A remote team has many benefits. For instance, offering a remote working setup will allow you to tap the best talent from around the world, along with ensuring that your company has improved employee satisfaction, and increased diversity and inclusion. However, for all its benefits, there are definitely challenges in managing a team of remote workers, like gaps in communication, monitoring work and productivity, and building trust among one another. You can address these challenges, though, by heeding the following advice.
1. Choose your team wisely
First, make sure that you only hire those with the right skills and attitude. That means looking for members who are self-motivated, reliable, proactive, communicative, and collaborative. Each must also have a defined role in the team and should be able to get the job done with minimal supervision. However, choosing the right team can be a challenge. Proactive recruitment is a must, as it can help you plan ahead to attract the right potential applicants. Consider holding events like Hackathons to attract top talent, and automate recruitment so candidate sourcing and resume screening are easier. This will help ensure that you’re connected only to qualified applicants.
2. Set clear expectations
A Tech Republic article on best practices in managing remote employees explains that you must set clear expectations, and nix the use of any employee monitoring software. Instead, the article recommends adopting an outcomes-based approach where you establish what outcomes you expect from everyone, and give the team a doable workload afterward. It also suggests scheduling regular check-ins to see if anyone needs assistance to complete their work.
A Fortune article on managing remote employees successfully points out that communication is key. This communication, though, shouldn’t be about work all the time. Casual, non-work-related conversations are just as important, as they can help build a cohesive team. It’ll take a special effort on your part to check in with everyone. But the trade-off — keeping the team motivated and on-track — will be worth it. So, keep those communication lines as open as possible. Make time for what’s known in offices as ‘water-cooler conversations’, as if you and your team are all on-site. Ask about their day, or their holiday plans before asking about their work.
4. Remove the ‘remote’ aspect now and then
A feature on ‘5 Ways to Ensure Remote Teams Work Smoothly’ emphasizes the importance of a social connection. It notes how remote workers can feel alone in this setup. That’s why the article suggests setting up team meetings from time to time in order to foster a sense of togetherness. These meetings are a welcome change, but it’s important to still get things done. Therefore, look to meet in a place conducive for work — such as a coworking space. For instance, the many coworking spaces created by Industrious have been gaining recognition in the U.S. as places where different types of workers can thrive, as they provide flexible workplace solutions for teams of all sizes – from proprietors to small and medium businesses. These spaces will help you and your team transform ideas into action. They’ll also let you have the necessary face time to establish personal connections with one another.
5. Proactively address challenges
Forbes details how remote teams face a myriad of challenges, and recommends that they are addressed proactively. Doing so can help you build a happy, healthy, and productive remote working team. To this end, even the ‘little’ things are likely to make a huge difference. Some of these are sharing a good book or two, providing a one-time home-office setup allowance, and offering paid leaves (and encouraging members to take them). These simple acts will add up, and help build trust among your team. These little things will also help teams work more efficiently and productively.
It takes a special kind of effort to manage a remote team, and that is something we know you can and will give. That effort, along with the tips above, will help you not only manage your team well but maximize their productively too.