Remote work has become the norm for many organizations, which has brought new challenges to managers who were once used to leading teams in a traditional office setting. Managers are faced with a new challenge: managing a geographically dispersed team. This transition has not come with management training, leaving many managers feeling overwhelmed and unsure of how to effectively manage their remote teams.
So, how can managers effectively manage a remote team in tech? This is where Sid Sarasvati, Vice President of Engineering at JOKR and mentor at the latest up-and-coming AI-powered interior design mobile app Renovate AI, comes in. Sid is a well-established software engineer who has spent decades innovating and implementing innovative systems and solutions for some of the largest companies in the world. Under his leadership, JOKR effectively managed a multinational team spread across six countries including the US, Brazil, Germany, Romania, Israel, and India.
Sid is aware that managing a remote team requires new ways of thinking and acting. One of the biggest challenges is burnout and disengagement, and many teams are struggling with the transition from in-person to remote work. However, there are strategies that have been successful for tech companies with geographically distributed teams where collaboration is essential.
"Clear and Transparent Communication" is key to managing a remote team. All team members should understand the story and where they fit into it. Written communication is another critical aspect of clear and transparent communication. Having a culture of documenting decisions and keeping records of important discussions ensures that everyone is on the same page, even if team members join or leave the company. In a remote team, setting clear expectations for communication is vital. With these guidelines in place, team members will know what to expect and can work together more effectively.
"High Agency" is the ability to take ownership of one's work and be proactive in finding solutions to problems. A high agency mindset involves shifting from reactive language to proactive language, and using language that empowers oneself and others. In a remote team, high agency is essential, as team members must be self-motivated and able to work independently. By encouraging high agency, managers can help to foster a sense of ownership and accountability among team members, leading to more engaged and productive employees.
"Forcing Functions" can be a powerful way to incentivize individuals, teams, and organizations to act a certain way. By implementing processes and systems that encourage the right behavior, individuals are more likely to act in a way that aligns with organizational objectives. For remote team management, this is particularly important as it can be challenging to ensure that everyone is working towards the same goals. By focusing on processes and systems over specific goals, organizations can create a culture of continuous improvement and alignment with organizational objectives.
"Flat Organization" is designed to break down traditional silos and create a more collaborative environment. In a flat organization, team members are given more autonomy, allowing them to take ownership of their work and contribute in a meaningful way. This type of structure can increase engagement, creativity, and productivity. By giving each team member a voice and equal opportunity to contribute, a flat organization encourages collaboration and fosters a sense of ownership and accountability.
"Writing Culture" is essential for remote teams. Written communication is the primary mode of communication in a remote team, and having a culture of clear and concise writing can help to ensure that everyone is on the same page. The goal of business writing is to be concise and persuasive, keeping things simple and avoiding unnecessary words. A writing culture can also help to foster collaboration, as team members can easily share ideas and feedback with one another.
"Asynchronous Workflow" allows remote teams to take advantage of the flexibility that remote work provides. By adopting asynchronous workflows, team members can work at their own pace and according to their own schedule, allowing for more productive work. In addition, asynchronous workflows can help to reduce interruptions, increase focus, and provide team members with more control over their work.
By prioritizing these strategies, leaders can foster a culture of collaboration, accountability, and continuous improvement that leads to greater productivity and employee satisfaction. Overall, the success of remote team management depends on leadership that is willing to adapt and innovate in the face of new challenges. With the right mindset and approach, managers can effectively manage remote teams and build a culture of success that endures beyond the current era of remote work.