Best Practices for successfully managing remote teams
Jodie Byass — Tuesday the 14th of April, 2020Tweet
Over recent times and with the advantage of technology and cloud-based solutions, Australia has experienced a surge in the number of professionals working remotely. That number increased exponentially in just a matter of a few weeks due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Never before have so many marketing teams worked remotely all at the same time.
While there are obvious challenges to managing creative projects with a fragmented work force, there are many things you can do to become a cohesive and highly productive team.
Here are our best practices for successfully managing remote creative teams:
1. Communication and trust are essential.
In your current situation, you need calm and organisation to maintain your daily routine. And there’s nothing more unsettling than not knowing how your project tasks are tracking. It’s important then to practise open and transparent communication with your remote team, just as you would when you were all working in an office. Consider holding regular stand up meetings via video to check in. This is more personable than phone conferencing as it’s nice to see a face especially right now! While you need to maintain a structure to your meetings – discussing results, planned work for the day and any current challenges – be sure to throw in some off-topic banter into the mix to support your team’s wellbeing. After all, communication is not just a tool for accomplishing project goals, it’s also about engendering trust – a critical factor when managing offsite workers at the best of times.
2. Focus on project objectives instead of micro-managing your resources.
Even though you’ve been thrown in the deep end, micro-management isn’t a style that typically inspires trust. Not to mention it’s counter-productive for you as a traffic or project manager. So while it might be tempting to keep checking in with your team throughout the day, your time would be better spent making sure that everyone is clear on project objectives. This means sending out comprehensive briefs at the start of each project and ensuring that each resource understands the tasks they need to complete with clear start and completion dates.
3. Remote workers need to know where they fit in the approval workflow.
The sudden shift to remote work might have thrown your approval workflow into disarray. It’s important then that you re-establish it ensuring your team members understand their role in this (sometimes) complicated matrix. It would be worth providing them with access to a documented approval workflow chart. This way, if they need to send information or artwork on to stakeholders, they know exactly who it is (rather than it going to someone else and wasting their time).
4. Use a time tracking tool to measure time spent on tasks.
You don’t have the same visibility over your team as you would in an office, so you might be struggling to ascertain how long each task is taking to complete right now. Be sure to use a time tracking tool and mandate that all remote workers use the same one so that you can consolidate the data at the end of each cycle. This information will also help you to better plan for future work as well as track performance. It’s also a good morale booster for your team as they can see each day how much they’re achieving working from home.
5. Implement MRM software to streamline the process of managing your remote creative team.
Marketing Resource Management (MRM) software is a cloud-based solution that allows remote access to a range of tools. For this reason, it’s a really effective platform from which to manage projects if you’re working with a range of offsite resources. No matter where you’re located, you can always access project documents and files as long as you have an internet connection.
Here are some of admation features:
- Resource planner – resources can see what tasks are allocated to them on a day-to-day basis. This is especially handy with your team scattered throughout individual home offices right now
- Briefing tools – so everyone’s on the same page at the start of every project
- Time tracking tools – for measuring the time spent on tasks
- Approval workflow management – briefing and online proofing tools, a customised approval workflow, and reminders and alerts
- Approval dashboard – see how tasks and approvals are tracking without even seeing or speaking to your resources
- Digital asset management – designers and marketers have direct access to current brand assets
- Collaboration tools – everything is documented and saved in the system so that all users can add/view feedback and have full visibility over work in progress/new allocated tasks/up to date timelines.
Recommended reading: Managing marketing resources with MRM software