Many leaders who consider employing a remote team tend to consider some form of the following question: “How do I know our staff is working, and how do I gauge their productivity?”
While this is indeed a concern when it comes to remote teams, it really is part of the larger overall question about how to manage staff that isn’t “in your office.”
Let's take a look at four tips for managing successful remote teams.
#1: Schedule Regular Meetings
When managing a remote team, you definitely want to schedule regular meetings.
Set them for the same day and time each week. This helps create a routine for your remote staff members.
Consider using a video conferencing tool like Go To Meeting so you can meet with your whole team at one time.
#2: Create Lines of Communication
Another thing that’s important to the success of your remote team is open lines of communication.
While your regular weekly meetings are a start, they aren’t the only way you want to communicate with your team.
Use the messaging app, Slack, for an open communication forum. Slack allows you to message remote team members, and it integrates with other apps your team might be using for collaboration.
For example, you can control these apps right from inside Slack:
- Wunderlist, Trello and Asana for managing tasks.
- Bonusly for rewarding and praising employees.
- Share computer screens for collaboration with Join Me.
- Use Sketchboard so your team can sketch and diagram on an endless online whiteboard.
Using these tools helps your team communicate and collaborate better.
Whether it’s working on a project, reviewing contracts, measuring analytics or having a team meeting, you’ll find that keeping them under the umbrella of Slack keeps everyone organized.
#3: Automate the Workflow
In addition to Slack, consider using Zapier.
This is a great tool to connect all of your apps and automate your workflows. It makes it easy for your remote team to move info between your web apps automatically.
Just tell Zapier the apps you use, and it will connect them. You’ll find this especially helpful for people who like different apps. Zapier creates a “zap” for users and lets them know when they receive information.
#4: Set Expectations
The expectations you set for your remote team are key to your success.
Because there isn’t an inherent structure to their day, and you aren’t there peering over their shoulders, your remote team needs to know what’s expected of them.
Provide them with some weekly structure through your expectations.
While you might have laid these out during the hiring process, you want to stay on top of them on at least a monthly, or preferably weekly time frame.
Ensure your staff members know the following:
- The goals and tasks to be accomplished each week or month.
- The tasks each team member is responsible for.
- Who to go to with problems or issues.
- How many hours are in the work week.
- The ways you expect to communicate with them.
- How often you want them to check in by phone or online.
It’s up to you or their direct supervisor to set the tone for expectations. It’s the only way to ensure the employee/remote team member relationship is solid.
In our digital age, it’s not only possible, but incredibly easy, to hire a remote team.
You’ll find that skilled team members don’t just live in your city – they might live a state away or a whole country away. And, these just might be the people who can help you steer your company to global success.
What’s more, many people today, especially Millennials, appreciate the flexibility that comes with working remotely.
Do be sure to use our four tips for managing successful remote teams so you create a cohesive and productive team that propels your company into the future.
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Image: Bench Accounting on Unsplash