A remote team can be a powerful asset to your organization. They’re generally more flexible than a local in-office team, allowing for greater productivity overall; but how does one effectively manage such a team from a distance? While it may seem like a difficult task, it’s actually quite simple when you follow these five simple tips for managing a remote team. Keep reading to learn more about the process!
5 Tips for Managing a Remote Team
Of course, as with any team, good communication simply isn’t an option; it’s a requirement. Setting project guidelines, knowing when your remote team is available, and assigning payment scales are just a few important details you can work out with good communication. Not to mention, a leader that communicates well with his or her team is much more likely to find success than one who doesn’t.
Be sure to have several lines of communication open for the remote team, including email, phone, and/or virtual chat rooms or a conference call app. Having open lines of communication sends the message that you’re available to have discussions and you’re easy to get ahold of; which is something your remote team will definitely appreciate.
Along with good communication comes setting the right expectations. If you expect work to be completed in a certain way, you need to express that openly and clearly with the entire team. If deadlines are absolutely 100% non-negotiable, you need to express that as well. How can your team meet your expectations if you never set them? This can lead to disagreements, arguments, or even losing a team member.
Set expectations clearly, and, if you can, set them in written form as well as verbal. Verbal communication can only go so far, and written forms act as a sort of receipt for what you’ve said. If someone claims to not remember the expectations, you can refer them to the handout or email every team member received.
It’s also important that expectations be realistic as well. Setting mountainous expectations for new team members especially is a good way to encourage burnout and even failure. You want to ensure your employees excel at what they’re doing, so you need to match expectations to their particular talents. While you should have a universal standard for what you expect from everyone, certain team members will have different skills and require more specific expectations.
The Right Tools
None of this could be accomplished without the right tools for the job! This includes things like email accounts, cloud storage/sharing, and video conferencing tools; among others. There are so many digital mediums from which to manage a remote team that it’s become much easier than it was in the past. There are even time tracking and team management apps that can help you manage everything at once!
By providing the right tools to keep everyone in touch, aware of expectations and deadlines, and focused on their work, you’ll likely experience a much more efficient and productive remote team. The web is home to some of the best tools available for remote and local teams alike, so don’t be afraid to try some of them out!
One of the most important tools for a remote team is cloud storage and sharing. Rather than saving projects and documents on a physical hard drive (although backing up a copying this way is probably a good idea), your documents will be stored in an online cloud account that is accessible to whoever you give access to. This means that team members can download, upload, and edit projects from anywhere in the world without having to use their email.
Deadlines should be assigned with plenty of time for your team members to reach the goal. This pretty much falls into the category of expectations and communication. Without clear deadlines, your employees won’t know when something is due (or how important it is that the project is delivered on time). A good way to ensure everyone is aware of deadlines is to set up an online calendar for the whole team.
Google Calendar and many team management apps allow you to set goals and deadlines and mark specific dates; from there, you can share this information with just about anyone. You’ll be much better off if you make deadlines as clear as possible!
Pay on Time
Have you ever gotten a paycheck later than usual? Or had a client not pay an invoice on time? The level of frustration such actions can cause goes beyond words. People want their money on time, and if you’re paying remote workers, they’re no different than a local employee. If you’re sub-contracting, pay invoices on time every time. What’s the quickest way to lose a good worker? Pay them late.