Working with a remote team is a special partnership. If you think about it, each teammate is working from a different location, time zone, city, workspace, etc. to meet the same workplace goals as you have set in your business plan.
According to a study conducted by FlexJobs and Global Analytics, from 2005 to 2017, there was a 159% increase in the number of Americans working remotely. As of 2015, there were approximately 3.9 million people working remotely, and counting. Clearly, many businesses and companies and even employees prefer to work remotely.
If you’re launching a new business, it’s very likely that you’ll hire a remote employee or team to help you in your endeavor. In fact, incorporate hiring a remote team is an important component of your business plan. Investors view this as a cost-saving measure.
To gain the maximum benefits of having a virtual team, here are four tips to help you better manage one:
Set Clear Expectations From The Start
Whether you’re working virtually or in-person, every company has its own expectations. Clearly state what these expectations are from the start. This will keep your remote team focused on the same goals.
Plainly state these, and any other expectations you may have:
- Work Hours
- Project deadlines and timelines
- Meeting dates and times
- Task assignment
- Communication system
- Response to emails
- Guidelines for professional communication
Be sure to include your company’s remote team expectations in your business plan.
In remote teams, each employee has his or her own unique schedule which outlines their personal and professional lives. Since each teammate is working from a different location, any chat messages, notifications, emails, shared files, etc. can disturb or interrupt their personal schedules. To resolve this concern, talk about work schedules with each team member. Share each employee’s work time schedule with everyone on the team. This lets everyone know when that particular person is available for communication. It also shows that you care and respect each employee. In the long run, it helps build a positive working relationship.
Embrace and Encourage Cultural Diversity
Not surprisingly, remote teams are made up of a colorful mix of cultures, ethnicities, races, ages, etc. Unfortunately, amidst all this vivid diversity, conflict and misunderstanding can easily arise. The best way to build a strong team is to learn how people from different cultures and countries communicate, i.e. give and receive feedback. Know which holidays and festivals they celebrate and remember to wish them joy on those days. You can also host annual team getaways, giving everyone a chance to meet at the same vacation destination. Respecting cultural differences and embracing their practices, helps build a strong team and connected team.
Invest In Good Project Management Software
Investing in a good project management tool should be a part of your business plan. Project management software is essential in completing a project. It keeps your team under a single ‘virtual’ roof; ensuring that everyone is on the same page. Apart from setting up a project timeline and assigning tasks, PM software can help you achieve the following:
- Track each team member’s productivity
- Host discussions
- Promote interactions across several time zones
- Share files in real-time
- Track project evolution
- Communicate with your remote team
- Manage tasks
Managing your remote team effectively is the key to executing your business plan. It requires skill, patience, flexibility, and stellar communication skills. With these tips in hand, you can successfully manage your remote team.