Regardless if it’s the company’s first virtual manager or 50th, there are countless variables that can affect each situation. Consider factors like the team, the manager’s level of management experience, their tenure, etc. Since no two company cultures are the same, different practices will work for different companies, but the following five tips can help manage the process.
1. Practice the role beforehand:
In the case that this is an existing manager set to relocate, start practicing by setting up a remote camera from a different office or location once a week. Test out what’s soon to be a permanent situation so the team can come together and discuss any areas of concern. Take it a step further and bring along a team member so they understand what the manager’s point of view will be on the other end.
2. Choose the right technology:
Tech capabilities are what make this entire process possible, so consider many options and narrow it down. There are many platforms for this, Skype, FaceTime and Google Hangouts. However, before choosing one, make a list of everything that needs to be done remotely and choose the best match for the specific circumstance. Choosing the right technology will streamline processes and allow the manager to successfully collaborate, manage, and communicate with both their team and with upper management.
3. Set specific deadlines:
Focusing on deadlines is critical when managing remotely. Set task reminders to follow up via phone or video chat with the employee to discuss what was accomplished. Always try to have this conversation live to be sure all roadblocks are discussed if goals are not met.
4. Practice concise communication:
Before one email explaining a task turns into a 20-email chain, learn and practice communicating clearly, concisely and directly. This may mean taking a few business writing courses before the role begins; however, it’s critical for the role and will pay off immensely in the long run.
This becomes more important when there are different time zones within one team. Managers need to be a little more flexible when it comes to the hours they can be reached and have to be comfortable with always being available before accepting the position.
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