This is something we get asked allllllll the time. It’s not easy having a cohesive team of people who at any point are working in 5 different time zones, but we make it work. In fact, we’re doing a fantastic job at it.
Want to know our secrets? Here you go.
1. Encourage Visibility & Projection
As a manager and leader, we need to lead by example — well, most of the time at least!
You can’t expect your remote workers to do things you don’t do yourself. As awkward as it may be, it’s a genuine aspect of building confidence as a team.
For example, you need to lead the way by demonstrating how to:
- Open up and share your opinion
- Get comfortable with the management team
- Get to know each other as individuals
- Discuss projects openly and with transparency
Being transparent is super important here, so I want to dig into that one a little more. Get your team involved in all aspects of the business, and share the company vision and objectives with them. Then, set clear expectations, tell them some things about yourself, and encourage them to share something that isn’t work-related. Not all business is business, it’s what’s beneath the surface that really creates that strong bond as a team!
2. Let The Obsessive-Compulsive Planning Fly
A proper structure boosts any business, so whatever template you use will help — the point is that you’re using something consistently. Managing people across the globe without knowing what everyone’s working on and having multiple projects on the go can easily become chaos. That’s why you need to create procedures and implement systems. We absolutely love the Hive project management software and feel it’s been a game-changer for us.
To start, organize everything, categorize it, and then make it available to all team members. Decide on the communication style for each situation. For example, you can email each other for things that can wait, but can also use a chat room, such as Slack if there is a pressing matter. Again, the goal here is consistency to ensure everyone knows what’s expected of them.
Set clear deadlines and make sure everyone knows the next steps of the project. Make use of the collaboration and sharing options that project management tools offer, so you’re able to see what others are working on and what still needs to be done.
3. Use A Time-Tracking Tool
Another thing you need in your arsenal is a time-tracking tool. This is an efficient way to keep your employees on track, review their performance, set clear objectives, and increase team productivity.
As you introduce the new piece of technology to your team, let them know how they can use it to their advantage. Ensure they understand that it will help them manage their own time better too, so it’s a win-win situation.
The main benefit of time-tracking tools for remote teams is that every employee feels like they are in charge of their time. We all hate micromanagement, so this turns accountability into a collaborative effort. At the same time, they can spot unproductive activities and weak points in their performance and do something about them. Nobody likes time-suckers for tasks.
4. Hold Sync Meetings
This is one of the challenges of working with a remote team as everyone’s in a different time zone. But trust me, you can do it — we prove it on a daily basis!
The only way to understand what kind of people you have on the team is to meet at least once a week and create a friendly and honest environment where everyone can talk about anything. There are many benefits to virtual meetings. It doesn’t matter if the remote workers are traveling, at home, at a co-working space, or in an office. The point is to sign into Zoom, HighFive, or whatever program you’re using, from wherever you are, and be present with your team. We typically use Zoom, as it’s been a life-saver for a multitude of reasons!
Over time, you’ll feel more like a team. Don’t worry about it not happening as quickly as some expect; all good things take time.
5. Create A Strong Company Vibe
Last but not least, your goals should move beyond having a team that’s location independent and move toward building a powerful company vibe. This can happen by getting to know each other, working toward the same goals, respecting each other’s time, and valuing everyone’s skills and talents. We all have something to give, so working together to instill the magic is great for everyone, including the company’s bottom line.
Managing remote teams is challenging, but with a set of best practices, it becomes much easier. This way, you can have a group of loyal, hard-working, and productive employees that will help you reach the company vision sooner. As we continually say, it is SYNERGY.