Remote work was once a privilege — a perk for the select few who were lucky enough to live in one of a handful of tech hubs. But as organizational structure and culture continue to get flatter, that’s changing.
Today, it seems like everyone is working remotely.
For many people, remote work makes perfect sense. It’s flexible work that fits into any schedule and allows them to do their best work from anywhere they want. Even if you’re only hiring freelancers or consultants, having an office-less workforce can save your company money on overhead costs
There are many ways to organize a remote team but before you start putting together your first roster of talent, make sure you have clear guidelines on how everyone will communicate. Since you’re not in the same room, it’s crucial that everyone knows when they can expect to hear back from their team-mates and when they can speak up
Set your remote team up for success with these tips:
Time In, Time Out
Establish specific hours for your remote workers so you know when you can reach them. Everyone has different work styles and some people are more productive working outside of normal business hours.
However, for small businesses that require collaboration, it’s better to set a specific time when people are expected to be online. This is to ensure that everyone is on the same page, and can communicate seamlessly without any lag. Otherwise, if members of the team aren’t online at the same time, the project may take longer to be completed.
It will also allow your employees to have a better work-life balance. This is more challenging when people are at home. There’s no physical barrier that separates a person’s personal life with their professional role. So, having defined work hours will help your employees to better divide their time between their office and family responsibilities.
It’s important that everyone on the team knows that you prioritize work-life balance. Don’t let some employees feel like they’re working more than others because they’re always available, or they’re always the only one left online.
Get In Touch Virtually
Use video chat software like Skype or Google Hangouts, this is also a great way to jump into screenshare conversations if necessary.
It’s helpful and even fun to stay in touch with your remote team on a daily basis, especially if you can host a meeting on video. This will help you stay on top of deadlines and ensure that everyone is staying productive. It’s also a great way to build relationships with the people who work for you.
Track Progress Regularly
Create a system of tracking and reporting progress regularly. This helps managers stay up-to-date on who is doing what and assist in assigning projects where needed without additional hassle.
Programs such as Slack and Trello are helpful when tracking progress in remote teams, especially if you’re working with freelancers or external agencies. They keep all information in one easily accessible location and allow team members to leave notes for each other whenever needed.
Ultimately, trust is what sets a remote team apart from an all-star cast of freelancers. These are people you hired because of their skills. So, while it’s hard to trust that people are doing their work when you can’t see them, you have to.
For example, if you’re using third-party bookkeeping services, it will be rude to constantly ask them their progress. You shouldn’t micromanage them because these services employ professionals who are trained to do their work with excellence.
If you already have a system of tracking and reporting progress in place, you can check that to see how everyone is holding up. A weekly check via video meetings can also help be more updated with everyone’s progress.
Moreover, it may make your team more distracted and unable to finish their work on time if you keep asking for updates.
While trust may take time to develop, it’s worth it in the long run. Once you establish a system of communication and become comfortable with remote work, your team may thrive better than ever before if you can create an environment where everyone feels safe enough to make mistakes.
It’s important to remember that your remote employees are all unique individuals who deserve respect — even if they aren’t physically sitting across from you making eye contact. Plus, chances are that by hiring remotely, you’ve already saved on overhead costs by not building offices or leasing space
With these tips, managing your new remote team should be easy as pie!