March 20th, 2019 | Updated on April 11th, 2020
There are strong reasons to hire remote employees. As the skill market widens, you are no longer geographically limited to hire talents who are immediately within your locale and, therefore, have higher chances of finding individuals who have the right qualifications for the job.
If your business is online, setting up a physical office may no longer be necessary, and it may be more cost-effective to conduct business with a remote team.
A lot of workers nowadays also prefer a flexible setup and will opt for employers who can offer the incentive.
But despite these practical benefits, your job as the business proprietor or manager can be put to the test when managing a team of remote workers.
What can you do so that the common challenges of remote work are properly addressed?
1. Give Proper Orientation
This includes letting them know what the company is about, what you are trying to achieve, and what is expected of them as a member of the team.
Communicating goals is important so everybody has a clear benchmark for evaluation of both individual and team performance.
By clearly defining goals and roles at the outset, your remote employees have a frame of reference with which they can set their own objectives.
2. Avoid Being Too Rigid
Make time for small talk. Establishing rapport is a critical part of management, and it gets even more so when you’re handling a remote team.
When you’re not attending to people in person, it’s easy to simply end the video call after talking about work. But this kind of rigidity does not foster bond, which is important for team morale.
So take a little time to get to know your team. Use GIFs to convey humor or emotion, say “Good morning,” ask how things are every so often. Little things matter.
3. Keep The Process As Simple As Possible
Interrupting the team’s workflow by bombarding them with emails can do more harm than good. If you need to brainstorm, communicate concerns, or make announcements, have it in one go.
Multitasking may sound good, but it can snuff out your team’s productivity easily, so avoid it as much as possible. Encourage everyone to separate strict work hours from doing necessary admin-related tasks, for instance. This will allow them to maximize time for productive work.
Another example is to clearly set up schedules for meetings and designate an online board for your agenda.
4. Focus On Goals, Not Activity
Give your team the free rein to exercise their personal creativity and individuality when accomplishing work.
It’s easy to get down to the numbers when measuring productivity or performance, but sometimes, being too rigid with quantity kills the whole point of establishing human relationships.
So instead, focus on what’s being accomplished than what isn’t, unless your business has strict, time-sensitive objectives.
If goals are being met, then the team deserves their merit. Otherwise, it’s time to reevaluate certain processes.
5. Make Use Of Reliable Tools
Speaking of tools, having the right equipment is critical when handling a remote team.
See to it that your file database is secure and that your staff has the proper access. Make use of the right team collaboration software, preferably one with integration features. Invest in a solid video or teleconferencing software for flawless real-time communication.
Without the right platforms, you cannot set up a process, so the former has to be established first before anything else.
6. Cultivate A Culture Of Trust
For a business to prosper and break out of the mold, it has to be collective in its efforts. But how can you do so when you always feel the need to micromanage and dominate the decision-making without hearing out team input?
Trust is a treasure in corporate culture. And if you’re going to do remote work, you’re going to have to invest efforts in building a culture of trust among your staff.
Set up work-at-home rules (including SOPs for urgent matters) so you don’t have to constantly look over your shoulder. Conduct one-on-one consultations to make your team feel involved.
7. Meet Up
Gather everyone in an annual meetup to socialize and ramp up team morale. These gatherings may be expensive and costly, but they, no doubt, provide a high return on investment. Give your staff an opportunity to meet everyone in person, build friendships outside your collaboration suite, and discuss careers and cultures.
A face-to-face meeting is an outstanding way to create trust within the team and communicate your sincerity and commitment as a leader that cares.
8. The Takeaway
Remote team management is definitely a challenge but one that is certainly workable. Once you know how to navigate its processes, you will be able to reap rewarding results that benefit not just you and the business but also everyone in it.