How to Effectively Run Remote Teams

By December 29, 2016Leadership

remote_team

Guest Post by Sophia Anderson

Hiring remote workers has been debated and analyzed many times, and you will always find those in favor of it, and those who are against it, but rarely will you find actual advice on how to successfully manage a remote team of people. In this day and age, geographical location should not be an issue.

How to Effectively Run Remote Teams

These seven actionable tips will help you run your remote team and be a good leader.

1. Establish Clear Communication

Communicating face to face with your employees will always be the most efficient way of getting things done, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t develop effective communication with your remote team. You just need to work a little bit harder at it and use the right tools.

Team members need to be aware of their duties on a project, and familiar with what the others are doing as well, which is something that would happen in a traditional office. This is where programs like Skype come in handy because they allow for group chats and video conferencing.

2. Create a Balance between Flexibility and Consistency

One of the reasons why people prefer to work remotely is because it offers more flexibility in terms of working hours. But, while you should definitely allow this, especially if the members of your team come from all over the globe, you should still limit it to an extent. Otherwise, it will turn into confusion pretty quickly. Plus, you will need everyone online at the same time at some point, so you can discuss how the projects are moving along.

3. Hire People You Can Trust

One of the most common concerns about running a remote team is keeping tabs on what your employees are doing. For all your know, they might be mowing their lawns, while getting paid at the same time. Well, first you need to make sure that you’ve hired a trustworthy person, and that is always a bit a gamble. To help you track the activity of your workers and manage your projects apps and software like Jira, and Basecamp spring to mind.

Jake Waldman, a coordinator manager at EssaysOnTime, who runs a team of freelance writers, says: “In our line of work, timing is everything, and when I assign a project to a writer, I need to be able to trust to get it done on time. We’re pretty much a well-oiled machine at this point, and that’s because of the trustworthy people on our team.”

4. Keep Track of Your Team’s Productivity

This means knowing what each member of the team is doing individually, as well. Whether you are paying them by the hour, or through milestones, the only measure of their work should be their productivity.

While there will be people who are disciplined enough to work without any tracking, others will need you to motivate them and monitor their progress. In any case, they will need to put in a sufficient number of hours.

5. Make Everything Transparent

Transparency is crucial, and being open about what your company’s goals are is a must because it will help your team realize what they should be aiming for.

Always make sure to share the same information with every member of your team, according to Becca Van Nederynen, Head of People Ops at Help Scout, “Transparency is fundamental to managing a remote team. By giving everyone access to the same information and designing processes accordingly, you eliminate the most common cause of remote team failure.”

6. Meet in Real Life

One of downsides of remote work is the lack of a social component, which serves to bring members of your team closer together and to establish a stronger connection to the company and its goals. This is why you should make an effort to meet with your team several times a year. While you should discuss work, by all means, the accent should be on bonding and developing friendships. It will benefit your company in the long run.

7. Make Yourself Available

Make sure that your employees are able to contact you at any time during working hours. In addition to that, you should make yourself available outside of work at certain times, and in case of emergency. Make sure to have individual talks with each member of your team on a weekly basis to see how they are progressing, and discuss any existing issues or problems they might have while they are at work.

Running a remote team requires a lot of effort, but it can produce some great results if you follow these tips. They will help you build a more positive and productive working environment, and that’s one of the prerequisites for success.

Guest Post

sophiaSophia Anderson is an associate educator, online tutor and freelance writer. She believes that learning something new every day is a must. She enjoys writing on different topics that cover a wide range of her interests.

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From time to time, guest writers contribute to Thin Difference. Topics include leadership, career development, creativity, and mindfulness. Our mission is to "Cross the gap and lead with a new story line," inspiring Millennial leaders.

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