Working from home used to be reserved for weather emergencies and mild illness, but it has now become part of our everyday culture. With advances in technology (internet, computers, and software), allowing employees to work remotely is no longer just a company perk, but is also a viable cost-saving option for many businesses.
In addition to saving money on office space, businesses can hire based on talent, not location. There are cons to this though. When managing a remote team, it is vital to make communication your top priority. You will need to make sure that projects are getting done and that the team is working efficiently together, professionally and personally.
The best way to successfully manage a team with remote employees is to use the right tools, hire the right people, and make an extra effort in communication.
- It all starts with hiring: Successfully running a remote team starts with having the right employees. Make sure to hire people who you can trust and will work hard to get stuff done. Running a successful remote team requires people who are not only good at what they do, but are extremely motivated.
- Communicate wisely: Using email can get messy – messages can get deleted, opened but never addressed, and it can just take longer to get a response. Try video chatting and instant messaging for quick questions and feedback when communicating with remote employees. When in doubt, it’s always better to over communicate.
- Stay organized: Working on large projects as a team can get confusing with remote employees. Stay organized with task management tools like Asana. Create subtasks for members of your team and add due dates and feedback. Cloud software like Google Drive is another great option for collaborating and sharing information – all documents and spreadsheets can be shared and edited by all members of the team.
- Hold daily meetings: Use any video chatting program (Skype or Google Hangouts) to get your team in the “same room” at least once a day. In these short meetings, go over any projects that involve more than one member of the team. These meetings should help to increase productivity and keep miscommunication to a minimum.
- Connect your teammates: With a remote team, it can be very difficult to facilitate a bond between co-workers. The best way to make sure that your employees are connecting, professionally and personally, is to create a “virtual office” space. Try using group chats for most conversations, whether it’s work related, or making small talk and catching up. Also, give your employees branded apparel and office supplies to remind them that their work is appreciated and that they are working towards the goals of the larger team.
For more tips on working from home, check out our blog “Home Office Tips: How to Successfully Work from Home“.