How do you handle remote team?
In a modern work set-up, it’s very common to find geographically dispersed teams- whether its locations, different time zones or just freelancers working from home- it just boils down to team effort.
But for obvious reasons handling teams not co-located has its limitations. Constant supervision becomes an impossible task. Professional trust is one of the biggest challenges. An open line of communication becomes vital. Establishing routines and patterns requires constant dedication. Getting the team members to work together and making them feel a part of the team becomes essential.
Here are a few proactive approaches that could make working remotely smoother and enjoyable:
- As a manager, set clear, deliberate expectations in advance.
- Communicate the ground rules for scheduled communications that are feasible to all the team members.
- As you cannot just walk down the hall to check on the progress, insist on regular status updates on the progress. Track their work with a system that works easily in terms of working hours.
- Make sure that the remote workers are aware that they are treated at par with the team members working elsewhere. Use the same metrics for the reviews.
- Having a scheduled visit to the work location could build trust. Understanding the work environment of the team member will help in knowing the drawbacks in delegating the work.
- Encourage communication through emails, video chats, or even using social apps such as WhatsApp that is accessible everywhere. But make sure to consider the timezones before expecting a reply from the team member.
- Create water cooler moments by having a casual conversation once in a while that would help in team bonding, especially with the work from home members.
- Remote teams could often feel that their work and effort are not noticed. Be generous in appreciating their effort during the team meetings. This will make them feel that their contributions are valued and accepted as a part of the team.
- Use technology such as WebEx, team viewer, Google Hangouts, Google Drive, and Skype to exchange data and for meetings. This could be less stressful and makes it easier to communicate.
- Make a constant effort to meet the team at least once a quarter, in person.
- Allow a degree of flexible working hours with some consistency.
- Test the new employee with short-term tasks before hiring full-time.
- Hire self-motivated and doers for the job as they do not need constant reminders on meeting their deadlines.
- Use the technology as much to automate anything that could be automated. It could be accessible at any time, by anyone irrespective of time or location.
Experiment the combinations that work best for your workplace and discover the equation.
Have you ever been a remote-worker yourself? If so, please share your experience with us.