Developing a practical action plan for remote teams is neither easy nor quick – it is however very helpful. Here’s how you can write it properly and benefit from doing so.
Whether you’re working with startup colleagues or freelancers, an action plan for remote teams can help you manage your workflow more efficiently. Without a practical action plan in hand, you will be hard-pressed to take full advantage of your team’s skills and talents.
Writing an action plan which your remote team will refer to on a daily is a challenge. Many teams fall into the trap of writing such a plan, only to leave it on the sidelines when actual work begins. You can avoid that by making the plan actionable from day one.
The “why” behind writing an action plan for remote teams
Why are remote team action plans so important in today’s employment climate? With remote work conditions becoming the norm, many employees have grown accustomed to well-oiled remote workflows. However, businesses have a tough time adjusting to new standards while still having to perform properly and generate revenue.
Perks of writing action plans for your remote teams
Recent findings indicate that 61% of employees prefer working remotely. 97% of those affected by the global pandemic don’t expect to go back to their offices, prompting a further need for better remote team management. As the tide of remote work changes, companies need to readjust their employee engagement standards.
Remote employees who are satisfied with the autonomy and professional development they receive are far more likely to perform well. What are the practical implications of using an action plan for remote teams in your company?
- Assist your remote employees in managing their work/life balance
- Save time and resources by focusing your remote team’s focus and energy
- Increased remote employee agency and autonomy compared to ad hoc remote workflow
- Better company image and employee engagement reputation for future talent
- Improve your business’ return on investment and generate more revenue
Writing a time management action plan the right way
The process of writing a time management action plan for your remote team should be taken on systematically. First off, you should decide on the content stack you will use to write and maintain your action plan. Try out and settle on several writing tools, either local or cloud-based, before you get started.
Using a reliable remote management platform is also a plus. Creating a better working environment starts with good planning and foresight. When you’re ready to write your action plan, refer to the following steps:
Create remote team goals and expectations
A great way to start on your action plan is to organise a remote team meeting and discuss your intentions. Sharing what you are about to do with your coworkers will help you collect their feedback on the action plan on time. That way, you will be able to implement their suggestions and address their worries in advance.
Work on setting common team goals and expectations, which everyone should adhere to. This can be anything from “objective feedback sharing” to “daily collaboration” or “weekly check-ins”.
Again, it’s best to be transparent and professional in regards to your expectations from the team from day one. That way, no stone will be left unturned in your action plan.
Develop daily and weekly KPIs for your remote team
You can give your team a better sense of direction by developing actionable Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in the action plan itself. While you may have certain KPIs available already, these will allow you to reevaluate your remote team’s workflow and refocus it. Using SMART methodology is a good way to create goals that your coworkers can act on constantly.
These goals are time-limited, objective, and relevant to whichever project you’re working on. Make it clear that everyone on the team has to abide by these KPIs going forward.
You can create daily, weekly, as well as personal goals depending on your coworkers’ specialisations. For example, your digital marketer and web developer won’t share all of their KPIs, given the nature of their work.
Set priority standards for a smoother workflow
Helping your remote coworkers to prioritise their tasks is a great way to bolster their productivity. Writing this into your action plan will help everyone recognise which tasks are urgent and which are a low priority at the moment. You can categorise your task priority using the following framework:
- Critical priority
- High priority
- Medium priority
- Low priority
- Very low priority
Each priority level can be assigned a color or a code depending on which remote management platform you’re using. Discuss this with your coworkers and decide on whether you’ll prioritise tasks based on their deadlines, scale, client, resources needed, etc.
Again, ensuring that your coworkers refer to the action plan later on is important. If the plan is nothing more than a footnote in your workflow, it won’t help you do your jobs more efficiently.
Decide on your weekly and monthly check-in meeting schedule
Checking in with your remote coworkers is very important, especially if you’re managing international teams. Time zone differences, language barriers, and other elements can creep in and affect your workflow.
This part of your action plan should be written in a team meeting and not behind closed doors. Review everyone’s spare time and decide on weekly and monthly meetings.
Each meeting should be meaningful and serve the purpose of advancing your project goals, however. Don’t organise meetings just to organise them.
Talk about the agenda outline for each meeting to give everyone a good idea of what to expect and prepare for. Your action plan should be updated with any changes you make to the meetings to give everyone time to reorganise.
Fit personal development and coaching into your action plan schedule
As you slowly figure out your remote team action plan in terms of work-related activities, you should also pay some attention to personal development. Each of your team members will want to learn new skills and develop new competencies as they work for your company.
You can schedule personal remote meetings with each remote coworker to accommodate for that. Taking the time to provide your remote team with personalised coaching in your action plan will be seen as a major positive. It will allow you to build better team spirit over time and ensure that each member is content with their engagement.
Format and publish your action plan on your remote work platform
Once you’ve written a practical action plan which your remote employees approve of, you should publish it on a common remote platform. This will ensure that everyone will see it at any moment and be able to refer to it. Formatting your action plan so that it is easy to scan and skim for information is helpful.
You can use the help of professional writers from a reliable writing service if you don’t have a content editor on your team. Students can use thesis writers to get a writing assignment done when they’re short on time or resources – you can do the same. Make sure that your action plan is as legible, understandable, and actionable as possible for it to serve its purpose.
Create a template for your action plan for remote teams for later
Chances are that you will be in charge of multiple different remote teams over time and need to act quickly in regards to your action plan.
Using your original action plan as a template for other teams is a neat idea. It will save you time and allow you to fill in the blanks based on individual teams’ standards and goals.
You want to work as fast as possible and as effectively as possible when it comes to forming and organising remote teams. With the right action plan for remote teams in hand, you can do that more easily and become a better leader for it.
Action plan pitfalls of working with remote teams
Putting your action plan for remote teams into practice will quickly show you its faults – and that’s alright. It’s quite difficult to write an action plan perfectly on your first try, which is why fixing it as you go is important.
You’ll want to act fast to ensure that your remote team performs as good as it can. Failing to do so can cause rifts in your team, drop the quality of the work they do, and otherwise affect their engagement with your projects. What are the most common pitfalls associated with remote teams working based on pre-written action plans?
- Ignoring inter-team conflict and hoping it will go away by itself
- Sticking to the action plan despite apparent issues with its application
- Working with an outdated action plan written for a different remote team
- Ignoring the action plan altogether once remote work is underway
- Micromanaging the remote team despite the action plan’s existence
- Not taking time zone, language, or cultural differences into consideration
- Organising too many meetings and taking away from precious work hours
Action plan for remote teams can be just as helpful as it can be detrimental to your workflow. Approach the topic of writing such a plan with your team’s current dynamic and individual personalities in mind. Will your colleagues want to use such a plan? If so, how should it look like so that people use it on a moment-to-moment basis?
Don’t write an action plan only to tick off a box in your project manager’s spreadsheet. Instead, think of how you can benefit from such a plan moving forward. Use it as a helpful tool, not as a necessary evil dictated by the modern corporate climate, and your remote team will appreciate it immensely.
About the Author
Jessica Fender is a digital marketer who began her career as a computer science major and mass communication minor. She is passionate about content writing, digital marketing, AI, and blockchain. Jessica is also a blogger and data science aficionado.