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How to Manage Remote Teams

By Barbara Beauregard   |    November 30, 2017   |    9:03 AM


Guidance for Managing Remote Teams

Thanks to the wonders of technology, your business need not be limited by the pool of people in your locality when hiring talent; there are skilled people reachable at the touch of a few buttons across the globe. More and more companies are working with remote teams and reaping all the cost savings and talent acquisition bonuses this entails. Much as we have heard about the merits of remote teams, unfortunately, there is not much guidance on how to manage remote teams. This is crucial for success. This article will help you to run your remote team.

Hire the Right Team

Remote work is not for everyone. Before you even start working with a remote team, it is important to hire the right sort of people. Focus on hiring people who: work well independently, are trustworthy, and who do not need constant encouragement or someone to check up on them. On the other hand, they also need to be good communicators, rapid to respond to emails or calls when you do contact them and able to communicate key ideas quickly and easily.

Use Multiple Communication Methods

Communicating remotely with a team you may not have met face to face is very different from conversing in person. You need to make sure, when managing a remote team, that your message is clearly understood. Different communication mediums should therefore be used according to what your goal is to ensure you do not miscommunicate. Email is notoriously misinterpreted but chatting to employees is not formal enough to deliver work instructions. Pick your avenues of communication wisely. For example, if something is really important, you should always call your employees or Skype with them. On the other hand, for informal talk and group discussions chat tools work best. To deliver short, objective messages prioritise email.

Set Clear Expectations

A remote team is naturally much less structured than an onsite team, therefore managing a remote team means creating structures and frameworks for employees. The most important task is to set expectations every single week. This does not mean waiting for things to go wrong and then stepping in. Every week every team member should be aware of their goal for the week and month ahead, what tasks and projects they are heading or part of, how much work they are expected to put in, when their next important deadline is and when they need to be available for team meetings or other important discussions.

Build Bonds

Just because your remote team is far away that does not mean you should treat them like robots that have no life beyond working for you. It is vital to build rapport with every single member of your remote team. Without a personal relationship with you, remote workers will have little incentive to work for your company. Building rapport is synonymous with building trust. When members of the team trust their manager, they will come to you with problems, mistakes and have the confidence to question an unpopular decision. Building a relationship with someone does not come from sending work emails. It takes work to get to appreciate someone as a complete person with a family, friends, unique needs and interests. Taking the time to get to know staff will inspire respect and motivate them to want to do well at their job.