Today’s blog post comes from guest blogger Luke Petit of Remote-How.
Within the modern job market, many employers are beginning to realize the benefits that remote work can bring. Increases in productivity, greater work-life harmony and a reduction in operating costs are just some of the positive aspects of having a distributed workforce. In order for these things to happen, though, an employer needs to make sure that they are effectively managing their remote teams. For those new to flexible working conditions, this can sometimes prove to be a challenge. You simply can’t manage people in the same way you would in a co-located office. However, if you set up your remote team for success from the get-go, you can be sure that your employees will work together more efficiently and harmoniously.
1. Make regular check-ins using video calls
While asynchronous written communication can be great to set tasks and refer back to notes, video calls can really help clear up the miscommunication that can occur in emails or chat messages. Being able to converse fluidly and naturally can also save time and effort. It’s a much more personal way of communicating, helping your team form tighter interpersonal relationships. Plus, video meetings can give you a much-needed break from typing all day!
2. Make use of the best tools for the job
The kinds of tools needed to successfully manage a remote team can be very different to those used in a physical location. They’re also more important, as you will need to rely more heavily on these tools to keep the remote office running smoothly. Instant messaging applications like Slack, project management tools like Trello or Asana, virtual office platforms like Sococo, and other software can help you collaborate and stay in touch easier. Making sure everyone has access to shared documents and spreadsheets through Google Suite will make everyone’s lives easier as well.
3. Encourage informal conversation and watercooler moments
By creating more informal channels for communication and encouraging people to take the time to use them, you’ll find yourself with a happier and more productive workforce. These watercooler moments–whether they take place in a Slack channel or a room in your Sococo virtual office–will help your employees relax and get to know each other better. When remote workers feel more at ease with one another and develop social relationships, they’re much more likely to cooperate. It’s not uncommon for these short, social interactions to also turn into mini brainstorming sessions that improve the team’s workflow.
4. Make goals important, not hours
One of the key aspects of remote work is the flexibility it offers in the hours you have to work. By prioritizing deliverables and not hours worked, you’ll reduce time waste and give employees the freedom to work when and how they’re most productive. If work is completed on time and to a good standard and you set this as an expectation, the amount of time spent should be irrelevant.
5. Successfully build a company culture
If your remote workers don’t feel like a part of the team, then you may struggle to encourage enthusiasm or collaboration with their coworkers. Building a cohesive company culture is even more important when you’re not in the same physical office space. Lay out your values, goals and practices clearly from the beginning. Social interaction can help communicate and strengthen culture, so make sure to be enthusiastic and genuine in helping your employees build lasting and beneficial relationships.
6. Try organizing a physical meet-up every so often
Just because your team is productive and collaborative when you’re all working remotely doesn’t mean you can’t try to organize a physical meeting once in a while. A company retreat, interspersed perhaps with the occasional in-person meeting and workshop, can work wonders in creating a unified team. Along with building culture and promoting high-energy cooperation, these trips are fun for everyone involved and provide great returns if successfully planned and executed.
7. There’s no such thing as over-communication
Regular communication is great when working with remote teams. Making sure everyone is up to date on projects can prevent unexpected delays. Since you can’t walk by someone’s desk to see how they are getting on, make use of your instant messaging programs or virtual office software to see if anyone is facing roadblocks. But remember, there is a fine line between what is acceptable in terms of communication and what ends up being unproductive. Make sure that you are communicating in a constructive way.
8. Promote healthy practices
Healthy and happy workers do great work. Suffering too much from stress, burn out or unhealthy work habits will be detrimental to a remote worker’s health and performance. We all want to make sure that our teams are working well, healthy and enjoying themselves! Mindfulness, breathing techniques, healthy eating and manageable workloads will all help keep everyone in great mental and physical shape. If you notice that someone is having a difficult time, reach out and see if you can help.
Looking for new remote employees or a fantastic remote job?
Hungry to learn more about how you can grow your remote team or find a job with flexible working arrangements? Sign up for the free Remote Future Summit – the leading global conference about remote work. In 2019, we are proud to be Partners of the event, together with Remote-how. We’re pushing the envelope with a goal of 10,000 virtual participants, a more interactive formula, and physical meet-ups in some of the world’s best remote working hubs. The conference takes place from May 15-17. Join us online from anywhere. Grab your seat here: https://remote-future.com/
Sococo is an official partner of the event. Take a tour of a Sococo virtual office here.