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Managing Remote Developers

Keeping the Tempo Up with Remote Work

Casey Shull
Author - - - 3 min. to read

Marching to the beat of your own drum typically means being yourself and not caring what other people think. While a life mantra for some, it’s also good advice for remote workers. In their case, the beat of the drum is reflecting the tempo of their remote work. As rewarding as being able to work remotely can be, managers must recognize the importance of consistency.

In our article How to Use a Business Cadence in Managing a Remote Workforce, we discussed how the foundation of building a solid cadence was consistency. “In the end, I found the best formula is to keep it simple and keep it consistent…Establishing a rhythm tied to specific team performance, objectives, and keeping it constant has been my most effective strategy.” As my mother was fond of saying, “it takes two to tango.” She was referring to the fact that there are always two siblings involved in the latest scuffle, but we’re speaking of the necessary teamwork between a manager and a remote worker. Keeping a consistent tempo involves discipline from both parties.

You need a remote worker who can be counted on, communicates well, and is already providing consistent work. As a manager, you need to make sure you’re providing the right tools for each remote worker to succeed. Only then can you work on keeping the tempo up when it comes to productivity. Entrepreneur noted that “success rewards consistency.” In order to achieve that success, a tempo needs to be established and maintained. Here’s how to do both. 

The Right Kind Of Tempo

Some people may try to tell you that there’s only one beat you should be following when it comes to remote productivity. That’s simply not true.

There are many types of tempos out there; the important thing is to find what works for you and your team. In this instance, tempo refers to the consistency with which your remote worker is delivering work.

Some may experience highs and lows, some teams may stay pretty much at the same pace. Neither is an example of good vs. bad. What’s important to focus on is what’s getting results.

As Doist points out, “There’s no right answer or secret sauce to being an incredibly productive person. There are just small, deliberate steps you take every day to work towards a place that makes you feel good about what you’ve accomplished and completely guiltless when you unplug for the night.” Encourage your remote team to feel out what works for everyone and nurture that feeling. It’s the first and best way to set your own tempo.

Leading The Tempo

For an orchestra, the most important person in the room is the conductor. The conductor sets and keeps the tempo of the music. Without him or her, the musicians would not be as harmonious. Sure they could all play their notes correctly but they wouldn’t be working as a team.

As the manager, you’re in charge of conducting your orchestra and to do so you need the right tools. For an actual conductor, it’s their wand and sheet music. For you, it’s tactics that successful managers use for remote management. CNBC knows the importance of good remote leadership and gave this advice: “Whether your remote workers are actual employees or people you outsource to, it’s important that you manage them effectively to ensure consistency and productivity.”

That means making sure that communication is open and clear. On a daily basis, make sure that each remote employee is equipped with the knowledge and tools to perform their tasks. It’s also important to make sure that each remote employee is feeling valued, supported, and successful. Because remote workers can often feel isolated, it’s important that you’re acknowledging their efforts and nurturing their desire to succeed in their roles. Only then can you keep the tempo going. 

A Poor Tempo

If you find that you’re in a position where your team is performing at poor tempo, it’s important to reevaluate the consistency. Like the dreaded school projects from middle school, there may be one team member who’s not quite pulling their weight. Unfortunately, their actions will oftentimes throw off the tempo for the entire team. If that’s the case, you’ll need to take a closer look at the remote member you fear may be dropping the ball. According to FlexJobs, you want to do things like check-in on productivity, set measurable goals and evaluate their progress, and communicate often with this employee. It can also be beneficial to check with other remote employees.

For one thing, it would improve your perspective of the situation and another is it would validate hard-working employees by letting them know you care what they think. Using collaboration tools like Trello, Slack, Asana, and Zoom can be a great way to make sure everyone is staying on task. If you find that there’s an employee not pulling their weight, you may need to have a discussion or, worst case, find someone else to fill the role. Remember, it takes two to tango. Finding a remote employee who already has the ability to be consistent and can meet tasks head-on is crucial to keeping your tempo. Companies like DistantJob are equipped to find you these kinds of remote workers. 

Whether you’re working at maintaining your already established tempo or creating one for the first time, remember that consistency is key. Don’t be afraid to march to your own beat. What’s important is what works for your team and drives the results that will make your company successful. 

Casey Shull

Casey Shull is a freelance writer who works with DistantJob to research and synthesise the best remote work related content into practical, accurate and actionable guides and articles on how to improve remote leadership and better manage your teams.

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