Management is an art. It is the conglomeration of skills and knowledge which is targeted towards increasing business revenue. No business can be a one man show. Succeeding in business depends on many aspects crucial among the same being human resources and business environment. Both these aspects are highly dependent on many internal and external factors. Management of human resources in particular means managing people who hail from different social, economical and cultural backgrounds. Particularly when the business model is not direct, managing remote employees scattered across the globe becomes a huge real time challenge. Let us have a look at 21 ways to manage remote teams in the most effective manner for business success.
- Communication is the Key
Engaging remote teams in a constant manner is the key to succeed as a team. The disintegrated nature of remote working model tends to cultivate an aloof tendancy in professionals. Overcoming this by engaging them in a regular manner through various communication modes will ease out Remote Team Management. Technological developments offer many communication tools for the purpose some among the same being Skype, Mail and Group Chat applications. Apart from such communication tools, there are many applications which can be installed within your network of team members. Some communication applications you can go in for are Join.me, Sqwiggle, Slack, Quip and Gel. Choose the communication software that best fits in your business model.
- Communication mode matters a lot
Every organization is different irrespective of whether the working model is a personal one or a remote one. Decide on the communication model that suits best for your remote working style. Time zones play a crucial role in deciding the same. If time zones vary in a drastic manner Videos and E Mails can be some of the best options. If time zones are supportive, Phone Calls and Chats may facilitate quick decision making.
- Team Chats help a lot
Humans like to chat. Without making it look tough and officious, create chat rooms through applications available for the purpose. A couple of Chat applications that may serve this purpose are Slack and Skype. Create separate ID’s for official chatting and personal group interactions. This will ease out relationship issues helping remote employees manage the same in an effective manner.
- Share your screen
Sharing the screens of your computers makes the person sitting in a remote location feel at ease. The collaboration that happens brings in synchronization between efforts taken by team members in different locations. Software applications like Join.me, AnyDesk and TeamViewer enable such remote screen sharing efforts. Go in for applications which allow modifications in the other computer through your screen.
- Visual Communication is highly effective
Communication is highly effective when it is visual in nature. Create and share slides and short videos through tools like YouTube available for the purpose. You can also opt for applications like Jing or MySimpleShow which will enable you present the points you want to share in an impactful manner.
- Project Management practices are crucial
Small sized remote teams generally make us feel casual when it comes to managing projects. For cost cutting purposes or underestimating the effort involved, we choose mail interactions over regular Project Management tools. Project Management applications offers freedom from remembering conversations since they record everything. They track the status of the projects in a meticulous manner bringing in coercion in the efforts of team members working from their respective locations. This will always help remote team members to work in an organized manner making the model an easily manageable one. Some tools that complement your efforts towards Project Management in remote teams are Canva for Work, Asana, Google Apps for Work, Trello, Meistertask, Workamajig and Apollo.
- Documentation is the base
It is important that every team member who works physically away from each other to be in sync at all points of time. Document sharing is one way to achieve this synchronization. Using tools available for effective documentation will help save and access documents in a uniform manner. This will also safeguard the business interests by providing access to the updated version of spreadsheets and documents to every remote team member. DropBox, Google Drive, Box, One Hub and Huddle can be some of the options that can value add to your documentation efforts.
- Security must get your priority
Managing passwords and networking nitty-gritties among the team members working from remote locations must get your priority at all points of time. Be it granting access to the team members or sharing the information within the network, every activity needs to be safeguarded. Some tools that can help you to safeguard your network activities from hackers are iPassword for teams and Meldium.
- Flexibility complements productivity
Controlled levels of flexibility add to the positive psychology of team members working from remote locations. Ensuring that such flexibility does not result in chaos and business loss is prudence. Bring in practices where you are informed in advance about the absence of a team member working from a remote location. This will help plan the official activities like group chat etc. well in advance. Exercising flexibility to the limit that it does not affect the business productivity must be practiced at all points of time.
- Define systems in a holistic manner
Many remote business models fail due to the lack of common policies and procedures across employees working from remote locations. Define the systems to be followed by all team members and ensure the same is communicated to everyone. This will make every team member understand the possibilities and limitations of others in the team. The high levels of coercion and co-ordination that this understanding fosters will add absolute value to business development constantly.
