Podcast, Remote Working

How to Be Efficient at Managing Remote Teams – Sarah McDevitt – Hubspot

Remote Teams are quite often crucial but overlooked components of our businesses, often so overlooked that it’s also common to think they can be managed the same way an office team can be organized - but what does managing a remote team really look from an inside perspective? What different challenges we can find when establishing an inclusive culture within that area? In this episode of The Human Behind The Screen, we’re joined by Sarah McDevitt, head of Customer Onboarding and Partner Success at Hubspot - and we’ll find out what management really is about when you’re connecting remote teams with each other.

Collaboration Within a Mixed Workspace


Collaboration is often a complex theme within all sorts of workplaces, especially when it involves remote working because it involves the action of stepping outside of our comfort zone to achieve a task or a goal with a colleague. For Sarah collaboration is more than just being attentive or efficient with our tasks within a workgroup, it’s also "...that willingness to continue to evolve, the idea of what collaboration is - probably the strength that we have on a day to day basis… We still have our teams come together to share information and ideas. And if we're working on a project, or someone's had an idea here, there is that openness that they can reach out to another office to maybe get help or a different perspective, depending on what they need in terms of achieving the end goals."


For people working on similar workspaces, we need to keep in mind that going the extra mile to collaborate properly can often be a daunting task to achieve, so we need to keep our expectations in check when others try to collaborate with us.


Collaborating Effectively


Having someone who is the facilitator of that collaboration so that parties feel they can meet in the middle is key. And that allows for everyone to be on the same page, with a really honest and open approach to that collaboration because it's being guided by a central force. But also that it's the expectation to collaborate. If we want anyone to do anything culturally, we have to set the expectation that that's just what we do, so that anyone who comes on board those clear guidelines about how collaboration takes place, and that it's very much encouraged, but also that not everyone's going to get it right the first time until they think it's another important component of it is that there is room for failure. And there's room for leanings and there's room for people to come back to the table, even during a project and come at it from a different direction.


Leadership Done Right


Being a leader is quite different to bear or build leadership skills and traits. Having said traits are but a start in a long journey that requires experience, preparation and, for Sarah, a lot of observation, “...Observing other people's leadership styles, observing how different leaders go about leading is important. That can be hugely beneficial for your development as a leader. It's just to sit back and watch how other people do it. And if you're lucky to have a diverse group of leaders; because there are no two leaders who are the same, They all lean into different strengths, They all have different approaches to thinking about problems and so what you can try and do is just kind of absorb as much of that as you can see and what you can learn. That diversity within the leadership team and that learning I think it's really important as well. Just embrace the fact that we don't know everything.” We're always learning. We always have to adapt, that's the quality traits of a leader that embraces that.


Benefits of Working Remotely


The first and most important thing is what it allows an employee to do, which is hugely important and allows them to balance their life and keep things in check between work and home with a substantial amount of freedom. Another benefit is the deep societal impact on remote work, which presents opportunities for employers to leverage that element."...If we get more comfortable remote working across Ireland, they could have huge impacts on rural communities. As you know, young people are not forced to move away for opportunities. And I think that has a knock-on effect in terms of the economy of those communities, as money can be brought back into those communities and breathe new life" affirms Sarah.


There's a huge benefit for employers “...because if employers can move away from this idea that they need all of their team to be looking at them every day of the week in the office, then they would start to understand the benefits of having remote employees like reduced office size that has an impact on their bottom line in terms of rental, and all of the other things they need to do if employees are physically there. Some people just don't want to work in major cities, there are people who want to go back to their hometowns, who are talented and capable as well.”


"I think if employers can start to understand that they will get a wealth of talent who are returning home, in a lot of cases from abroad where they have gained experience that we may not have seen in the Irish market".


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