A project manager oversees a team responsible for planning, developing, implementing and completing one specific project for a company. Combine this type of team leadership with remote work from home, and you have a relatively new scenario in the American workplace.
A remote project may be both rewarding and harrowing, as a project manager must organize a team from home offices rather than a collaborative conference room. Whether you need three people or 30 team members working on a project, your role as team leader becomes even more crucial when some, or all, of your employees work remotely.
Team leaders must be organized in order to manage a group of people. As project manager, you need to have the correct equipment, software, tools, documents and project plans ready from the word "go." Everyone else on the remote project must have similar tools. If one of your team members needs Microsoft Excel to crunch sales numbers, everyone needs to have that same program in order to see the same figures. File-sharing programs and cloud computing become vital tools for this aspect of project management when you're tracking hours and time spent working from home.
Collaborate using tools that are already available, such as private Facebook groups, video chat software or teleconferencing programs. Social media represents a quick, easy way for team members to view messages, even if you have half of the team in New York and the other half in San Francisco. It is far better to communicate too much rather than too little. Check in with team members every few hours throughout the work day rather than once daily. Some teammates work on multiple projects, so communication keeps them on task for your specific goals as a project manager.
Create personal connections with team members. Talk about sports, children, spouses and other everyday things. Remote communication may be harder than face-to-face contact, but when teammates look forward to telling you about their day, it makes the job easier. Revel in the beauty of working away from the office, and seek solace among your team. When employees see their project manager as a human being, work becomes more worthwhile.
Stay enthusiastic about a project, even when setbacks arise. Provide regular, honest feedback to your team, your boss and your customers. Keep individuals motivated by setting realistic goals for everyone based on their talents, skills and experience. Show how every task matters in relation to the larger goal of keeping the project on time, on budget and on target.
Working remotely is not for every project manager. When it's done properly, everyone benefits from less commuting time, less stress at the office and better working conditions at home. The benefits outweigh the risks when you learn to adapt to new ways of completing vital projects thanks to remote technology.
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