Let’s face it: An increasing number of people will start working virtually or remotely in the near future. In fact, this trend has already taken a boost with the introduction of the COVID-19 pandemic although it is not something new. Still, most of us have little or no experience in managing remote teams and even feel that productivity can go down.
However, studies have reported that remote teams feel more engaged than those on the site and are more likely to work over 40 hours per week. Obviously, this is not going to happen overnight. At the same time, it calls for no complex plans to be executed or a magic wand to be turned.
For running a remote team effectively, you need to handle both the challenging and routine nuances of a virtual workplace. Things that work efficiently in an office may not always transform exactly when it comes to handling remote employees. Keeping this in mind, here are 5 tips to run a remote team for your online business:
Make Your Formal Talk a Bit Informal
It is fine to make a video call and talk about what is to be done and get back to work if you have less time for the same. However, this is not what you should do every time. In fact, you should start your first communication with the intention to build rapport with each team member.
Rapport will aid you to go through the issues each team member has, build trust in you, and provide you the benefit of the doubt if you are at a fault or make a tough decision. It does not come from just talking about work; it comes from knowing each member as an individual person.
Thus, ask them what their career goals are, what they prefer, how their family is, and where they belong to. Show them that you care for them and genuinely respect their preferences and motivations. Doing so becomes more important for members whom you see only once a while.
Be Flexible on Working Hours
Employees enjoy their freedom of work hours. This is fine! Accept it! Embrace it! Stop insisting on your timings! Yes, the duration of six to eight hours should be met but do not be firm on one single work timing, such as 9 am to 6 pm.
However, come to a mutual agreement on some time frames. For example, a specific tester in Belgium works for eight hours from 11 am every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and from 10 am on the other two weekdays. This should be fine and should be communicated to the entire team to know about his availability.
Keeping such things informed gives peace of mind to the whole team. The no-workhours will aid in living their personal lives and sleep well instead of working around the clock.
Stop Micro Monitoring
Even if you cannot see what your team is doing the whole day, trust them! Let them finish a task the way they prefer. You simply ensure that you get the intended result. Well, this does not mean not to review or take feedback. Just do not check every single detail and instruct them every time exactly what they need to do.
Be Simple and Neutral in Communication
A remote team is likely to be multicultural. Further, on a call or a chat, it is more difficult to know what’s behind a few expressions. So, it is wise to use simple words and neutral statements to avoid conflicts. Never use irony or complex statements. Do not even go with harsh criticism, as many people find it rude.
Boost Team Skills
You know you care about their career goals, but you do not show it well. One of the ways to do so is to give them a chance to upgrade by inviting them to some advanced training or a part-time course for free. While they will be happy to learn something new, you, too, will benefit from it.
You may be excited to handle your first team of remote members; it may be that an existing member will now work from a geographically distant place or you are specially chosen to handle a dispersed team. No matter what the reason is, you can handle them well. It all boils down to healthy team leadership.
Photo credits: eOffice