In today’s globally wired world, when everything is technology driven, concrete offices have also been replaced by virtual ones.
Having a team of skilled people from around the world can help you in building your company. Besides, hiring some super performers in your team from your country, it feels great to work with people from different cities, states or even countries. Hiring remote workers can do wonders for your set up, but it comes with a lot of challenges.
People may be away sitting at different places, but it is like managing an on-site time. Like, any other team, you would have to support your teammates, guide them, nurture them and build cohesion amongst the team.
However, you wouldn’t have to invent new strategies as there are a few key techniques that are specific to remote management.
There are some companies that have banned work-from-home options, but that isn’t stopping other companies or even startups to hire people remotely.
Of course, having a virtual team will take your company places, apart from cutting down on expenses, maintenance cost and more.
But supervising a team across time zones and even cultures can be a task. Here are some top-notch tips to make your life as a manager easy, read on…
Training begins from day one
Training and aim for consistency should begin from day one. All the new employees must be onboard together as they are introduced to the company together they grow closer to the business and to each other of course. The new employee training can be delivered remotely, but it sill is a team process. Self-help programs, comprising videos, online communities, digital assessments and more can give newcomers and opportunity to engage and communicate with each other and learn more about the company at the same time.
Be a technology lover
To run a virtual office, you would have to be a technology lover. You would have to depend on technology for security, daily communication, project management, document sharing and more. Technology only supports business needs but also enables visual communication. It promotes engagement and even allows employees to take over as presenters during online and on-ground meetings and events.
Using communication methods strategically
When managing a team remotely, it’s easy that things might get miscommunicate easily, when you are not physically present with the people in the same room. To avoid, misinterpretations or miscommunication is it very important that you make sure that every interaction with your team members is delivered on the right platform.
Here are some suggestions for methods that can be used for a different kind of communication:
Chat: For informal talks, group discussions and general announcements
Email: For Short talks, information exchange
Skype: For long detailed or difficult conversations
Phone: For long, detailed or difficult conversations
Emails should be used only for short exchange of information as they are the most vulnerable to being misinterpreted since you can’t see other person’s tone of voice, facial expressions, and body language.
Chat rooms must be used extensively to share general news, talking about something to a group, for socialising and getting familiar with each other.
You want your team to be productive right? So, rather than exchanging emails for 2 hours, turn on Skype and have a video-chat. It will not only save you a lot of time but will also add a personalised touch. In cases of any critical feedback or sharing a bad news, it feels more human to share it face-to-face.
In case, you can’t video chat, calling is the second option. You won’t be able to see each other but can at least hear them.
Remote work is less structured than on-site work and so is team management. This means that you need to provide much structured and set the clear expectations to the team.
Ideally, having a deep discussion about what you are looking for in the candidate and what kind of expectations you have from the person clears the air. Not just having this discussion during on boarding, but one must continue to discuss such things even during each employee’s tenure.
No team member should have any doubts about the deadlines, about goals to achieve in next three months, details about the tasks and projects that the persons own, the point of contacts etc. You can also specify expectations related to work timings and availability.
If the things go wrong and expectations are not met. Before pointing fingers at the team, you must question yourself as in how transparent you are or if you have been to communicate well? It will help you in streamlining the process.
To keep a record and maintain transparency, you must implement a method to track the progress of each employee and the team as a whole.
Remote worker software can allow you to automate a large portion of keeping a track of the progress, it will also focus on getting things done. Besides, having an automated process to track the progress of employees, you can also ask everyone to send daily work reports (short and concise). A screencast of the things the team has achieved can also be shared. This practice is quick and is more effective than exchanging emails.
You can also create chatrooms for tracking the progress of the team. This could be an informal way of keep track of work.
No matter what process you choose the burden of getting things done should be on the employees and not you. Since your employees have chosen freedom and independence, so by asking them to take initiatives and getting work done, you’re empowering them.
As a manager or founder of the company, you have a lot of things to take care of which require your attention and energy. You need to focus on things that come under your radar. Having said that you should still have a regular communication with the team.
Meeting once a year
Having video chats is one thing and meeting face-to-face is another. Nothing can beat the excitement of meeting everyone face to face. It not only brings the team closer but also boost their morale. It will help them in building more rapport in just a few days.
Such meetings once a year could be pricey but are high on energy. They could provide the team an opportunity to have discussions around their culture, the vision of the company, their goals in their professional life and much more.
Hire employees after short-term tests
Working with a remote team could be tricky. Hiring the right candidate could be a tough job. To see if the candidate fits in, you can get the taste of working with the person by hiring him/her for a month initially for a short-term project. Once the project is complete and you are happy with the results and want to take the things forward, then you can hire the person full time.
Thinking of working with the part-time worker is a big no-no, as they won’t be available when you require them the most. Also, they eventually drop off or either stop working. Having a full time employee is not only good for the company as you have a full time resource but also for the employee as they have an assured job.
Transparency is the key
For quality decision making and maintain the speed, you must stay as transparent as possible with your team. The more they know about the policies, decisions, projects, clients and everything related to the business, the easier it will for them and you to act independently.
You must schedule regular meetings with your team members and or team leaders to discuss the status of the work, company, pending projects, decisions and any changes, revenue, advertisers and financial updates if any.
These meetings have a possibility of making managers nervous as traditionally companies don’t pass on so much of information to the employees, but being open keeps consequences away from the scene.
To avoid any kind of bottlenecks, you must have open discussions and have all of your employees on the same page. It will boost their ability to think as a single unit.
To keep everyone informed you can consolidate important information in group documents using Google Docs, Dropbox or another file-sharing service.
Be the best pay master
It’s true that now people prefer working from the comfort of their home. There are a lot of professionals who in order to save time and money on travelling. Some people are even ready to take a pay cut for the opportunity to work from home.
So, it becomes easy to find cheaper labour, but at the same time, it doesn’t guarantee a long-term relationship with the employee. To retain an efficient worker, you must pay them well. Being the best pay master will help the employee to stick around for long. A secure, well-paying work-from-home job is all one needs.
Honesty is the best policy
Being authentic while talking to your team members is the ultimate tip one can give you.