How to avoid micromanaging remote teams

Remote working will be a crucial work skill of 2021. A recent report on remote work suggests that 66% of companies plan to offer more flexible work arrangements for team members. 

Further, 81% of workers indicated they would move if they could do so without harming their careers, showing that the demand for remote working is rising not only due to COVID-19 but due to employee desire.

Remote working has amazing long term benefits for companies and employees, however there is one human error that can stand in the way. That error is micromanagement of remote teams.

How can we avoid micromanaging remote teams?

It can seem hard to avoid the trap of micromanaging when you’re a remote leader. How will you know what people are doing? How can you track their time? What will happen if you can’t see people at all times?

The truth is, a remote working model needs a more flexible outlook. We have to move away from the idea that every movement should be tracked and move towards a more trusting system where people are judged on the work they deliver, not the hours they put in.   Focusing on outcomes are important than what time of the day the work was completed.

Ultimately, you can’t micromanage remote teams – it just doesn’t work. It’s only outcome is to upset your team members and reduce productivity, which is never a good idea. Here’s how to avoid micromanaging your team when working remotely.

  • Trust your team

The key way to avoid micromanaging your team is to trust them. Once you’ve hired the right people for the job, and you believe that they can do it well, the key thing to do is to give them the freedom to do just that.

The minute you stop trusting your team, is when they will start to resent you and reject how you’re managing them. We’ve heard horror stories of remote managers installing tracking programs, enforcing schedules in 10 minute chunks and tracking time spent on tasks via online spyware. 

All of these methods will simply create an ‘us vs them’ mentality and mean that the work output declines. Not only will you likely get worse quality work, but hours will likely decrease as employees get sick of people tracked and find ways to make it look like they’re meeting their hour requirement without putting effort into the actual work.

Judging performance by productivity and effectiveness is much better for everyone than judging it on hours worked.

  • Shift to an asynchronous model

This shift links to trusting your team. Instead of tracking their work hours and whether they are able to sit in an online meeting for however long, we should be measuring success based on the output they produce.

An asynchronous model means that people can work effectively on different time frames and even time zones, whilst working to the same goals. A remote strategy should embrace asynchronous workflows that allow people to work on different schedules but have clear communication and handovers so that nothing slips through the cracks.

With an asynchronous model, you must expect the best from your employees. It’s key that as a manager you set clear expectations and goals, and ensure that your people are left to ensure they meet their objectives. It shouldn’t matter when they do it, as long as they complete their work efficiently and well.

  • Set clear objectives and check in regularly

In order to trust your people, and ensure that they are able to complete their work in their own time, you must set clear objectives and check in regularly. Leaders tend to micromanage when they harbour anxiety over whether the work is going to get done. This is often because they don’t trust their people, or they haven’t been clear with what needs to be done.

The first step to abolish this is to set clear objectives that align with the overall business goals. It is essential that each individual employee knows their specific tasks and how they fit into the overall business mission. 

BorderlessMind encourages clients to establish a player agreement with their remote team members that clearly documents their role, activities, outcomes, best possible result, and success factors up front.  This ensures complete alignment with the remote teams and gives the autonomy and ownership to the remote teams to achieve results.

Scheduling check-ins to run over each employee’s objectives and tracking progress is crucial to avoiding micromanagement and ensuring that everyone is on track.

BorderlessMind helps remove micromanagement

Working with a remote talent agency that allows you to set goals whilst they manage your people, establish remote team best practices and workloads can be very helpful.

When you work with a global talent workforce like BorderlessMind, everything is taken care of when it comes to constructing and managing your remote team. 

BorderlessMind provides a dedicated remote team manager who will address and handle any remote team support issues, working with our remote team HR manager to ensure your resources are well cared for and are working effectively in a positive work environment.

Contact one of our remote team specialists today to discover the benefits of working with a remote talent agency like BorderlessMind and learn how we can help you scale your business and accelerate your business outcomes.

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