The increasing complexity of the way that work gets done around the world is one of the major forces shaping many of today’s most successful businesses. One of the key drivers for this is the technological developments, enabling people to collaborate and seamlessly work together – wherever they are and whatever their skill set.
However, if you are managing a remote team, there are a number of unique challenges that you have to negotiate, navigate, and resolve in order to get the best out of your team and deliver the results you need.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at some hints and tips to help you effectively manage a remote team.
Recruit the right people
Not everyone is cut out for working remotely as part of a virtual people. Some people prefer the social interaction of an office, others need the discipline of face-to-face management in order to deliver the required results. Look for people who have demonstrated that they can work in isolation and without supervision, but also are proven to be effective communications.
Give everyone a consistent experience
When you are recruiting new team members to your virtual team, it is important that you are giving them consistent information and comparable tools and systems. Even if they are doing different jobs or working on different projects, if they are part of your team you need to ensure that everyone follows a similar induction path, has a consistent understanding of your business goals and objectives, and clearly understands how the work that they do is contributing towards the success of the business and the success of the team.
Use the technology
Just because your team members are working remotely that does not mean that you can’t communicate on a regular basis. There are a lot of instant chat platforms – such as Dynamics 365 Field Service – that will enable your team members to have instant and real-time conversations with you and other team members. Where possible, use video – the additional richness of communication provided by video is particularly important if you are conveying important information or providing performance feedback.
Find ways to create team spirit
Look for some non-work related ways to give people a meaningful sense that they have a personal connection with the other members of the team. Even if your team members never meet face-to-face, the sense of belonging to something that’s bigger than just yourself is really powerful. Recognizing each other’s birthdays is a good start, or possibly get everyone involved in supporting a charity, or a sporting team. Encourage and facilitate personal friendships to develop between your remote team-members – using chat platforms such as Slack for non-work conversations is a positive thing, as it is helping to build that informal and interpersonal connectivity that high-performing teams need. It is ideal if you can arrange physical face-to-face meetings at some point – having a face-to-face meeting will dramatically accelerate the bonding process between your team members.
The key lessons here include: Know your team, engage with your team in an authentic way, use the available technology, and adapt and adjust as you go.