Technology keeps moving at breakneck pace today. As such, more and more organizations need more digital skills to be leveraged. Those with the requisite digital skills do not necessarily need to be physically present to do their work, thanks to the Internet. As a result, corporations, brands, and entrepreneurs have taken on more remote positions to recruit.
The number of remote jobs that people get hired for rises year after year. It is not shocking that for the hirer and the hired, distant jobs have their advantages. There are, however, a few problems associated with remote work that a lot of people remain quiet about. These issues range from the hired person’s time management problems and the difficulty of tracking the hirer’s progress. As such, you have to learn how a remote team can be handled.
How do you handle a team that’s remote?
The best way to get things done in a corporate company has always been to work in the workplace. This was before the advent of advanced technology for information networking and online entrepreneurship.
Now, however, things have changed. People are more flexible about their work environment, but you need to know a few things to do this properly.
Here are seven tips that will help you efficiently manage a remote team, if you are outsourcing to a freelancer who will send you a pro forma invoice or an actual employee:
- Ensure that you are easily accessible
People who work remotely for you are not in the same position as you are. People that are physically at the office with you see you nearly all the time. To make inquiries or send a progress report of sorts, they can simply step into your office. A remote employee, however, does not exactly have that luxury. He’s a few, or a few, as the case may be, miles from you. Communication is crucial in industry, as in practically any other field of life.
There is a risk that work could slow as a result if your remote staff can not quickly access you. You would not have the right to accept papers. In exchange, they will not be able to step on with the work that needs to be done. Unfortunately, there will still be slackers who will take advantage of your unwillingness to slow down the production of your work.
As such, you have to make sure that you can be easily reached by your staff. Not all the time maybe. When they’re not doing night shifts, no one wants incessant calls at 2 am. Do not ghost them, however, during work hours.
- Communicate effectively and as often as you can
Communication is crucial in industry. Ensuring that work is completed efficiently is very critical. Sadly, some individuals seem to neglect this while interacting with remote teams, and they leave things to play out themselves.
To be open is not enough. If you don’t make any attempt to reach them either, leaving your phone on so you can receive calls does not really do anything. Recall that they operate remotely. They appear to distract themselves. Connect to find out how things are going, as much as possible. When you get an outcome that you are not too pleased with, express your opinion as much as possible. We can’t overstate the meaning of that.
- Try to minimize multitasking
Remote employees see working remotely much of the time as a way to get more work done. As such, they multitask at times.
This decreases levels of productivity. You just cannot afford to lose anything to their unproductivity, resulting from multitasking. When you don’t see them, it can be hard to stop them from multitasking. Nonetheless, a good way to do this is only when you want to transfer specific data by video calling instead of voice.
That way, you can be positive that they’re listening.
- Be attentive to time zones
The Internet has made the whole world basically one big global village. As a consequence, from halfway around the globe, you will have individuals working for you. You’ve got to be sensitive about this. Your employee may have just done tucking her little boy in when you are up and “ready to go get ’em,”. It is more likely that she does not want to start working then. Pay heed, therefore, to their periods of day and night. You will get full efficiency that way.
- Meet as much as possible physically
It’s excellent to operate remotely. However, we are social beings at our heart, and we require human contact. Besides that, meeting physically for team-building is fine. Every three months, it may be. This may be quarterly. Whenever you can, however, try to get everyone together for a meeting. For companies, it does not necessarily have to be a business meeting.
- Be more concentrated on goals than on activities
Many remote employees seem to “oddly” divide their time. They can spend the entire day in their comfort zones and not do too much, but then stay up working the whole night. There is a propensity for you to be outraged if you put a call to someone like that and find that s/he is not working. You are, after all, paying them.
This uproar, unfortunately, wouldn’t make much of a difference. As such, simply encourage them to accomplish them on their own terms, but within the deadline, after setting the targets for your staff. You may then go ahead and impose necessary penalties if they do not meet the defined targets.
Setting key performance metrics also helps to ensure that employees hit their objectives. For example, if you are an online marketing company and you have a website developer creating an e-commerce online store for a customer, setting e-commerce KPIs would help keep him/her on track even if he/she works remotely.
- Keep your goals clear
This will cover everything from the time you are available and everything else in between to the meeting times. They work remotely, and they probably have other things to do with their time. They need to be able to prepare if they are going to be successful. They need to know when you want to do this and so, in order to do that.
It takes quite a bit of experience when it comes to handling individuals. In order to learn how to do it, people even go so far as to take management courses online with certifications. However, it is a method that is easily achievable with continuity, commitment, and the tips mentioned above.
I am an Entrepreneur and Angel Investor. Board Member of TiE SoCal Angels Fund, and CEO @ Optizm Global, the executive search firm. We are a Right Fit Recruitment & Placement Agency.
I’m the Co-Founder of “StartupSteroid” the platform to connect founders with investors.
I am also the President of TiE SoCal, a non-profit, global community welcoming entrepreneurs from all over the world. We believe in the power of ideas to change the face of entrepreneurship and growing business through our five pillars: Mentoring, networking, Education, Incubating, and Funding. Our presence is in 14 countries with 62 chapters, 15K members, and 3K Investors & Mentors
As an Angel Investor I look for Business Plan, Cashflow, Core Team, Board of Advisors, Secure IP, Quality Investors, Monetization Models, USP, Scalability, Strong Returns, Growth Market, and Board Role.