Managing A Remote Team Wherever You Are

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People who search for work are always looking for the best perks, the best benefits and the best salary that will work for them. One of the best things that you can do for your employees is the chance to work from home. Certain jobs in certain industries will always require people to work in the premises of their business, whether that’s an office or a kitchen, or an airliner in the sky. We need people to be around for us when we go for a meal or head off on vacation. We need people to see to us when we book a medical appointment with our general practitioner. However, there are plenty of companies out there that are now waking up to the benefits of allowing their employees to work away from the office in their own home. It’s one of the most desirable and economical options for employers and employees alike. As a company, you have to pay attention to what is best for your business and sometimes, it’s realizing that hemming everyone into the office to be able to micromanage what they do is not the best option.

remote teams
Shutterstoc Licensed Photo – By Max Griboedov

Knowing how to manage a team that doesn’t work in the same building as you aren’t always easy. I mentioned before that micromanaging your staff shouldn’t be a priority for you but letting go of watching the move of everyone else is a skill you’ll have to learn if you want to be ahead. Hiring remotely can really help you to get the best talent in the business for your budget, and remote working is the future of the workplace. We are already outsourcing tasks from everyday business life and handing them out to companies that can manage our IT, marketing, sales and administration. Companies like ATB-Tech.com can manage your cloud services from afar, meaning that you can free up office space and give your budget a little room. Trying to give your staff a balance with work and life is a huge selling point for new people on your team, and more employees than ever are willing to work closely for longer with those companies that value a balance. More and more generations that rise through the ranks would choose to work from home over a huge salary and bonus structure, because despite what a lot of companies believe, it’s not always about money when it comes to employee retention.

Running a team remotely takes some time to learn. You’re going to find it an adjustment to contact people via messenger and phone rather than sidle over to a desk and have a chat with the people that you need to talk to. You have to make your management efforts a priority in your day to day business running. It’s a full-time job alongside your other business priorities and you have to trust your staff to work without you over their shoulder. The workload that comes with managing those that work remotely is an additional price for being at the top, but it’s a price that many are willing to pay in exchange for less overheads and a workforce that are motivated to do well. You don’t need to work around the clock to get your staff to work their deadlines; you’ll often find that happy staff are the ones who work the best, and staff that can work around their families and in the comfort of their own home, to their own schedule, are the happiest around. You’ll get far more out of people who enjoy their day to day life around their job, so making managing them your priority can work better for you.

One of the best things about hiring a team that is remote is the fact that you can pick talent from anywhere in the world. We live in a digital world, where the evolutions and innovation in technology are allowing us to contact someone ten thousand miles away at the click of a button. The only issue? Time zones. You need to come up with a policy for those who work half a world away, ahead of you. Some of your staff will have to work the business hours that you set, even if that means working during the night. It can be the price that they pay to work remotely, but it’s always going to be preferable to have the best in the industry if that’s the price to be paid. It also means that you will have to schedule meetings at odd hours for them. Thankfully, you can be flexible and plan ahead with your staff that work far away from you; this can ease the pressure of trying to keep the team balanced.

Trying to get everyone across your remote teams together in a meeting isn’t going to be possible all the time, so instead of holding large board meetings, think about the benefit of a daily pow-wow for ten to fifteen minutes. Keep your daily meeting at the same time and never skip a day. The more that you do this, the more normal it will become for your remote teams to tune in at the same time together every day. Meetings like that can also give your staff that work from home a chance to touch base and raise any concerns. Working from home can be pretty lonely, so this fifteen-minute burst of office chatter can help to dismantle that loneliness. In the meeting, get everyone to state their activities or tasks for that day. This keeps everyone abreast of the situation and you can use the meetings to pinpoint any problems that could arise. If there are any issues that come up during the meeting, contact that particular employee directly afterwards to dispel any worries.

One of the best things about managing staff from a distance is the ability to communicate. There are so many avenues that your business can explore in regard to speaking up and getting in touch. You’ve got messenger apps, email, instant messages, websites like Trello that allow people to gather their ideas and work in one place. With all of these channels of communication, you can follow up any conversations with a quick message and reiterate the points made. Sure, no one enjoys actually repeating themselves in the day to day office, but when you work remotely, repetition is a smart idea. Never be afraid to go into detail and explain things again and again; the more information that you can give your staff, the better chance that they have to be successful in their efforts. Adjust your language from ‘business speak’ to simple English. There’s no need to go on and on about logistics and statistics when you can be direct and to the point.

When you are speaking to staff in an office, you can call them into a room one on one to have a discussion about where they are going with their achievements and goals. Remote working doesn’t always allow for this. Unless you use video chat, of course. Video chat is an absolute must for all of your staff, as even though you’re not technically face to face, you get the face time that you need for a conversation. You can also have the chance to get your points and explanations across without your words being misread – which is a common issue with email and the written conversations on instant message. There is a lot that gets missed with an email: there’s no body language, there’s no eye contact and there’s no inflection in your words. The way that people misunderstand a sentence or two can directly impact the day for your staff, and you need to understand that a video chat at least once a week can help you to get to know your employees better.

Speaking of getting to know your team, remote working does have one downside. Understanding the way that your staff works is one thing but learning who they are as people is quite another and out of the office, you don’t have that camaraderie. You need to be able to keep your staff productive and working well, and the more that you work on building a rapport with your team members, the better off your company will be as a whole. You need to be able to trust the staff that you send out into the world to work, and if you don’t know them well enough, you won’t be able to trust them with your business. Building up your team and getting to know them on a personal level is a key area of good people management. If you want a loyal workforce, then you need to take the time and learn who they are as individuals and not just cogs in your company machine.

Management of a remote team is vastly different to that of an internal squad you can speak to every day in front of you. Take the time to do it well, and you’ll have a happier, more loyal workforce.

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