There are plenty of reasons to use remote teams. Remote workers report high job satisfaction and being more focused and productive. For employers, a remote workforce can represent cost savings but they can also represent a challenge for managers. Some worry that without seeing their team daily it may be difficult to ensure a team is as effective as possible but that doesn’t have to be the case.
Here are a few guidelines for effectively managing remote workers
Set Clear Goals and Measurable Metrics
Focus on tangible objectives when establishing the metrics by which you can measure team performance. Asking your team to increase awareness for example without defining how it can be objectively measured only creates confusion. Your team’s goals should reflect your overall business goals but be specific to the work each member is responsible for. Effective goals are measurable and realistic.
Measurable goals allow you to track performance from period to period and establish how effective your team or the tools you are using are. Goals should be assessed regularly. Are the tools your team is using working effectively, are there other strategies that can be employed, should the goals be adjusted (this can work in both directions)? Keep in mind a metric you thought was key early on in you project may not be later on.
Communication is Key
One of the most important elements in teamwork is communication. This can be tough when your team doesn’t meet in a central place regularly. There are many tools available (insert tools article link) today that help teams, both who share an office and who don’t, keep the lines of communication open.
Chat software like Slack integrates into a variety of commonly used apps and allows teams to keep the conversation going wherever they are. Video and teleconferencing tools bring teams together to meet, learn, and collaborate in a synchronous digital space. You will also want to choose a project management app that works for your project. Many Like Trello are highly adaptable to a variety of teams and projects.
These programs will allow you to clearly lay out your project, its goals, and which members of your team are responsible for what. This helps keep the team on the same page about expectations and deadlines as well as identify sticking points in a project that may be impeding your progress,
It can be easy to forget that remote workers need as much feedback as your in-office staff. Make sure to build a mechanism to provide individual feedback for members of your team. This should include the method and frequency of feedback sessions.
Feedback is important to team cohesion and success. You should never assume a particular behaviour will self-correct or that everyone is satisfied. Even with the best communication tools and project management apps, it can be easy for distributed teams miscommunicate. Remember these sessions are also a valuable opportunity to receive feedback from your team as well.