How To Successfully Manage A Remote Event Planning Team
Planning an event is a complex process in itself. If you add the element of having to deal with team members working remotely, it can be overwhelming especially if you’ve never done it before. However, it doesn’t mean that successfully managing a remote event planning team is impossible. There are certain techniques that you could follow to make this process smooth and efficient.
Make sure team members are clear on their tasks and deadlines
One major challenge of managing remote teams is that you can’t always get everyone in one place at the same time. If you’re not organised, this could result in miscommunication, duplication of work, and tasks being missed.
To avoid these problems from happening, make sure that you have a master list of tasks and every line item is assigned to a team member. You should also set a strict yet reasonable deadlines on when tasks should be completed, especially if these will affect other tasks.
It’s a good idea to utilise an online project management software that can be accessed by all team members. This way, everyone will have an overview of the entire picture and will know who is responsible for what, preventing work duplication. Another primary benefit of using a project management tool is that it will be easier to track everyone’s progress.
Centralise all your data
In the typical office setting, onsite employees have access to the office network and the file rooms if they need to access documents. However, when you’re working with remote team members, not everyone will have the physical capability to do so.
Digitising all of your files and keeping all your data in one centralised location like the cloud can save you time and allow your members to work more efficiently. Doing this lessens problems often faced by project teams such as inaccessible files, missing printed documents, and having outdated versions of documents.
You can utilise a cloud solution that will allow your remote team members to access the files 24/7. Depending on your budget and requirements, you can use platforms like Google Drive and other options that are free or paid to use.
Take advantage of event tech tools
The evolution of event tech has dramatically changed how events are being planned, organised, and conducted. There are now several tech tools that can be used to make the planning process faster and more efficient. Tasks that used to be extremely time-consuming can now be completed in only a matter of minutes or even in seconds.
You can use apps and computer software for event registration, guest list management, tracking RSVPs, designing event floor plans, viewing event setups in 3D, creating timelines, streamlining payment processes, and more.
Using these various tools may seem daunting at first especially for event planners who are used to old-school processes. However, as these tools can automate and lessen manual tasks, you save time and effort.
For example, manually entering the information of your event attendees from application forms to a single digital database used to take ages. But now, you can use a guest registration app where you can have the attendees register their details online making it possible for you to engage with your guests immediately.
Eliminating tedious tasks gives you and your team more flexibility to focus on more critical concerns. Other advantages of using event tech tools include having a standardised set of information, a digital paper trail, and more accessible data for all remote team members.
The cost of acquiring these tech tools may also seem prohibitive at first, but you’ll be surprised that there are now ready-made apps that can be customised to suit many types of events. There are even apps that you can download and use for free. Of course, you can upgrade to paid applications or packages if you require more functionality and security. Go for a free trial first to determine which apps are user-friendly and suitable for your event needs.
Whether you’re planning a major global conference or a small company party, if you don’t make communication a priority then you will surely be destined to fail. What usually happens is that during the initial stages of planning, everyone is still excited and nobody needs to be reminded to give constant updates. However, as the event planning progresses, team members tend to become less proactive or responsive. Keeping communication channels open even becomes more challenging with remote staff working from multiple time zones.
To avoid falling into a communication black hole, you have to establish a system early in the planning process. Set regular update meetings and strictly stick to the schedule. Use video calls for work in progress reports and updates. Make sure to note down action points and decisions at the end of each meeting so you have something to go back to for reference.
For group communication, it is also best to use a team chat platform like Slack or Skype where you can converse in real-time. You can create a group thread with all team members for general updates and also make dedicated conversation threads relevant to each department. The great thing about team chats is that you won’t need to have an endless stream of emails for quick questions or messages. At the same time, it is easier to update everyone involved instead of looping several people into a conference call.
With the many communication apps and tools, there is really no excuse to still be incommunicado. You have to test and decide what type of tools will work well for your team and project. It is best to stick to one platform to avoid missed messages or miscommunication. For example, if you decide to use Skype, keep all conversations on Skype. Don’t have some team members talking on WhatsApp or group emails. Doing so will make it more challenging to keep track of what has been said and agreed.
Mastering remote management
The way events are being planned is continuously evolving and one significant change is how it is now possible to have remote staff as part of the process. While having remote team members can make event planning more challenging, utilising the above-mentioned techniques can help event managers create a more streamlined and efficient workflow.
Guest author: Nathan Sharpe Bio
Nathan is a business advisor and business writer at Biznas. He has helped many clients solve their business problems, and now imparts his advisory knowledge onto others to help them improve their businesses too.