Given the flexibility that technology has created over the years, it’s no surprise that remote teams are rising in popularity. From working from home to choosing your hours, being part of a remote team provides advantages that many other business models do not.
Like any other model, remote teams also come with their own set of struggles. Different time zones and the vast distance between team members can sometimes make coordination difficult. Additionally, team members need to be efficient enough to manage their workloads themselves without the constant supervision of a manager.
If you’re part of a remote team, your approach towards day-to-day and long-term goals will be different. To ensure you’re running your remote team efficiently, here’s what you should keep in mind:
Communicate on a regular basis
Regardless of whether you’re working in a traditional or remote team, communication is crucial everywhere. The importance of communication grows when you’re working in a remote team since that is the only thing keeping your business together.
Scheduling meetings regularly ensures that your entire team is consistently on the same page, and every member has clarity on the goals that have been achieved and are yet to be completed. Lack of communication between upper management and team members can create disconnection and impact the team’s overall efficiency and productivity.
The meetings you schedule should be productive and not just scheduled for the sake of staying in touch. Track data regularly to keep track of any notable progress and discuss the results in weekly and/or monthly meetings.
Employees in traditional office settings can communicate with others easily to remain in sync, since everyone is usually under the same roof. If you’re managing a remote team, you need to put in extra effort by knowing each member’s schedule and availability and checking in with members regularly. This extra effort will ensure the team is aligned. Many businesses invest in technology like VoIP phone systems to improve communication within your business. If you’d like to see which VoIP service is the best fit for you, check out this thorough analysis of the best VoIP systems.
Take advantage of technology
Just as mentioned before, technology has made our lives as flexible as ever. Managing remote teams has become a much easier task due to the wide variety of applications and software available for companies.
Apart from emails and keeping contact through phone calls, there are several apps that can provide value for managing your remote team. For starters, you can use video conferencing apps such as Google Hangouts or Skype. These apps will remove the need to coordinate on conference calls through the phone and allow you to video chat with your team quickly. Apart from this, it’s also essential to have a file-sharing system that makes it easier to manage documents and keep everything in one place. If your company uses Microsoft Excel, programs like Excel programmers can improve productivity and efficiency by converting data into information.
Google Docs and Google Sheets are excellent options for file-sharing since you can adjust the sharing settings and provide access to whoever you want. Internet-based suite systems can make it easier for team members to access and make changes to the document at the same time.
If your business is heavily reliant on data, you can integrate MongoDB Looker to provide data insights and analytics to every department and improve decision-making. These integrated platforms make it easier to manage data and use it as the basis for short and long-term company goals.
Document every process
After most setbacks, many businesses realize that the mistake could’ve been avoided if the process had been documented. In the case of a mishap, documenting processes and keeping track of everything ensures you can look back on where exactly something went wrong.
While it’s tempting to rely on memory and trust everything will be remembered, it’s always better to make a checklist and tick off every step you complete.
Documenting processes and creating a checklist to share with your team will also streamline everything and improve accountability and transparency. If a team member isn’t performing up to the mark, you can go through the documentation to pinpoint where exactly the issue is and how it can be improved. One of the best apps to manage workflow is Trello.
Organize your tasks
While this aspect does bear similarities with documenting your process, it’s more about your team members knowing what the tasks are and managing them accordingly. Every major task should be broken down into minor tasks, with every task being organized and tracked to ensure nothing is missed.
Tasks should ideally be set at the start of every month and sorted according to their difficulty and the team member responsible for completing them. At the end of each month, you can view a summary to evaluate whether your team managed to complete all its assigned tasks.
For instance, if you manage a marketing business that executes marketing campaigns for different businesses all around the world, it would be best to break down every promotional task into steps, such as email marketing and setting Facebook ad campaigns.
Hire the right people
Not everyone can thrive in a remote workplace. Some employees need a push to be motivated while others are self-driven. When you’re building a remote team, you should focus on hiring the latter.
Employees who don’t need the physical presence of a supervisor to meet daily goals will ensure there’s no lag in the completion of tasks. A remote team has a different culture than traditional businesses. You should ideally hire people who can take the initiative and meet the requirements that come with being part of a remote team.
Additionally, the employees you hire should be excellent at problem-solving and managing crises without the need for a supervisor. Such employees understand the importance of creating a work environment themselves. The expectations you have from your remote team need to be conveyed during the hiring process to ensure no time is wasted if you hire the wrong employee.
Remote teams undoubtedly come with their own set of challenges. However, with the right mechanisms and process put in place, these challenges can easily be overcome to create an organization that works together efficiently.
Giants such as Amazon and Dell offer remote positions and, with advancements in technology, employment opportunities for people who want to work remotely will only increase. With a proactive approach and determination to not let these challenges get in the way of your business’ success, you can easily create and manage a remote team that defies all expectations.
For more great tips in the workplace, check out the other blogs on Career Geek.