Remote teams are quickly becoming the norm across the globe. There are a host of companies that operate 100% remotely from big businesses to small startups. Whilst the benefits of people working remotely far outweigh the pitfalls, managing a remote team is challenging. You are dealing with different people from different places in different time zones, with different cultures, work ethics, and ways of communicating. Things are bound to get interesting. However, by taking heed of our suggestions below you will have tackled some of the top challenges remote team managers face and be well on your way to growing a remote team that feels valued, sticks around, and most importantly, are productive.
Communicate, communicate, communicate
Communication is at the top of every remote team manager’s list of challenges. It is generally at the root of just about every issue that arises. Effective communication is key to the success of any group effort and it is particularly crucial for remote teams.
First and foremost the strategy of the team, the roles of each of the team members, and the responsibilities and expectations of individuals must be clearly communicated. The communication process is only complete once there is understanding so, it is imperative that feedback is received from all team members to ensure that everyone is on the same page.
Get a little help from technology
There is a myriad of business telephone systems available to improve effective communication. From instant messaging and chat to project management boards and VoIP cloud-based phone systems complete with a full-on management suite. There is no excuse for poor communication in this day and age.
Establish which communication tools are best suited to your team and then use them. You may need a combination of one or two but do avoid using too many as that in itself can hamper communication by causing uncertainty to what tool should be used for which purpose.
Keep the channels you’ve chosen open at all times so that you and your team can easily share problems or come up with solutions. Have a one-on-one meeting with each team member as well as team meetings.
Be creative with your scheduling
One of the benefits of working with a remote team is that it increases productivity enormously. It can be taxing on team managers though (particularly when working across time zones) not knowing if their team is working, logging in for scheduled shifts, or reaching the milestones set for them.
Communicate with each team member and establish the best way of working with them as an individual in terms of hours worked and expectations. Use tools to record remote team meetings or conferences so that the entire team can be kept up to date even if they haven’t been able to attend live. Use a phone system that offers time-based routing and hunt groups to manage the flow of calls to team members according to the shifts they’re working.
With effective communication, using some of the amazing technology available, and finding efficient ways to work with multiple schedules your team will be all set to accomplish their tasks on time and up to your company’s standards.