The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many companies to switch to the home office, hoping that in the nearest future, they will return to their normal office work. The new “business as unusual” work setup has shocked many employees who have never worked in this environment before.
However, because the pandemic is not expected to end in the upcoming months, it has introduced permanent changes to our perception of the work environment.
According to the research by PWC, office workers in the U.S. hope they will still have an option to work remotely when the pandemic ends, and 55% of employers are preparing to offer this option. Facebook, Microsoft, Adobe, and Amazon are just some of the thousands of companies that decided to introduce remote work as a longer-term option for employees.
In the wake of this news, as more and more teams go remote, what should the UX writing team leaders do to manage their employees remotely? This is an area of business that especially benefits from face-to-face meetings, brainstorming in front of a whiteboard, and one-on-one feedback sessions. Is it possible to continue running close-knit writing teams if they are working remotely?
This article will touch upon 5 effective leadership solutions for UX writing team managers.
1. Create a Roadmap for Your Main Projects
Although a roadmap, as well as a content strategy, isn’t always necessary in UX writing, a roadmap is essential when it comes to managing a remote team. This will give your UX writers a clearer overview of the long-term objectives and end goals of projects.
With a clear UX roadmap, it will be easier to distribute tasks among your writing team members. Set the goals and write step-by-step instructions necessary to achieve these goals. Then, you will have a clear idea, of how to delegate these tasks.
Later on, your writers will have the possibility to refer to this roadmap without wasting too much time in remote communication trying to catch up on everything. Also, writers who hesitate to contact team leaders for further instructions (especially regarding things and requirements which they should already know about) will have a document they can refer to, and not improvise.
2. Provide Clear Guidelines
If your UX writing team is working remotely, you hardly have enough time to constantly meet with each of the writers to discuss their tasks. Thus, make sure you provide clear and detailed guidelines to help them do their work more effectively.
Here are some services that can help you craft clear and user-friendly guidelines: Docsify (use this resource to quickly craft a documentation site), EssaySupply (use this site to find a qualified UX-content writer), Adobe XD Ideas (use Adobe’s documentation for UX writing).
Think of it in the following way: share any detail, no matter how small it is, if you would share it “in the real world”, too. Then, go even deeper and more detailed and make sure not to miss anything. And when we say anything – we really do mean that: if something has even crossed your mind as a possible issue, doubt or question, include it in your guideline documentation.
As a team leader, it is your job to then recognize the most useful sections of that documentation and to add all the things that are still missing. You can do that by asking for feedback from your UX writers. Ask them about the following:
- How often do you reach for the guideline documentation for writers?
- How useful do you find it on a scale from 1 to 10?
- Is there anything that the guidelines do not cover yet?
- Would these guidelines be sufficient if this was your first day on the job?
3. Establish a Centralized Communication System
Communicating via email is not efficient enough to manage a remote team of UX writers. To allow all team members to discuss the projects effortlessly, introduce a communication platform, through which they can easily contact you or other team members.
Make sure you are all on the same page and using the same messaging system. Of course, an email will usually always be used and presented for forwarded email messages and official correspondence. However, there are many new resources you can use for more efficient communication.
During the coronavirus pandemic, the videoconference tool Zoom and messaging application Slack especially stood out. Zoom has trumped over the so-far monopolist Skype because it’s much more user-friendly and convenient. Unlike Skype, you don’t need to have users added to your contact list in order to communicate with them. You just share the meeting link and anyone with the link can join.
Slack’s success, however, is mostly due to the app’s amazing categorization and organization possibilities. This is especially important in a UX writing team that’s working remotely, so we would definitely recommend this tool for team leaders. It allows you to create channels specifically for people who are working on a particular project.
As a team leader of your UX writing remote team, your task is to find the best possible mode of communication. It goes without saying that this is one of the most important things that will influence the quality of output of your writers. Whichever tool you choose, stick to it. The biggest mistake you can do is to introduce several communication channels, forcing team members to log into dozens of messaging accounts, and tracking each one. This will waste their time and make them disoriented and unfocused.
4. Set a Monitoring Schedule
For the remote UX writing team, regular feedback is essential. It’s a crucial building block for a positive employee experience. However, you also don’t want to micromanage your team by forcing your feedback too hard. A good solution is to create a monitoring schedule and set the time when your team will report on the progress themselves.
This differs from one team to the next and depends on the preferences of the team leader, but we definitely recommend regular feedback meetings. While working remotely, it often happens that communication becomes scarce and employees do not really know where they stand. Those tiny details and feedback they could usually pick up from your behavior and office talk now have to be verbalized into online sentences.
5. Practice What You Preach
One of the essential roles of a good leader is to set an example. Thus, if you want your remote UX writing team to perform at their highest, inspire them with your actions. Don’t complain about remote work too much because you will promote that behavior and thoughts in your team member by doing so.
Stay as productive as ever and welcome new tools and modes of work. Only by doing so can you expect your remote UX writers to stay excited about working for your company from home.
Although you might not be able to get together in a conference room to discuss the projects or work with your team as you would normally do in the office, it is still possible to successfully manage your UX writing team when they work remotely. There are hundreds of examples of great leadership, especially when work goes remote. We encourage you to use these tips to become a better leader to your team and help them perform at their best.