How To Build And Properly Manage A Remote Team
Managing a remote team is becoming something of an up and coming trend of 2018. With 43% of Americans saying they spend time working remotely, we are starting to see a shift in the ‘regular 9-5’ that so many people have become accustomed to.
Running a remote team may sound like a great idea in theory, but how do you make sure that your team doesn’t start underperforming? The fear of underperformance is one that many people jump to immediately.
They worry that if the team isn’t in the office building, they’ll be procrastinating at home playing angry birds and getting paid while work performance suffers.
Although it may seem like a valid concern, the reality is it’s just not true. This article will take you through the different steps you need to know so you can build and manage a remote team efficiently.
Why Build a Remote Team in the First Place?
With how quickly businesses and industries are innovating in 2018, the last thing you want is to be left behind. 34% of business leaders expect more than half of their full-time workforce to be remote by 2020.
With so many companies making the shift towards remote work, it makes you wonder why you’d want to build a remote team in the first place.
The first and perhaps the most significant point of remote work is all about letting your staff enjoy a better quality of life. It helps your employees, but it can also help you too.
Being able to work from home helps your family understand the extra time you need to spend working on your business. Also, you’ll reduce a lot of office related stress.
What are the Benefits of Building a Remote Team
When it comes to identifying what the big benefits of building your remote team are, you can break it down into five categories.
By hiring remote workers, you get access to a collective database of experts who are set up all over the world. Instead of hiring a full-time and costly employee from an expensive city like Toronto you can hire someone for less who is happy to work remotely.
You can also take on ‘moonlighters’ these individuals still have a full-time job in which they are an expert in their field, but they want to take on extra work externally. You get the advantage of the training and expertise they acquire in their full-time job which transfers to your position.
Undoubtedly one of the most amazing aspects of a remote team is the flexibility. The majority of your team will be part-time workers; this means you will find that your team doesn’t rely on you for their full-time income.
That means if you are busy you can request more hours, but also if you are finding you don’t need a specific service anymore you can scale down the workload and reduce your overall costs. Perfect for a start-up that doesn’t know how much work they may have at any moment.
3. Lower Payroll Costs
High costs can cool even the hottest startup, specifically, high payroll.
With remote work, you can have much lower payroll costs due to the flexibility and the availability of work. Employees can work on a project-specific case, and you won’t have to pay them to sit around while you’re between projects.
4. Satisfaction of Your Employees
With a remote team, your employees can work from wherever they want, whenever they want. They can take vacations when it suits them, travel and work at the same time, and do it from wherever they feel the most productive.
Location-independent businesses may be the future of work for a lot of different companies. Although it can be challenging and you can face unique problems, you can also get rid of other issues.
5. Solves Common Office Problems
One of the biggest things that change with a remote team is you. To embrace the philosophy of remote work, you have to understand that you have to give up control to a certain extent.
The adage you do what you want or what your boss checks can be a little hard to enforce to remote workers when you can’t just drop into their cubical at any moment to check they’re getting on with the work. In fact, fewer work distractions can lead to higher efficiency with 30% saying that remote work allowed them to accomplish more in less time.
One of the easiest ways to overcome any of these concerns with remote work is to hire the right people. You want to be looking for employees who have the drive and can motivate themselves to complete their work.
Once you’ve got these individuals onboard, it’s crucial that you give them control, and try to automate the process for them as much as possible. Don’t obsess over micro-management and putting bottlenecks in place. You’ll only hinder employees from doing a good job.
What Challenges Do You Face With a Remote Team?
When you start to look at all the practical benefits of working remote, you might be thinking, well what is there to worry about? However, as with every dynamic, there are a set of challenges which you’ll need to understand so that you can manage your team to overcome these obstacles.
One of the biggest issues you can come across with a remote team is making sure that every member of the team understands the companies higher purpose, including the high-level goals, mission, and vision of the company that you have going forward.
When you aren’t in an office environment, it can be easy to lose sight of the whole reason you’re working from home in the first place. A supportive team around you, in an office environment, can improve work performance.
Best Practices For Managing Your Remote Team
To make sure the challenges of running a remote team don’t overwhelm you and your employees, these are a list of best practices you can implement to make sure that some of your big challenges, such as communication, don’t become an impossible hurdle.
1. Hold Stand-Ups Daily
To make sure your team is all on the same page, you can use a daily stand up to bring everyone back into alignment. It’s perfect for remote workers, as you’ll no doubt have people working in different time-zones or regions.
You want the stand-up to give your team the opportunity to answer three simple questions:
- What did you do yesterday?
- What will you do today?
- Is there anything that’s blocking you or in your way?
Doing this daily helps to give your team insight into the progress of the whole team, it also helps them know what to expect in the next couple of days.
It’s also an amazing opportunity to get your team to commit to a goal publically. As always, when held to a certain standard, more gets done, especially when they set that standard themselves.
You can use different tools for your stand-ups, some favorites are Tatsu (which works directly with Slack) or Status Hero. Don’t forget to include yourself in the daily stand-ups.
2. Collaborate in Real Time
One of the biggest obstacles you may encounter as a business is figuring out how to collaborate on projects while working. Technology has been a big help in trying to come up with a solution to this problem.
Google Drive & Dropbox Paper go a long way in making it easier to edit and write work on the go-between multiple contributors. You can also share files quickly through Slack.
The trick is to keep on top of all the projects and remove any unnecessary roadblocks.
3. Meetings 2.0 – The Video Conference
Just because you don’t have an office doesn’t mean you can’t have meetings. One of the biggest aspects of keeping up to date with your team is video conferencing.
To avoid the all too often blurry images that you’ll encounter you can use tools like Zoom to set up a system where one person can be streaming video, and everyone else operates with audio, to reduce the risk of bandwidth problems.
4. Stay Super Organized
When you look at the number of tools out their for organizations, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Don’t worry, just because there are 100 ways to do something doesn’t mean you have to do it that way.
Make sure from Day 1 you keep yourself organized. Use resource planning tools and password managers to control all your passwords. Use productivity tools like Trello or Asana to stay on top of all your scheduling and to-do-lists.
Time to Launch Your Remote Team
Now you know all the secrets to managing a remote team successfully, it’s time to get started. Remember, if you’re ever concerned about how hard your team works just remember this little fact.
Remote workers are almost twice as likely to work beyond 40-hours a week.
If you need support launching your first business get in touch with us today.