Recap: Managing a Remote Team Webinar
There’s no denying that we are facing a challenging situation on many different fronts. The impact that COVID-19 has had on our lives - both personally and professionally - blindsided us all. Now, many of us find ourselves in the midst of the largest remote working experiment the world has ever seen and with this comes a unique set of difficulties.
I had the opportunity to do a webinar on managing a remote team with Bisnow on April, 2, 2020. In case you missed it, I wanted to share just a few of the tips that I shared on the webinar. Hopefully, you and your team can utilize these insights to continue pushing our industry onwards and upwards during this uncertain time.
Invest in good technology.
When my father and I started this company over 9 years ago, we decided the foundation of our operations would be built around technology. We felt that in order to run and sustain a business in the 21st century, it only made sense to invest in the best gear on the market. Since then, we have continued to invest in the industry’s top tech and I can tell you that it has paid off in a big way. We have essentially been prepared for a pandemic like this since the day we started.
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Email should only be used for external communication, not internal.
One cannot run a company on email alone. A mobile workforce does not have serendipitous creative collisions, you have to create them. Email is not functional for the purpose of describing ideas, allocating responsibilities or dealing with crisis issues. Our team rule is that if an email includes two people in the organization that “task” or “project” must move into Asana, our project management tool. We keep email as an external force only. Why? Because you cannot track a responsibility effectively in email, the search engines are not good to find answers quickly, and the task or project almost always gets lost in all the text.
Project management software is a must.
Our team communicates via Asana and Google Hangouts, rarely email. We moved away from internally emailing each other in order to track tasks and conversations effectively. Asana allows us to track the progress of every single project from start to finish and Google Hangouts allows us to instantly message each other when we have questions that need to be answered quickly. There are other really good products out there for larger corporations from Microsoft and Salesforce. There are also off the shelf products for smaller companies like Trello, Mural, and Monday.com. For those who want a consistent channel of communication, there is Slack.
Video conferencing is extremely important, but only when really needed.
Our team has been using Zoom for a number of years and we have found it to be a very useful tool. The video feature enables participants to be much more engaged and alert, especially during these times, than they normally would be with audio-only. Conference calls just don’t cut it when you need to have a serious remote meeting. All this being said, we believe that you shouldn’t schedule a video conference call just for the sake of doing it. There should be a clear objective and purpose for it to ensure no one is wasting valuable time in order to merely “show face”. Additionally, there should be a set end time, scheduled breaks and a clear agenda.
Schedule consistent casual team meetings.
I’m not talking about the typical weekly department meetings. I’m talking about fun, virtual happy hours where the entire team is encouraged to engage in some fun banter that would usually take place in the office kitchen or during after-work beers. Our team has organized these for each week that we work ‘mobile’ as something to look forward to.