Technological advances and digital platforms have led to an increase in remote teams. Across industries and countries, companies have realized that the best talent isn’t necessarily located in the same place as they are, and instead of having to convince professionals to move from one place to another, companies are now hiring individuals regardless of where they are.
The same goes for smaller companies. And although working remotely allows you to work with the best available professionals, it does pose some unique challenges to companies, as managing a remote team is very different than managing an in-office one.
If you are an entrepreneur or a manager in a consulting business, dealing with a remote team can seem daunting, but if done correctly, managing a remote team can strengthen you as a company.
10 Tips To Manage Your Remote Team
1. Engage in Small Talk
Though it might seem counterproductive, it’s important that you engage in small talk with your remote employees. When working remotely, it’s easy to fall into the trap of just talking about what needs to get done and by when. However, a key part to a strong company is a strong company-culture, and in order to build yours from a distance you need to build rapport with your team members. One way to do this and get to know people is through small talk.
2. Embrace Video
Humans communicate both verbally and non-verbally, which is why video is important during meetings as it makes it easier for you to gauge and see how people feel and respond to tasks, responsibilities, and criticism. Additionally, using video is a great way to ensure that people pay attention and don’t multitask while in a meeting.
3. Have one on one meetings
You need to get to know your remote team members, and it’s easier to truly get to know someone during a one on one conversation, as people are more likely to open up this way than in a shared environment or conversation. Additionally, one on one meetings give you the opportunity to cover a wide array of topics, and it can help you to guide your team members and teach them a thing or two.
4. Set Clear Rules and Responsibilities
There is no place for micromanaging in remote teams, which means you need to clearly establish what each person’s responsibilities are and who they respond to. You also need to set clear rules regarding how communication will be handled and the appropriate channels of communication are.
Use existing platforms to connect the entire team and keep everyone in the loop on what is going on, what each person is working on, and how they are moving along. It’s important that team members feel part of a team and being able to track each other’s progress can greatly help your team members bond and connect with one another.
6. Use Emojis
This might sound crazy, but with remote teams most of the communication is done via messaging or email, and it’s hard to read a person’s tone in writing, especially if you don’t interact with them a lot in person. Some people are dry, some are sarcastic, and some like writing a whole lot, one way to ensure people read your message in the tone intended is by using emojis.
7. Be Flexible
You have to understand that remote workers can be spread out across the world, so make sure you are flexible in terms of scheduling and working hours. This is one of the reasons why it’s crucial that you have a clear set of ground rules and responsibilities, that way each person can hold themselves accountable, regardless of what time zone they are in.
8. Hire Leaders
Like we said, there is no room for micromanaging in remote teams. It’s impossible for you to be in two places at the same time, so you need to make sure you hire the right people. Successful remote workers are leaders, people that work well by themselves, and are proactive about things. You need someone that is self-driven and motivated, otherwise, much of your time and energy will be spent in asking how things are moving along and if they’ve had time to do X, Y, or Z.
9. Company Swag
It’s a small thing, but giving your remote team members something with your company name on can greatly increase their sense of belonging. Whether it’s a coffee mug, a notebook, pens, or even stickers, send them company swag every now and then. It will create a bond between them and the company and they will feel proud of the work they do.
10. Get Together In Person
This is something all remote teams need to do at least once a year. Video and constant messaging still don’t make up for face to face interactions and the conversations and bonding that happen when you are physically sharing a space with another person. Moreover, it’s during these meetings that company culture is strength and loyalty is built. It doesn’t have to be a huge or fancy event, and it doesn’t have to last a week. It’s just about spending time together and formally placing a face to a name.