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Week by Week Managing your Remote Team

I’ve been to some inspiring conferences in the last few weeks, including AICPA Engage, Scaling New Heights and the CPA Firm Management Association.  There has been a theme at each conference around remote work and managing your remote team.  With things settling down between fully remote and hybrid it’s good to see if the way you’re operating now is going to work long term.   

Whether you’re in person, hybrid or fully remote the weekly schedule for team dynamics actually shouldn’t change.  But if you’re thinking about training and development options consider the three areas that will really impact your remote team if done badly – lack of motivation, poor time management and slow / messy communication. 

Start with this.  Some firms do this really well, but many do not – how do you measure up? 

  1. Daily Habit – 15 minute huddle with your operational team.  Based on the groups who work together 

  2. Weekly Team Meeting – set goals and priorities for the week ahead, collaborate, recognize achievements 

  3. Monthly One on One – do this with your direct reports for 30 minutes 

  4. Monthly All Hands – how have we done and what’s coming up 

There are good tools and ideas out there to improve how you work with your team day-to-day.   

When you wander past someone’s desk you can get lots of non verbal cues on whether your team member is ready to be interrupted, or is ok for a catch up.  If they are on the phone, or head down surrounded by screens of data, you’ll likely figure to come back later.  This doesn’t work when they are remote.  Just dialing them on Teams is quite different and can be very disruptive.  Asking if you can call in 10 minutes gives your team member a chance to let you know if it’s ok (and perhaps to get ‘camera ready’). 

Even more so than office based teams, having an agreed email protocol is really important.  Do your team understand the difference between ‘To’ and ‘Cc’?  Those who the email is sent ‘To’ are expected to respond.  Those who are ‘Cc’ are not expected to respond.  Not having this protocol worked out wastes a lot of time and can easily see more junior team members constantly usurped by managers who think they are helping by providing a quick response when cc’d.  An expectation that ‘Cc’ will only check these emails once a day will help to manage expectations.  Configure your email to do this. 

You can think of your own examples for these but consider also: 

  1. How you and your team manage vacation time – meeting free days before and after, contact policy during vacation (only one person in the team should be allowed to do this) and what constitutes an emergency 

  2. Clear delegation and decision making expectations 

  3. How you can build walking meetings into team members interaction – not being on camera can be particularly useful during performance discussions – you don’t need to be on camera all the time.   

  4. Use Loom videos to explain a process – much easier to go back and review these vs constant follow up questions 

  5. Make sure you and your team can have a screen free lunch 

  6. Use the ‘delay’ function on emails to send them when your team starts work the next day.  If you own the company perhaps it’s ok to be ‘always on’ but it’s not for your team, and it promotes an unhealthy relationship to work 

  7. The list goes on 

If you want to dig in to some of this further check out Marcey Rader and Marc Koehler 

 

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Giles Pearson  |  After 18 years as a partner with a large public accounting firm, Giles founded Accountests to help those recruiting accountants make better hiring decisions

Accountests  |  Accountests deliver the world’s only online suite of annually updated and country-specific technical skills, ability and personality tests designed by and for accountants and bookkeepers. 
  
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