Wearing my HR Hat today. For managers who are not used to managing your teams remotely who might not have the most up-to-date tech at your disposal, here are some tips to help you navigate the transition from a centralized to decentralized workforce:

  1. Host weekly team calls, either video (FaceTime, Skype, WhatsApp) or audio (FreeConferenceCall.com). This is an obvious one, but the point is to maintain the consistency of standing meetings. Many tech teams use the AGILE method where they host two 15-minute “stand-ups” per DAY because the work is so co-dependent and reactionary. Maybe this is what you need, maybe it’s not. 
  2. Schedule weekly 1x1s with each member of your team, especially if you have under 5 direct reports (DRs) – one meeting for each day of the work week so you don’t get overloaded with meetings. Again, the point is to create opportunities to check-in. Some DRs won’t need these – use your judgement. If you have more than 5 DRs, I suggest more frequent team meetings (see No. 1). 
  3. After one month (yes, one month), reevaluate the frequency of your team meetings and 1x1s. Maybe you need more, maybe you need less. How do you know: is the work getting done? The point is to have a trial period so you can test out what works best for you and your team. 
  4. Regularly share your team’s project plan/deadlines/quarterly outlook/KPIs – whatever you use to measure performance and output. The key is regularly, i.e. weekly or daily. I like to share on Monday and Thursday mornings, and seek updates from my team by the end of that day to maintain accountability. 
  5. Empower your people, don’t babysit them. Give them ownership and help them succeed. Ask them what they need to succeed. Upside: it’s a great time to find out who will rise to the occasion, and who might not be in the right role – which is ok, too. That is life. 

Bottom Line: Seize the opportunity to find the opportunities that will make your team better, now and for the long term. 

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