Time Management: 4 Tips for Remote Teams
Watching the clock. Make sure that, as your remote team expands, you are putting effective practices like these in place to manage time.
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Over the past decade, the way we work has changed significantly. With the rise of worldwide internet coverage and increased internet speeds, many employers choose to build remote teams and employ workers who are not geographically tied to the company’s headquarters.
The freelance workforce has seen a significant growth over the past years, and in the U.S. alone, there were 57.3 million people working as freelancers in 2017. The number of full-time remote workers is also on the rise, with managers expecting that 38% of their full-time staff will be working remotely in the next decade.
From these numbers and predictions, we can clearly assume that there are palpable benefits in employing remote workers and creating virtual teams. At least for some of the more modern types of businesses and organizations.
But, if we want to see a more widespread use of this kind of an approach to the company and team management, we need to find solutions for some of the drawbacks and challenges that come with it.
One of these challenges is time management.
There are four simple steps a remote team leader can take, that could lead to better time management in remote teams:
Set up projects effectively
Give the right, and timely feedback
Hold only the most important meetings
If you are interested in examining each of these steps more closely, please continue reading.
Set Up Projects Effectively
For every project to be successful, whether it is done by an in-house or a remote team, it has to have a solid groundwork set up:
Project goals should be clear to everyone;
Delegating must be carefully planned;
All important documents and tools should be prepared;
Timetables must be defined.
Everyone should get a detailed brief of what goals are expected of them.
When we organize projects in this manner, we are minimizing the time we may lose by dealing with possible later questions and ambiguity.
Using the SMART technique, for example, is a good way of making projects and goals clearer to remote team members.
SMART stands for:
Specific — Clearly define what you want to accomplish
Measurable — Identify targets and milestones to track a team’s progress
Attainable — Targeted goal is realistic and manageable
Relevant — Goal fits your business model
Time-Based — A specific period of time is determined for the project
When leading a remote team of workers, one of the most common problems is tracking time spent on specific tasks. If time is poorly managed, there is a good chance that bottlenecks will occur in the process, and the whole project may get delayed.
The other important thing about time tracking is determining the adequate compensation for all the employees involved. This is mostly the case with freelance workers, but it is also important for evaluating full-time remote employees. And it’s not just about evaluating, but also about always being aware of every team members’ progress.
You can easily achieve all this by using good time management software. That way, you can easily streamline and tweak the whole process, or specific tasks, if necessary, and prevent potential time management issues.
Also, when workers track their time, it can make them more productive, as it gives them the insight of what needs to be done in what amount of time, and shows them the activities they waste the most time on.
Give Right and Timely Feedback
Clear and fluid intra-team communication is of huge importance when working in a remote team, and good feedback is one of its most effective tools. Team leaders who are skilled in time management know that feedback can improve employees’ performance, and be very important when there is a need to steer people in the right direction, or motivate them.
When the right feedback is given, projects run smoother, deadlines are respected more, and errors are fixed faster. One more benefits of good feedback is learning from one’s mistakes, which can make similar situations in the future less likely to repeat.
Regular, specific, and timely feedback can help the individual understand:
Whether they were successful or not in achieving their tasks and goals.
When they are supposed to achieve those tasks and goals.
What they are doing well and what requires improvement.
How they are impacting others in the team.
Possible errors and ways to deal with them.
Hold Only The Most Important Meetings
Did you know that the average employee attends about 60 meetings per month? Some predictions say that 63% of meetings don’t have an agenda or a plan and 45% are informational staff meetings of little, to no importance. According to employees, 33.4% of the time invested in meetings feels unproductive.
Avoiding meetings that are not crucial to the project’s success is a good way to both save time and avoid fatiguing your remote employees. This is because of another problem with virtual meetings — there is likely one or more employees who live in different time zones, which can lead to difficulties in organizing these meetings in the first place.
To decide if the meeting you’re planning is important enough, go through the following steps:
Make sure you have a clear objective
Determine if you really need an outside input on this particular matter to make progress
Consider if this is the best time to hold the meeting
Ask yourself, “What are the consequences if I don’t hold the meeting?”
Leading a remote team of full-time or freelance employees, is full of challenges that can really strain a team leader’s time management skills. Following these four pieces advice can really have a positive impact on the time it takes you, and your team, to successfully finish any given task and projects.
Do you have some tips on the topic of team time management that have worked for you and your team? Let us know in the comments.
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