- Productivity in terms of time
Time plays a crucial and basic role in remote working model. Managing time in an effective manner acts as the key to success in such models. Tracking the attendance of team members working from remote locations is one of the crucial activities. Setting the basic criteria to determine individual team member-wise productivity must be done right at the time of hiring individuals. This will help tracking the number of hours every individual works in a meticulous manner. Many Time Management tools are available for tracking the attendance of individuals working from remote locations. Some such tools are Paymo, Hubstaff, Harvest, When I Work, FunctionFox, Freckle and TeamBook.
- Productivity, in its real sense
Working from a remote location without human interaction in real time can sometimes be highly demotivating. Setting the performance parameters for every team member right at the time of hiring is important. Transparent and periodic communication with every team member will help understand the hiccups faced in case of non-performance. This will also pave way for the team member to take course correction if the same is required from his side. Many tools like SalesHandy helps track the performance of team members who work from remote locations.
- Overcome time zone differences
Remember to keep in mind the time zone differences between the team members while setting up practices and procedures for business development. Bring in practices that are congenial to your business environment as well as those that offer flexibility to all team members working in different time zones.
- Set up periodical reviews
Periodical reviews help understand the positives and negatives that are inbuilt in the remote working model. Such reviews also give a handle to address real time issues which may not be connected to the attitude or capability of team members. On the contrary, conducting reviews in a periodical manner provides opportunity to get away from team members who exhibits a callous attitude towards working.
- Choosing the suitable team member
Hiring is one of those crucial steps which require a lot of attention in a typical remote working model. All people who possess the required skill sets for the job may not be suitable for remote working. Working in a virtual manner calls for heights of honesty, self motivation and commitment than working in a direct mode. Ensure your interview is based on these aspects rather than the skill sets alone. It is always safe to hire people for short term particularly when the hiring is for remote working model. If their short term performance is commendable and convincing, absorb them into your regular roles.
- Pay plays an important role
Many people prefer the work from home model for the high levels of flexibility it offers than the direct working model. However, the stiff competition that prevails in the business arena may try to poach your key team members. Be a good pay master so you can leverage the strengths of your remote team members to your business advantage. This will also safeguard your business interests since your team members will be mentally attached to you. This will in turn disallow your competition from poaching them at any point of time.
- Background check to find the perfect fit
Virtual work calls for a lot of mental and emotional balance. One main aspect that must be supportive to the efforts of remote team member is his personal life. Ensure you carry out a thorough check about the family and personal life of the team member even before hiring him. Doing this through appropriate sources in the legally acceptable manner is important which will also safeguard your business interests.
- Bring them aboard with transparency
Every team member hired to work from remote location must be brought aboard providing enough information about the Company and his role. Ask questions to ascertain that he has understood everything about the Company. Set up systems that is common for all Employees. Ensure that the joining formalities are followed for all new Employees in a uniform manner.
- Inspire the remote team members
Get into the habit of creating videos as frequently as possible. Interactions through video acts as morale boosters since one tend to see the human beings who they are working with. Video messages are great ways to inspire the team members who work from remote locations.
- Human touch between Virtual team members
Create an environment that fosters human touch between the team members who work from remote locations. Arrange for periodic get together in a place that is accessible by all team members. Visit them on business purposes and increase your rapport levels with them. . Share with them your ideas for business development and take their inputs. This will create the all important emotional attachment in them making them identify themselves with the team.
- Appreciation and Motivation
Ensure that the systems you bring in succeed in identifying every little achievement of the team members working from remote locations. Make sure that every team member participates in the victory of other team members. Wish them on their important days like Birthday and Wedding Day as a team so they feel one in the same. Work out remote team building activities that would act as rejuvenators to every team member working in an aloof manner. A couple of tools that can help you promote positive environment through recognition and rewards are Awesome Boss and WooBoard.
Remember, the success of a business is mostly dependent on the synchronization levels of people working towards the same goal. The efficiency to manage people working in different time zones depends upon your capabilities to plan things in the appropriate manner. Ensuring that periodical remote team collaboration and brainstorming happens between team members is the key to managing remote teams successfully. Remote working model is a highly aloof structure which can be handled effectively only by self motivated people. Recognizing the efforts of team members working from remote locations is one of the basics that need to be practiced. Rewarding them in a timely manner for their contributions to business success will add immense value to the profitability directly. Make the best possible use of the different tools for remote teams and create win-win propositions at all points of time.