There are plenty of remote management tools and applications available to construction project managers. And to a certain extent, this has disrupted the conventional set-up of the industry where project managers need to travel from job site to job site.
However, it also brought about new challenges in project management and employee relations. Communication, which is critical to the success of any team, is not always easy to foster. Work and productivity are also hard to track compared to office jobs.
Finally, it is harder to shape your own company culture when employees are scattered elsewhere.
As construction projects increase in size and complexity, construction project managers need to take some steps to avoid being overwhelmed by multiple construction issues.
Here are some tips on how construction project managers can manage remote teams.
Use consistent project management tools and stick with them
When it comes to remote management, poor communication is the primary hurdle that construction project managers need to address.
Most of the time, there is a lack of a standard communication platform when working with multiple remote teams on multiple construction sites.
Work tracking and scheduling issues are other difficulties that construction project managers need to solve early on. Especially when there are multiple time zones involved, it can be hard to keep track of what is finished and what still needs to be done.
There are literally hundreds of project management tools available on the market. Chances are, you are using one piece of software and your remote employees use another.
The result? A disorganized project and ineffective communication.
So before anything else, determine the tools your teams will use and stick with them. The types of software that your teams may need include:
Project Management Software
There are multiple job roles and multiple stakeholders in one single construction project.
It can be hard to put everyone one the same page if you do not have a proper project management application.
Manage your team’s tasks and assign them to individuals with the use of software like Asana or Trello.
There are also dedicated construction project management software that can make the coordination between departments — from on field teams to construction accounts receivable and sales divisions — seamless. One of them is Handle.com.
Team Communication and Conferencing Software
Sometimes, email cannot up with the number of requests for information from team members and other stakeholders.
Prevent work delays by using team conferencing software to talk in real-time. Apps like Skype, GoToMeeting, and Zoom can get the job done.
The size and complexity of construction projects require diligent productivity tracking.
Many projects have multiple job positions requiring multiple shifts and sometimes even extended hours. To maximize productivity and accountability, you can use employee GPS tracking and automatic timekeeping from services like Turtler.
Foster communication by checking in with your team
That feeling of belonging to a team common in traditional working environments is hard to replicate when your team members are scattered across multiple construction sites.
There is no place like the pantry or corridors in which to run into one another and make small talk. This type of social interaction is critical for building team chemistry and shaping company culture.
For this reason, it is important that you check in with your team and talk about non-work-related stuff once in a while.
One way to do so is to create a chat channel on your communication platform for non-work topics. You should also be proactive in talking to individual members and make a genuine effort to get to know them.
Meet your team at least once a year
While there is no more need to travel from one site to another, that doesn’t mean there is no more reason to meet your team members face to face.
For construction workers who face real dangers in the field, socialization is a big deal and getting a visit from the higher-ups will mean a lot to your team members.
Ideally, you should meet your team at least once a year to give them a nice treat and boost their morale.
You can even have this coincide with your annual review and talk about your team members’ careers in person.
Remote team management has its own unique challenges that construction project managers need to address. Leverage the available tools at your disposal to foster open communication and go out of your way to meet team members once in a while.
In this way, you can make remote team members feel like they are part of one big family even if they are far away.