Tips for Managing Remote Teams

Elizabeth Woodard | | Employee Communications

remote teamsManagers are often worried about remote teams being unruly or untrustworthy, but I’ve found that the opposite is true. If you’ve done your due diligence when hiring members of a remote team and made sure they’re both qualified and motivated, you’ll have a much easier time keeping them focused on the company’s interests.

Why?

You’ve focused on the interests of your remote team and given them one of the biggest job benefits the workforce is demanding these days: location flexibility. Still, there are a few ways you can be sure that your remote team always runs smoothly and makes your company shine.

Invest in quality remote team work apps

Before you can begin to manage a remote team, you need to have that team working with the same technology. Which internal communication apps you use can affect your remote team’s effectiveness, so it’s important to do your research. At a minimum your team should have apps that allow for file sharing, meetings, workplace communication, and project management. There are a lot of good programs and apps which combine these into one easy to use suite.

Factor in time zones when scheduling meetings

This may seem like a small thing, but it can be incredibly confusing if you have teams all over the world. Train all your schedulers, assistants, and secretaries to not just confirm the date of all meetings but the time zone. Additionally, if you work with anyone across the pond in the U.K., keep in mind that they write their dates as dd/mm/yyyy instead of mm/dd/yyyy like we do in America. You don’t want them showing up on November 4, 2018 for a meeting you set on April 11, 2018!

Consider switching to a results oriented work environment

If you’re worried about your employees wasting your hourly time being unproductive, consider switching to what’s called a ROWE, or Results Oriented Work Environment. This business model means that instead of paying employees an hourly wage, you pay them a flat salary or target-based wage and let them decide how to meet deadlines. It involves a lot less keeping track of their every moment which is time saving for you, gives employees autonomy which is amazing for them.

Ensure that all employees understand good security rules

employee communications softwareRemote teams aren’t actually any riskier than in-house teams as far as data security is concerned, as long as you are set up with a good VPN and have a tech-savvy team. If possible, you should try and provide your teamwork computers that are ONLY to be used professionally. If that isn’t possible then be sure that whatever systems you’re sharing files and communicating on go through a quality VPN and that all your remote employees have up-to-date antivirus software. Additionally, teach your employees how to make strong passwords, who is and isn’t allowed to have company information, and how to properly identify phishing and credit card scams.

Schedule team and individual meetings every week or two

With remote teams, it can be easy to let everyone go and do their own thing and take a hands-off approach, but you as the manager still need to check in with your employees and manage the general workflow. I suggest a weekly roundtable meeting with a remote team where everyone can raise issues and ideas, and another set of hours set aside every week for projects or people who might need a little more of your experience and attention.

Take advantage of remote team employee flexibility and creativity

When you’ve got a good remote team, you’ve got the very best people around the world. Studies show again and again that employees who are able to work remotely and flexibly are happier, more loyal, show a greater sense of ownership in the company, and stick with jobs much longer. Use that to your advantage! When your employees have the freedom to work in the hours and locations they choose they’ll often come up with amazing fresh ideas and inventions.

Human Resources Today

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