7 Tips for Startups & Small Businesses to Manage Remote Teams

Getting the most out of a remote team can take planning, time and effort. However, here are some hard learned tips to help you do so easily.

 1- Choose the right individuals

Remote work definitely requires qualified and self-motivated workers who are capable enough to do their work with minimal amounts of supervision.

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Skilled managers are also needed who are able to develop strong working relationships with their teams that are located in various geographic areas and allow them to perform in a manner as efficient as possible.

 

2- Establish reporting systems and schedule working hours  

When employees work from home that doesn’t mean that regular working hours aren’t applicable to them.  Make sure to establish specific times when your remote employees are required and expected to be working and available.  It helps to get things done more efficiently and quickly when everyone is working at the same time.  In situations where employees are located in different time zones, determine when the best times of reaching them are.

reporting-system

Set up communication channels and reporting systems with your remote teams to help with troubleshooting, supervision and collaboration.  This might involve having a daily conversation via instant messenger, a conference call every day with your remote teams, or any other kind of platform that works the best to help stay on top of your company’s work schedules.

 

3 -Make use of the best technology

When it comes to working with remote teams, your best friend is technology.  Organizations with remote working arrangement should definitely make use of mobile computing devices – smartphones, tablets and laptops.  One smart way of cutting overhead costs and being flexible towards the preferences of employees is to adopt a BYOD policy.

In addition to using emails, cloud computing should also be used for accessing, modifying and storing data that your teams are working on.  Collaboration and project management tools such as Nutcache  can help remote teams stick with their deadlines, brainstorm new projects and contribute ideas.  They also help managers clearly track progress and assign responsibilities.

team-communication

Instant messaging tools such as Google Hangouts or Skype can be used for free to make it possible for remote teams to have face-to-face interactions.  To help with troubleshooting from long-distance, screen sharing tools such as TeamViewer can be used.

 

4- Set clear expectations and goals

In regular places of work, employees are able to learn what is expected from them from subtle clues that they pick up during face-to-face interactions with co-workers and managers in addition to goals that are written down.

smart goals

Remote workers do not have the benefit of all of frequently face-to-face interactions or water cooler conversations on a daily basis that regular employees have.  That is why it is critical to set clear goals and expectations for your remote workers.  Define both macro and micro goals, as well as long deliverables down to the smallest details in order to avoid having any miscommunication. Here are some tips.

 

5- Be in contact with your head office teams on a daily basis

As previously discussed, remote workers do not have the same opportunities for one-on-one interactions on a daily basis that people working in an office do.  Those kinds of interactions are very helpful in building a sense of belonging, in understanding  workplace dynamics and building a strong team spirit.

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These feelings can be fostered within your remote employees by making sure that they have interactions on a daily basis with other functional teams and their manager.  This helps to prevent them from feeling they are being left out of what is taking place in the office.  It also helps to develop a sense of seriousness that can sometimes be lost by remote workers when they work from home instead of a corporate environment.

 

6- Provide regular feedback and incentivize productivity

Competition among coworkers frequently pushes them to produce better results and excel.  Quite often remote workers don’t have any coworkers around to measure their performance against.  Make sure your remote workers are kept informed in terms of how their work is measuring up to others. Offer resources, tools and tips to help them overcome certain challenges they are having.

feedback-incentives

Each time your remote teams go above and beyond the expectations that have been set, be sure to reward them.  It doesn’t need to be a monetary reward every time – even an email to the whole team recognizing good work or a pat on the back can also spur motivation and raise spirits.

 

7- Be available to help with troubleshooting

Just like onsite teams often need help from other cross-functional teams or their managers, make sure that your remote teams know they can contact you and other key team members working onsite whenever they need guidance or are faced with a stumbling block.

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Make sure that lines of communication are kept open. This is just as important as actually get problems solved from a remote location.

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