Time management is a critically important skill for all team members, especially if that team is working remotely. As a team lead or project manager, you must plan how to use the time you have available and that of your resources more effectively. This is an important part of managing your projects. Managing time well means that deadlines will be met, the quality of work will improve because work is not being rushed to meet a deadline, you and your team know which activities are a priority and what needs to be worked on when, and you avoid panic and feel more in control of the project. In this article, we wanted to give you several techniques to help improve time management skills among remote teams. However, just like everything else in project management, time management must be tailored to the team and the individuals on the team. Essentially, each team member needs to find the technique that works for them.
It’s all about Communications
Communication is important in any environment but even more so for remote workers. Make sure the following are communicated clearly and often to your team.
- Working Hours – Some organizations expect remote employees to follow a strict schedule, while others may be more flexible. Be explicit about what you expect from your team. Be sure to tell them what shared hours you expect them to be working and available and clarify the expectation as to whether they are to inform you if they need to step away from their computers or if an exception to the schedule needs to be made.
- Team Goals – Ideally, your team will have clearly defined goals that contribute to your organization’s overall mission. Ensure your team is aware of these goals and help them set their own goals and ground rules. Then help them stick to them!
- Project Assignments – During each project team meeting, make sure that there is clarity on who is doing what task and why you are completing the project (project vision and value). It may be beneficial to get feedback from your team on how long they think their tasks will take so that you can estimate the deadline more effectively. You may consider a daily stand up or huddle for each team member to discuss what they are working on and if they need any help with tasks.
- Accountability – Lastly, make sure everyone on your remote team understands how you are tracking progress and the consequences of missing project deadlines. This reduces miscommunications and helps ensure the entire team stays in communication about their contribution to the project.
Use Meetings Wisely
If there is anything we should take away from the mass-remote corporate workforce in 2020 due to Covid, it is that virtual meeting fatigue is real. This is why when you manage a remote team, you need to help everyone understand how to use meetings and meeting time wisely. When deciding whether a topic is meeting worthy, consider context, duration, and frequency of the meeting. For example, a daily stand-up meeting is great if your team has troubling logging in on time in the mornings. The context of the meeting is necessary, as it will kickstart their productivity. However, if you look at an hour long meeting every single day, it may end up being less productive than you had originally anticipated. Every meeting should have a purpose and should be timeboxed.
Support Your Team with Technology
Technology is a big part of remote working. As a project manager, you need to tailor the technology to your remote team. Some things to consider include:
- Video Conferencing – You probably already have a virtual meeting solution, but make sure that it fits your team’s needs, and they know how to use it.
- File Sharing – Remote teams need cloud-based file sharing systems like Dropbox or Google Drive. Make sure your team can easily access each other’s critical documents in real-time.
- Instant Communication – Make sure your team has a way to instant message each other. This is much quicker and more efficient than the standard email and makes it easy for team members to ask questions or share files quickly.
- Time Tracking – If you expect your team to report on the hours they spend on each task, then having an easy way to do so is important. Even a shared spreadsheet will make it clear who is doing what and will give you measurable data to use if changes need to be made.
- Project Management Software – It is worth investing in a browser- or app-based project management solution to track everything your team is working on. Microsoft Project, SharePoint, and Teams are all viable options.
- Collaborative Software – Finally, make sure your team can easily collaborate with each other on their specific responsibilities.
Time Management Training
We offer customized time management training to you and your team. Chances are, we will never get to 100% productivity, we are only human after all, but this training will help you have more control over your time and produce more results. Successful time management will help you and your team to become more effective in completing project activities so there is more time available for everyone to spend on the things that are most important to them. This course is meant to give you foundational knowledge, tools, and techniques to help you manage your time efficiently and effectively, and if you are a certified project manager, you can earn 4.5 PDUs.
Let us know how we can help you!