In the modern American workplace, it’s becoming more and more common for team members to do the majority of their work at home. According to a study from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 25 percent of the American workforce works remotely at least part of the time.
While this may seem like a blessing, those who work remotely often find themselves coming up against a set of challenges they didn’t expect. As a remote project manager, it can be hard to enforce deadlines and implement rules for efficiency. Here are a few tips for working remotely that may help with the stress of being in an offsite leadership position.
As a remote project manager, it can be tricky to find the time to meet with all your team members regularly. Working from home means that team members each have to deal with a specific set of distractions and scheduling complications. One tip for working remotely in a management position is to set aside some time to meet separately with each member of your team in person (if possible) at least once a week. A meeting with all group members and various stakeholders should ideally take place each week as well, but two weeks might be a more realistic goal. Checking in face-to-face with each of your team members will help to reinforce deadlines, implement structure and give you a better sense of where each person is in their work. It will also give you a chance to establish a more human connection with your team members, who could all too easily fall into the habit of thinking of you as someone who exists on phone calls and through email, but not as a real person with their own life and struggles.
Keep Track of Projects with Business Management Software
Remote project managers, in addition to keeping on top of team members’ individual progress, have the responsibility of juggling a lot of different projects with different deadlines. Without the structure of a conventional workplace environment, it can be easy to lose track and let things fall through the cracks. One of the most helpful tips for working remotely is to invest in business management software that allows you to keep track of each project without having to frantically search through emails and text messages each time. A project management platform like Clarizen can act as a calendar, a status tracker and a communication center for you and your team.
Set Boundaries for Yourself, and for Others
Contrary to what one might expect, one of the great perils of working from home is the possibility of overworking. When you don’t have a set schedule that’s the same as everyone else’s, it’s easy not to turn off your ‘work’ clock and allow yourself to relax. A 2013 study focusing on men in the workplace found that 70 percent of male remote workers felt overly stressed and time-constrained, compared to the 50 percent of traditional office workers who felt the same way. Setting limits for yourself and for others is one of the most crucial tips for working remotely and successfully. Whether you’re turning off your phone after a certain hour, not answering emails on weekends or just refraining from sending that 4am text to a co-worker, it’s a move toward keeping yourself, and your fellow workers, feeling calm and on track.