It has become common for businesses to hire a remote team to reduce costs, however, managing one is not easy for everyone. Due to the distance, communication is a major concern. To ensure that there is proper communication and efficient workflow between your in-house staff and remote team, here are seven tips you can do to effectively manage your team.
Create your own onboarding process
Since your employees are working remotely, they can't be physically at your company to learn the ropes.
Make sure you have a training program prepared to welcome and orient your remote team or employee. It can be a video or a presentation informing them about your company, their roles and responsibilities, what they can expect from the company and the job, your workflow process, key people to contact, and other information your remote team should know.
It's best if you can give them enough time during the onboarding so they can adjust to your work process and to know more about your company and your team's scope of work.
Know what communication process works for you
Businesses use various project management and collaboration tools to effectively communicate with each other. Choose which communication tools will work best with your in-house and offshore.
- Chat applications - Apps like Slack, Skype, and Google Hangouts are great tools for needed real-time interaction.
- Video call - Seeing the other person you're talking to makes it much easier to communicate something. Talking mostly via chat or email can make you more distant to your team, so video calls can break the distance barrier and help you become closer to your remote team.
- Project management tools - These are helpful to organise and keep track of all the tasks within your team. Project management tools allow you to also share information with your whole team so it's easier to collaborate with each other. Popular project management tools are Trello, Asana, and Microsoft Project.
- Screen sharing tools - This can be especially useful when you need to show something to your remote team that's on your laptop or desktop. Some applications can even control another person's screen remotely. From giving instructions to demonstrating a process, screen sharing is also useful so your remote team can learn the ropes in your workflow.
Set a regular meeting
Having a fixed meeting rhythm aligns both your in-house and remote team. Schedule a regular meeting with your team and a meeting for the entire company, if needed.
Daily stand-up meetings or daily scrum is also great for sharing progress updates. This would usually take less than 10 minutes.
How often you should meet would depend on your team's availability and their type of work. Just be careful not to require too many meetings as it can also take up the time when your employees should be working.
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Appoint a team lead
Appointing a team lead can help manage responsibility among your team. A team lead can collate all updates and issues and directly report it to you. Having a point person can lessen the time you spend meeting with the whole team.
Your team lead can also help you manage your remote team by becoming a manager figure. If your management style is kind of hands-off, appointing a reliable team lead can help you better manage your teams.
Be mindful of time zones
Your remote team, especially if it's an offshore team, has their own office hours. If they're not working during the same work hours as you do or don't have many overlapping hours, make sure you are wary about their working hours as to not disturb them beyond these hours.
Unfortunately, some managers are not that mindful of their remote team's time difference and this can potentially put off the team. If you are going to contact them during their late hours, clarify that they can reply by the time they start their work hours. Be mindful of and flexible in both your work hours.
Luckily, you can find some remote teams who work in their client's time zone. Working in the same time zone would make processes and communication much easier for both the business and the remote team.
Meet your team, if possible
Meeting your team, if you can, will greatly help create a good working relationship. Take time to get to know them, check on their office environment, and how their daily routine looks like to get a better sense of how your remote team are doing.
Clean Link Managing Director James Stringer visits his offshore developers in the Philippines. According to him, “On my first day here, when I came to the office it immediately struck me what a happy office it is, everybody seems very content but also very busy. Equipment's really good and the welfare, the facilities for the staff are excellent. That gives me peace of mind that I know my guys are happy here.”
Watch James and his remote team work together upon meeting here.
Create a great work culture
Remember that your goal is to make your remote team feel like they are also part of your in-house team regardless of their location. Make an effort to build camaraderie and good working relationships between your in-house and remote team. You're not just building a strong independent offshore team; you're growing your business altogether.
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