Guest Blog by Patrick Hogan, CEO of Handle.com
When a construction business has projects and teams scattered on multiple sites, it is quite challenging for project managers to stay on top of things. The conventional method of construction project management involves managers traveling from one work site to another to check with the employees and get updated on the progress of projects. However, this process has changed with the introduction of remote management technology.
By removing the need to visit sites frequently, remote management tools have reduced the delays due to travel time and improved the efficiency of construction projects. That said, the benefits that come with remote management are not without challenges. Poor communication is one of the biggest hurdles that remote team managers need to overcome. And with construction teams increasing with the size of the projects themselves, remote construction management becomes overwhelming.
To better manage remote construction teams, here are some tips and strategies that will benefit modern construction managers.
Agree on consistent collaboration tools and stick with them.
Many remote construction management challenges stem from the lack of standard team collaboration tools. Currently, there is a lot of communication and collaboration software available on the market. There’s a huge chance that the teams you are managing are using different tools, resulting in disorganized communication and inefficient work.
For better and more open collaboration, talk to your teams and agree on one platform that will be used by everyone. Purchasing enough licenses can be expensive, especially if you have several teams across multiple sites, but the benefits for your operation are well worth the price.
When choosing a collaboration platform, there are several things that you need to consider.
By answering these questions, finding the right software for your needs will be easier.
Make yourself accessible as much as possible.
Same with collecting unpaid invoices, the success of your remote team depends on communication. Talking to your team members daily is necessary for keeping tabs on your team members. You need to know what your team members are working on and how far along the project timeline your team is on. More importantly, daily communication is crucial in building team chemistry and forming your own team culture.
In short, treat your remote team members like you would if they were officemates. It is difficult to recreate the feeling of belonging to a team in remote teams compared to traditional office environments. While office mates can see you in your office, eat lunch with you in the pantry, or see you in the hallway, your remote team members do not have these opportunities. In the end, your remote employees may feel distant and may not be as open to talking about issues on the site.
Get around this hurdle by making yourself accessible to your remote team members as much as possible. You can even create a non-work-related channel on your communication platform and participate actively in the work chat. Finally, check-in with individual employees once in a while and see how they are doing with work so far.
Meet your team members face to face.
The wonders of remote management technology have reduced the need for you to travel from worksite to worksite. However, there are some instances where an email or a chat message is not enough. Things like quarterly planning, brainstorming, and performance reviews are better if you meet with team members face to face, either through a conferencing software or visiting the site in person. In fact, going to the worksite once or twice a year to treat your employees will boost team morale and improve your relationship with them.
Managing remote teams is an entirely new challenge compared to traditional team management. As a construction project manager, you are responsible for making remote team members engaged even if they are far away. After all, these are good people doing their best work despite the dangers of the job. Take note of these tips and you’ll be able to create a productive remote construction team.
About the Author:
Patrick Hogan is the CEO of Handle.com, building software that helps contractors, subcontractors, and material suppliers with late payments. Handle.com also provides funding for construction businesses in the form of invoice factoring, material supply trade credit, and mechanics lien purchasing.