Small business owners are quickly realizing the benefits of having remote teams in place. They’re seeing that productivity and employee well-being are increasing, and that startup costs are decreasing.
If you’re a business owner and you’re considering hiring only remote workers, there are a few benefits and downsides to keep in mind. You’ll have access to a larger talent pool, and be able to pick the best employees from all over the world. You can also save big on physical office costs like rent, furniture, supplies, insurance, and utilities. Some companies report higher productivity levels among employees who have the option to work from home, while others find that telecommuting employees are happier and stick with their jobs longer.
The drawbacks of managing remote teams include the fact that you’ll have to give up some control. You can’t only hire employees who are super self-motivated; big heads could collide. And if you all aren’t working the same hours, it may be hard to touch base, as well as track what tasks are actually being completed.
Do you have dreams of managing your own remote team, but don’t know how to go about it? To help you succeed at running a remote business, here are some tips to keep in mind.
Use productivity tracking tools
Since your employees aren’t in a physical location together, they’re going to need somewhere to meet online. You could build your own meeting area on your website where employees can share documents, message one another, and look at each others’ schedules, or you can utilize one that already exists.
For example, there’s Slack, which allows for one-on-one and group messages, file sharing, deep search among company files, and encrypted data transfers. Or, you might want to look into Trello, a task management tool that allows you to create cards and schedules for different responsibilities. Within the cards, you can talk to all employees involved as well.
Hold in-person or video meetings
While phone and email meetings are fine on a daily basis, employees need to see you and one another in person. If that isn’t possible, you should video chat with them and touch base on an as-needed basis.
Don’t just Skype an employee when you need him or her to do something for you; start up a chat to ask how he or she is doing, and whether or not he or she needs anything from you to be more productive. You need to be able to see his or her facial reactions to be certain that both you and your employee are satisfied with how things are going.
By holding group video meetings, you’re fostering a sense of teamwork, and showing employees who else is in their shoes. There is no set formula that determines how often you should hold these meetings. Just make sure that when you do, you start with good news and praise your employees’ efforts. They need to feel a connection to your business, which is harder when they are remote.
Create employee profiles
Just because your employees are remote, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get to know them. Create profiles that include their name, age, location, work hours, and any other pertinent details. The time zone and working hours are especially important when it comes to trying to schedule meetings. If you don’t have all your employees’ schedules in one place, you’re going to waste time trying to figure it out if you have to initiate a company-wide Skype call or Google Hangout.
Communicate your expectations from the start
According to Marty Fukuda of Entrepreneur, it’s important to set your expectations of your employees right when they start working for you. Tell your employees when you need them to be available, how often they should attend meetings, which meetings are mandatory, and what goals you want them to accomplish.
When it comes to managing remote teams, you have to set guidelines at the start. By determining what you want out of your employees, as well as how you can best serve them, you’ll be setting yourself up for success with your new remote strategy.
As innovation in technology grows, so does our mobility. Companies no longer have to be tied to a single office or tethered to one particular city. In the blink of an eye, we can be connected to anyone in the world. Because of this ease in communication and connectivity, it won’t be long before desks become obsolete and we’re all buzzing around like bees in a worldwide hive.
Managing remote teams will only get easier. It may be a hard concept to grasp at first, but it’s the direction many companies are heading in.
Look at your business. What does it stand for and what’s at the heart of it? Ask yourself if it really needs that concrete foundation or if it’s strong enough to float on a sea of connectivity. Then you’ll know where to go from there.
Would you like to learn more about remote document management? Check out what we have to offer on our Contentverse website.