compensated by continuously documented information in corporate communication channels. Functional support of such document circulation, organization of virtual working meetings lay on the shoulders of former assistant managers and secretaries of the company.

In Linguix, meeting recording and documentation has become not only a corporate standard, but also a habitual duty of every employee.

One more important point. The goals for each employee, each team must be defined in writing. The results should be discussed with the employees on a regular basis. One should not neglect the possibility of virtual one-on-one meetings with colleagues with notes and notes in the same document, which is filled from meeting to meeting.

Conclusion


The abrupt change in the operating environment of companies associated with the transition of employees to a remote form of work requires concerted action from each link in the production chain. This is actively promoted by the introduction and organization of the use of modern digital means of communication and services — corporate messengers and videoconferences.
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