The workplace is changing. Gone are the days of the 9 to 5 office worker—advancements in technology allow employees to be able to work from anywhere, anytime. Attitudes toward remote work are also shifting and companies both big and small are adapting to this new reality. In fact, companies like CLEVER are choosing to “ditch the office” altogether and opting to “work from anywhere” while having regular offsite team meetings in lieu of occupying their own physical office.
Telecommuting and managing remote teams has its benefits and its challenges. It isn’t for everyone but with an open mind, the right tools and lots of communication—it is possible. Here are some tips on how to make it work for you.
Hire the Right People
Not everyone is cut out for remote work but there are plenty of candidates out there who thrive in an autonomous and flexible work environment. One advantage to hiring a remote team is the ability for employers to hire the best employees from around the globe. What's more, studies show that remote employees are happier and more productive.
Still, even the employees most experienced at working remotely need a change of scenery from time to time. When they’re feeling social, they might relocate to a café and when they need quiet to get some focused work done, they might set up in a Breather for the day. As their manager, it’s a simple and cost-effective perk that you can offer your team.
“Communication is key” is not just a cliché. You’d be surprised how many managers simply don’t talk to their employees enough. Yet, most managers will tell you that the biggest thing that will derail a project is poor communication. Constant communication is especially important for remote teams.
Good news! There are plenty of tools out there to help you better communicate with your team (more on this later). But the truth is, nothing can replace one-on-one time between a manager and an employee. If you’re unable to plan regular offsite meetings with your team because you don’t live in the same city, schedule weekly video calls instead. More face time with managers leads to happy remote workers who feel like they’re truly part of the team.
Use the Right Tools
To be successful at leading a remote team, you’ll need to put the processes and tools in place that will help keep everyone in touch and organized. You’ll probably want to brush up on your project management skills and consider using a project management software like Basecamp. Since good communication is vital to running an effective remote team, use Slack for messaging, voice and video calling. Trello is a great tool for task management and Jell allows you to run virtual daily standup meetings.
Tools like these unite team members, make projects and progress visible and enable teams to reach their goals faster and more efficiently.
Get your team’s buy-in by setting up a workflow (process and tools) that makes each team member accountable to each other and to getting work done. Every employee works slightly differently so be flexible, set expectations and give them the space they need to complete their tasks.
Telecommuting requires a different way of thinking on a manager’s part too. Set your team up for success by clearly defining goals and trust that they will complete their work when they say they will and within a reasonable amount of time.
Remote team management can be challenging but with a little effort, it’s totally doable.
Remote work is the future. Want to stay ahead of the curve? Book one of our workspaces for your next team offsite—your employees will thank you for it.