Remote Project Management

Project manager managing project remotely from home

1. Be mindful of your team’s circumstances. 

When managing projects remotely, it’s crucial to put yourself in your people’s shoes. Many of your team members may be new to remote work and are still identifying processes that work best for them. Try to have some patience during an employee’s initial transition to remote work. 

In many cases, individuals working from home might live with parents, children, or pets. Hearing dogs barking or children playing is commonplace. While remote workers should do everything possible to create a productive workstation, sometimes their best efforts are no match for a dedicated toddler who wants to play with their mom or dad. 

If you’re a project manager with team members across different time zones, be mindful of your employees’ core working hours. If it’s late afternoon on the west coast of the United States, it’s probably not a good time to call your coworker in the United Kingdom to ask a non-urgent question. To reduce the need for real-time communication, consider investing in collaborative project management software

2. Encourage team-building. 

While remote work promotes flexibility and autonomy, building team cohesion is essential if you want to create a positive work environment and keep employees committed to your company

If in-person meetings aren’t practical for your team, we recommend holding virtual get-togethers that aren’t work-related. Whether you hop on a Zoom call to play games or have a virtual happy hour, dedicating a block of time each week to foster a sense of community is a worthwhile investment. We’ll discuss some of the most popular video conferencing tools below. 

3. Give your people the tools they need to be successful. 

If your people don’t have the resources they need to be successful, your business can’t thrive. Here, we’ll discuss a few essentials every remote worker needs to be at their best. 

Home office equipment. 

Many employers in traditional office environments provide a wide range of gear to their employees. For example, many employees receive company phones, laptops, and personal offices. However, many individuals don’t have these resources at home. By investing in your employees, you’ll empower them to be more productive

Let’s review a few basics that offer an attractive return on investment: 

  • Webcam—When you work from home, video chats are a common way to communicate with your team. Investing in a webcam ensures everyone can see one another. Prioritizing quality can go a long way. A clear image allows people to read each other’s facial expressions and body language. 

  • Desk lamp—A desk lamp can light up your face when you get on a video chat with colleagues or clients, brightening the mood of the meeting. Plus, extra light can help prevent eye strain when reviewing paper documents at night. 

  • Headset—If you’re constantly repeating yourself because your colleagues can’t understand you, your team won’t be able to communicate effectively. Inexpensive USB headsets reduce background noise and enhance clarity, making your meeting more efficient. 

While some of these items aren’t free, they’ll pay for themselves by making your team more comfortable and efficient while working from home. 

Document retrieval software.

When your team is out of the office, accessing essential documents can be challenging. Try one of the following solutions to ensure your people have what they need: 

VPNs.

Virtual private networks (VPNs) allow employees to use their personal computers to connect to the company server. Popular VPNs include ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and Surfshark. 

Document storage software. 

Another solution is to move your business’s documents to the cloud. Reputable cloud storage companies include Amazon Web Services, Google Drive, Dropbox, and GitHub. To make things as easy as possible, make sure to follow a standardized filing and naming system. 

Live communication software. 

Whether you need to hash out a complex issue or build a sense of teamwork or community, online chat and video conferences can help improve your team’s communication. 

Online chat.

Online chat is useful for one-off questions and communicating during calls or video conferences. Popular providers include Google Chat, Microsoft Teams, and Slack. 

Video calls.

Video chat is an effective way to create a sense of community, generate new ideas, and solve complex problems. Helpful video chat features include the following: 

  • Create in-conference polls to gauge opinion. 

  • Use an integrated chat feature to collect questions. 

  • Record the call for review or distribution to absent team members. 

Popular video chat programs include Zoom, Skype, and Microsoft Teams. 

Asynchronous work management technology.

Asynchronous work is one of the most exciting benefits of managing remote teams. When your team works asynchronously, they sign on and complete tasks at different times throughout the day. Instead of a traditional eight-hour workday, your team can complete tasks with flexibility. 

Here are some of the most compelling advantages to asynchronous work:  

  • Companies can hire top talent from anywhere in the world. 

  • Personnel can work whenever they’re the most energized and productive. 

  • Employees can hand projects off to colleagues in other time zones, creating the potential for continuous productivity. 

To unlock the benefits of asynchronous work, you’ll need powerful asynchronous tools to help keep your team on the same page. The most effective asynchronous tools empower your team to create, assign, track, and deliver projects with ease. 

4. Encourage healthy habits. 

When your team starts working from home, they may take time to adjust to the new normal. For some people, leaving the structure of a 9-to-5 job can be challenging. 

Try to promote the following habits within your team: 

  • Prioritize proper nutrition and exercise. 

  • Take periodic breaks throughout the day. 

  • Create a professional-looking workstation.

  • Minimize distractions when it’s time to work.

  • Commit to being available for meetings during specified work hours. 

While some of these habits are simple, they go a long way to creating a healthy, sustainable lifestyle when working from home. 

5. Overcommunicate.

Effective remote communication is one of the biggest challenges when managing a team of people who are working from home. Written communication doesn’t allow for the speaker’s tone of voice or body language to get through, which can increase the risk of misunderstandings. 

Commit to the following best practices, which you should share with your team: 

  • Include all relevant information. If you send an email to a colleague, make sure to attach necessary documents, provide a brief background on the issue, and clearly ask for what you need. When you rely on written communications, don’t assume the recipient is familiar with every aspect of the issue. 

  • Keep it concise. While you don’t want to leave out anything essential, don’t ramble for paragraphs. Only include what’s necessary. 

  • Understand your audience. Context is everything. If you’re writing an email to a client, try to be a little more formal than you would be when chatting with another employee. As discussed above, being mindful of time zones is also crucial. Try not to wake up team members for matters that aren’t time-sensitive. 

Manage your team like a pro. 

If you give your team what they need to succeed, create a sense of community, and prioritize effective communication, you’ll be running a team of all-stars in no time. Using the tips in this article, you can harness the benefits of working from home and boost satisfaction, productivity, and results. 

See Workfront in action

In this interactive tour, you will get hands-on experience using Workfront. You will learn how Workfront enables the enterprise to:

  • Connect strategy to delivery
  • Iteratively plan and prioritize work
  • Collaborate across teams and divisions to get work done
  • Streamline and optimize processes
  • Measure and report on progress
  • Deliver against your strategy