Remote working is by far one of the best and most efficient ways to operate your business. Whether you’re working on a freelance basis or through long-term contracts, the technology that’s available to you allows you to hire the very best talent from around the world to complete your pending tasks.
However, unlike in a physical office, managing a remote team brings up a new range of challenges and obstacles that must be addressed. To manage your remote team efficiently, here are five key things to prioritize.
1. Evaluate Your Team’s Performance
It’s essential that you monitor your team’s performance accurately for several reasons. This is so you can see exactly what members of your team are doing what tasks and how well they are achieving their goals, and it will give you the ability to provide them with thoughtful feedback.
Set a clear system as to how you will be monitoring and evaluating your employee’s work, so that it is consistent and measureable. Using software, such as Asana or other task management systems, you can easily track each team member’s tasks, workflow, and results. This will enable you to both highlight any downfalls so you can focus on improving, and provide positive feedback for meeting goals. Many projects require the efforts of multiple team members, so have a succinct and transparent system for collaboration and monitoring workflow encourages each team member to meet their deadlines and goals.
2. Set Clear Expectations
Right from the get-go, it’s vital that you set out clear expectations, so every member of your team knows exactly what you’re aiming to achieve.
This means communicating your business’s long-term and immediate targets, goals and objectives, so everybody is on the same page. You’ll need to be clear with the quality of the work you require and expected deadlines. Using tools such as Podio, you can easily lay out workflows for your teams to follow.
Alternatively, you can use tools such as Essay Roo or Paper Fellows to create task sheets to send out to your workers. This can detail (with the appropriate priority number) which tasks you expect your team to complete that day/week/month, enabling you to stay on top of what needs to be done. Being vague with your dates only ensures the team members will treat them as such – if you give a deadline of 'next week,' it’s likely that you'll receive what you've asked for at 11:59pm on Friday of next week. Give crystal clear directions and deadlines, so there's no mistaking what you want.
3. Optimize Your Remote Workflow
Managing a workflow can be difficult at the best of times, and even more so if you’re trying to manage the workflow of a remote team. This process of handling content, tasks, work and any other kind of business you attend to must be optimised so it can be as efficient as possible.
This means you must have clear communication at all times. If you have members of your team operating on all sides of the planet, you’ll have to overcome issues such as time zone differences, meaning not all team members will be online at the same time. By using tools such as Slack, you can communicate with everyone effortlessly, saving you the extra time having to send emails back and forth.
Other tools, such as Dropbox or Google Drive, allows all team members to access every piece of content, document or file that they’ll need to get their job done properly, minimizing the time you spend trying to ensure everyone has everything they need. Not having that face-to-face interaction can seriously impact the way your messages are received. Things like tone just aren't communicated effectively through emails and other online communication. Clarity and organization can help you optimize your workflow, even if you're working across time zones.
It’s also a good idea to set consistently, regularly scheduled check-ins or calls. By keeping a once per week company or department virtual meeting, it will give everyone the opportunity to connect with one another, share what they’re working on, and ensure they are on the same page.
4. Get the Right People for the Job
When communicating with your team about a certain task or project, it’s important that you give the right people the right jobs. For example, if you’ve got an SEO master in your roster, give them the SEO tasks at hand, rather than dividing them up among team members that have different specialities. When you hire remote workers, you've got such a wide spectrum of candidates available at your disposal. Because of this, you have an incredible opportunity to seek out and find the most qualified and capable candidates.
As a manager, it’s your job to communicate with your team effectively, getting to know them so you can create and manage the best team possible.
When hiring new members to your team, create a skills sheet for your potential employees to fill out. You can even use writing tools such as Elite assignment help and Ukwritings to create these sheets on your behalf. This will allow you to create detailed profiles of each team member, to start the process of finding the right people for the job at hand.
5. Build Team Spirit
Of course, the whole point of using remote workers is so you can get the best of the best for your team. However, imagine working in a physical office with all your team around you. If, as a manager, you’re solely focused on your top talent and what they’re achieving, this is going to cause trickle down problems within your team.
This is the same for remote working. Treat all of your team members as a team, not as individuals. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get to know your team and their interests, or get to know them as people, but it’s important that you don’t prioritize anyone person more than somebody else. It's also important to increase morale by creating a strong, cohesive team unit, so treating everyone as an equal member is vital to fostering a community feeling.
If you’ve not managed a remote team before, be prepared to face new challenges that will require new and innovative solutions. By taking your time and thinking smart, you can be sure you’re implementing the right actions, enabling your remote team to be the best it can be.