How to Manage a Fully Remote Event Planning Team (9 Tips)
Remote work is not a new concept. In fact, over 16.5 million Americans worked remotely prior to the pandemic; a staggering 159% increase over the last decade.
With that number expected to double by 2025, it’s clear that virtual work is here to stay. As organizations and employees acclimate to this new normal, most are realizing the benefits of remote work.
Managing a remote team, however, comes with its own set of unique challenges. Water cooler talks are no longer the norm, leaving many workers feeling isolated and disengaged.
The great news - it’s possible to keep your remote event planning team connected and motivated. It just requires a little extra effort and planning.
Let’s look at some connectedness strategies other organizations have had success with.
Tip #1 Connecting the dots between remote work and employee engagement
Both organizations and their workforce benefit from working remotely. Without the commute, employees save an average of 49.6 minutes each day. This saves both money and time, providing remote workers with more flexibility in their schedules. This freedom results in happier, more productive employees.
A remote workforce provides more flexibility for businesses as well. Companies have access to a larger pool of talent, enabling them to assemble their dream teams.
Telework doesn’t just save employees money. On average, businesses save $11,000 annually for each employee that works remotely just half the year.
Like everything in life; with the good comes the bad.
Remote workers often face feelings of loneliness and find communication and collaboration more challenging.
Companies can battle these challenges and keep their workforce engaged by developing a proactive engagement strategy. By investing in their remote teams, they’re rewarded with happier, more productive workers who are committed to the company long-term.
Tip #2 Define your remote work culture
Even with a detailed map of what an organization’s culture should look like, company culture evolves organically in the traditional office setting.
As individuals work together, they learn more about each other on a personal and professional level. They are put together because of their company roles and grow closer because of their time spent together.
Remote teams don’t get those shared moments by the water cooler or in the break room. Managing a remote team means you facilitate those water-cooler moments. Building a sustainable remote work culture takes work from leadership and employees.
A sustainable remote culture requires:
- Fluid workflow
Tip #3 Hire the right team
Building a team that works fluidly together starts with the individual employees. Before hiring a new employee, consider the person’s strengths and weaknesses.
Do they have remote work experience?
Do they have a proven track record of working independently?
Are they self-disciplined enough to meet deadlines without being micromanaged?
What is their experience in working in a team setting?
Hiring the right employees ensures a solid foundation for your team. Once this foundation is in place, arm your team with the right tools to stay connected and engaged.
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Tip #4 Use technology to stay connected
Communication is the key to any relationship and remote work is no different. While you can’t gather for an in-person team meeting or ask your colleague a question from across the office, it is possible to maintain an open line of communication.
Arm your workforce with the tools needed to effectively communicate, collaborate, and manage projects.
These platforms all encourage communication and keep everyone connected. Employees can share files, discuss the status of a project, and even create separate channels for non-work-related topics.Once you’ve armed your team with these tools, don’t stop there. 88% of remote employees indicate erratic communication practices make their jobs more challenging.
Create a roadmap of communication practices and share it with your team. Implement these practices in your own workflow and schedule regular team meetings that highlight the benefits of each tool.
Tip #5 Practice great project management
Project management can prove challenging when managing a remote team. Employees need to stay informed without feeling like they are sacrificing their independence.
Everyone stays informed regarding deadlines, their responsibilities, and their teammate’s progress.
Tip #6 Check in with your team
While the main purpose of an online meeting is work-related, spend a few minutes checking in with everyone on a personal level. Ask them what’s going on in their lives. Who has had a birthday, adopted a new pet, or had a death in the family?
Share in their successes and support them in their challenges.
This will not only help solidify your team, but it also lets your workers know you value and appreciate them on a more personal level.
Tip #7 Employee recognition
Remote employees work an average of 10% more than their in-office counterparts. Yet, they often feel detached. One solution is to prioritize employee recognition.
Use an online recognition program such as Social Recognition or Bonusly to celebrate employee accomplishments. Give both leadership and peers the opportunity to view and comment on an employee’s successes.
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Tip #8 Encourage non-work interactions
Just because your employees are scattered across the country doesn’t mean you can’t have a solid team. It just takes a little creativity.
Give your employees opportunities to interact with each other on a personal level. Start a thread dedicated to non-work topics and ask everyone to share photos and personal facts about themselves. Encourage virtual socializing by hosting a virtual happy hour or game night.
Tip #9 Unite the entire workforce
While team unity is important, what about the rest of the workforce?
Employees want to know they are part of something bigger than them.
The best way to communicate this is by encouraging connections with employees outside their immediate circle. Even if there’s little chance their roles will cross, each individual contributes to the success of the company.
Not sure where to start? Help Scout has implemented some creative ways to keep their employees connected.
Telework culture isn’t just about using technology to stay up-to-date on the status of a project or coming together for a virtual happy hour. It’s about fostering an environment where everyone has a voice and participates.
As you develop your remote work strategy, remember to be flexible and fine-tune your strategy as you go. Encourage your employees to share their opinions and be receptive to their feedback. You will be rewarded with a workforce that thrives.