Successfully running a business is all about maximizing your productivity, and the productivity of your team.
Chances are, if you’re running a small service-based business these days, you have a remote team; meaning your employees have to work from different locations.
A remote team is comprised of employees that work out from different locations but still function to fulfill a shared business purpose for the employer.
Although it is always preferable to prepare and train your team members long before you switch to remote work (that is, of course, if you are considering it), what happens in times of crisis or other rapidly changing circumstances?
The honest truth is, you might not attain the level of preparation you want and that’s okay because you can learn and even perfect managing business remotely once you start.
In this article, we’ll show you just how to.
Challenges of working remotely
To begin with, it is important to understand some factors that can make remote work challenging for people. Some of these factors include:
- Lack of face-to-face supervision: you and your team members having to work out from different locations. This, of course, is something that bothers both team supervisors and the members of the team. The team supervisors worry that employees will not work as efficiently as they would if they were all in the same space. Many employees, on the other hand, struggle with reduced access to supervisory attention and support. In fact, sometimes they might feel like their supervisor is not in touch with their needs or are helping them to get their job done.
- Lack of access to infrastructure: If your team members have trouble getting stable internet or electricity, this might reduce the efficiency of your workflow as they may not work as fast or effectively as they would in a circumstance where all these are provided.
- Distractions at home: Working from home may pose certain distractions to your team members. For example, if you have a young mum on your team, she might have to juggle taking care of the kids with her office tasks.
- The tendency to feel lonely: Loneliness is a very common complaint that people make about remote work. This is because employees miss out on informal social interaction of an office setting provides.
Best Practices for Managing Remote Workers
- Set clear expectations: Remote work becomes more efficient when you set expectations for the frequency, means, and ideal timing of deliverables and communication for your team. For example, you can set times for daily check-ins or tasks to be done during the week.
- Establish structured daily check-ins: To run a successful remote team, business owners establish a daily call/meeting with their remote employees. This could take the form of a team call or just texts on a group chat.
- Use tools: Managing multiple projects at once, delegating tasks, and collaborating across teams is difficult on a good day — but it can become almost impossible when you have to coordinate your team members remotely. Fortunately, there are tools to help. Here are some to get you started.
- Trello is an efficient project/team management tool that is great for remote working. Trello provides boards, lists, and cards that enable you to organize and prioritize your projects. With Trello, You can create your own workflow and collaborate with team members across tasks. It is also available on mobile (Andriod and iOS).
- Slack is a free online-based chat room that can be accessible to all team members. It is a great platform for share ideas and information in real-time This tool allows you and your team members to talk to one another either publicly or in private with its instant messaging feature. It also allows the user to incorporate apps such as Skype, Zoom, and MailChimp.
- Zoom is a group calling app with great audio and video quality. of the video. It is easy to use and even has a free plan to get started with. During remote Meetings & Video Chat, you can record the call with a full-length video. You can also share your screen with your audience for a better presentation.
- Google Meet: Ever heard of Google Hangouts? Well, Google Meet is the upgraded version of it and is suitable for video conferencing and webinars. With Google Meet, you can host video calls with up to 100 participants. The app also makes collaboration seamless because of its features like screen sharing and recording. If you are using Gsuite (for business) then you should take advantage of it, because Google Meet is an app that comes with the package.
- Google Drive, is one of the best tools offered by Google. Google Drive is a cloud storage platform to keep all your files in one secure and centralized location. It offers tools similar to Microsoft Word or Microsoft Excel to work and edit them online. You can share folders and documents with all your team members. As a plus, Google Drive files can be synced across devices, so you and your team can view and update them from anywhere.
- Provide opportunities for remote social interaction: One of the most important steps you can take is to structure ways for employees to interact socially (that is, have informal conversations about non-work topics) while working remotely. The easiest way to establish some basic social interaction is to leave some time at the beginning of team calls just for non-work items. For example, you could spend the first few minutes of your routine check-ins just asking how everyone is. You can offer encouragement and emotional support when you sense your team members need it.
There you go! Hopefully, this article gives you insights into how you can manage your team remotely.
Have you ever tried managing your team remotely? How did that work?