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Tips for Managing Remote Teams

Managing remote teams - a man working from home in shorts with desk with two monitorsSo many business employees are now telecommuting, that companies around the world are restructuring their management practices to meet the challenges of remote collaboration.

Because they tend to be more agile and open to change, small businesses are particularly well positioned to adapt to telecommuting. Increased productivity and happier employees who appreciate the added flexibility are just a few benefits winning over small business owners.

But telecommuting also presents some challenges – in particular, two core issues. These are keeping track of what remote workers are doing, and ensuring that remote and in-house teams form a cohesive unit.

These tips can help you effectively manage and support your remote employees.

Promote communication and accountability

Defining expectations and setting up methods to track results are essential elements of remote team management. Here are a few ways to make sure your remote workers understand what you expect from them:

  • Set up a shareable daily work log your remote workers can use to report their progress on ongoing projects (Google Drive offers some good options).
  • Utilise a project management system to exchange messages, assign tasks and monitor projects rather than relying solely on email.
  • Determine key indicators for success for each remote worker and share these indicators with your employees. These might be daily, weekly or monthly goals.
  • Conduct regular reviews with remote workers to assess their performance.

Include remote workers in office culture

Positive work culture and employee engagement are quickly becoming top priorities for business managers who want to retain top talent. These tips will help your remote workers feel just as valued and validated as your in-house team.

  • If your in-house workers enjoy a monthly pizza party, don’t forget to include your remote workers. Invite them to attend, have a meal delivered to them or offer a gift certificate to a favourite restaurant.
  • Get to know and spend time with your remote workers, just as you would with in-house staff. Set aside a few moments each day to inquire about their families, personal interests, recent challenges and successes.
  • Consider pairing up remote workers to complete complex tasks. You’ll improve efficiency while helping remote workers feel like part of the team.

Ready to enjoy the benefits of remote staff?

If the benefits of remote workers outweigh the risks in your view, try offering your staff a work day from home a week. Then, if it works out, you can try hiring remote employees. Some small business owners hire a remote employee in another region – a great way to expand their market.

If you trust your employees to work hard no matter where they’re located, the main thing then is to foster teamwork. A monthly on-site meeting that everyone must attend can encourage stronger relationships, allow opportunities to clear the air or discuss any challenges – and also improve a sense of teamwork and camaraderie.