Teams that span time zones, and even countries, are becoming more natural and popular every year. Allowing remote workers can increase business cash flow, and make employees happier. Implementing this strategy can help your business save money on office expenses, benefits, and miscellaneous expenses (like team lunches). Even though remote teams sound perfect on the service you must remember that they will not work with some business types, and that they can be very difficult manage. This article will dive into the 5 best tips to successfully managing a remote team.
#1 Be Consistent in Communicating With Your Remote Employees
The most important thing you can do to have a successful relationship with your remote workers is to be consistent in your communication with them. Setup a time every day or every other day to communicate with them and go over their work. The consistency will make these employees feel like they are a part of something bigger than freelance work. And it will separate the good employees from the rest.
Be openly available in case your employees have questions or need added direction. In many ways having remote employees means getting to know them a lot better than you currently know your employees you share an office with. The communication does not have to be very long every day, but the goal is to just be consistent in your efforts.
#2 Set Clear Expectations With Remote Workers
Do your remote employees know what you expect of them? Do they understand their tasks, responsibilities, and their ability to evoke change in your organization? If not then you are doing it wrong. Make sure that you set clear expectations with these employees from day 1. Let them know what work output you expect and then use your consistent communication to hold them accountable. This weeds out the bad employees, and increases overall productivity.
#3 Praise Your Remote Workers
Many remote employees do not feel like their work is appreciated. It is tough working from home all by yourself. Your only communication with your team is via phone or video chat. This can be hard for a lot of people. They often need to feel appreciated and that their work is making a difference. If you are using all of the time you have with your remote workers to point out the things they did wrong or the items on their submitted work that they must change, then you are setting your relationship and remote worker program up to fail.
All employees appreciate praise. Even if you need to point out many things that they can correct or change about either themselves or the work they are doing. Starting and finishing your conversations by pointing out things that the employee does well can not only motivate, but it also keeps their first and last communication with positive.
#4 Create the Right Culture
One of the biggest prerequisites for having remote employees is the ability to setup your culture to be accepting of remote workers. This is especially important if you have a group of employees in a single location (like a regular brick and mortar office). Having some employees in a different spot can make them feel isolated from everyone else if your culture is not built for it. This means that your other employees are not accepting of them as part of the team or if you do not allow the remote employees the same opportunities as everyone else.
So creating a culture of acceptance to a remote workforce is a matter of 3 things.
- Making sure everyone has the same opportunities to grow within the company.
- Including remote workers in all department or company meetings.
- Creating an atmosphere of inclusion through all employees, and holding your “office employees” accountable for not having the same attitudes towards your remote workforce.
#5 Provide the Same Opportunities
This one ties into #4 a little bit, but it is very self-explanatory. You need to create the same opportunities to grow within your business for every employee. You cannot discriminate against employees that work in a different state. If they are the most qualified when a management position opens up then give them the job and let them figure out how to manage their team from afar.
This is a concept that will not work for every business type. However, if it can work then you should make it work for you. If you do not truly believe this and work at making it a success then you might as well not having remote employees. You really just want remote freelancers. While that may be a good strategy to get highly skilled talent, it can come with its own challenges.
Remote Employees for My Startup
In many ways, having remote employees from the foundation of your company is the best choice. It creates a culture that everyone understands from day 1, and any potential employee that has a problem with it can be weeded out before they are hired. Additionally, there are large savings from being completely remote at the beginning of your business. You do not have to come up with funds for expenses that other startups do such as rent and utilities.
It is also easier as a startup to hire remote workers as freelancers or contract workers for awhile until your revenues are consistent. If you choose to go down that road then you could save additional amounts of money from benefits, payroll taxes, and other employee perks that it takes to compete.
The Smart Hack
Overall, having a remote workforce can be beneficial to your business and rewarding for you. Having remote employees means you get to choose from the best skillsets across the country instead of being restricted to employees that live close to your office. This will increase the knowledge base of your employees, and should translate to success if you can figure out how to properly integrate and manage these employees into your individual workforce.