How to build a remote team
16th June 2017
The definition of a ‘normal’ office environment is changing. With the development of technology, an office on the move is becoming something which more and more employers are embracing. And it makes sense. It reduces costs, and also allows employees to work on the move, in between meetings, and also at home if they need to be there.
Managing homeworking or on the move employees brings different challenges which employers may not have had to deal with before. How do you manage the logistics of people in different remote locations? How do you monitor progress? And what do you do about trust?
There are certain things that you can do to ensure a smooth transition to a remote working team, as well as smoothly integrating new members to your organisation. Here are our top tips to build an effective remote team:
- Make your systems and files easy to find – you need to organise your online files in an orderly and logical manner so that each member of the team is completely clear where all documents are so that they can be found easily
- Invest in a project management system so that all team members are up to date on who has done what and when. Something like Slack or Basecamp means that members can upload documents, feedback and update other employees. Each project or client has its own folder and everything related to that sits in there. That way, everyone is clear as if you were all sitting in the same room together
- Regular conversations. You need to still hold team meetings as if you were all together. Use Skype or other video conferencing facilities to keep in contact, it’s still important to talk every day even if you aren’t together. Try and hold this daily update meeting at the same time each morning, not to be moved unless client meetings or other important appointments need to take place
- Think about trying to create an office culture even though there is no office. It’s still important to ensure your team members work well together, and that they feel valued by managers. So arrange things outside of the work environment, a regular physical catch up or even virtual groups if you need! Perhaps an online quiz or virtual book club, for example. You can even set up a separate project online, or private chat room for office banter. It can be lonely working at home alone all day, and it’s always good to discuss last night’s Eastenders episode with your work colleagues!
- Instil a mentoring programme. It helps if everyone has one point of contact where they can go to discuss work, problems, issues, ask for feedback etc. It makes it easier if this person isn’t a manager, so that the employee feels that they can ask or discuss anything without fear of looking daft
- Ensure that all procedures are written up clearly and easy to find. So that it’s clear you know what is expected of your employees. You have to have an element of trust with remote working, but there are also standards that you expect to be met at the same time. Also share your company vision. It’s important that your staff know where you want to take the company and that they feel involved in that journey
- Don’t think that personal development isn’t as important – it is, even more so. Encourage employees to seek additional training, improve their skills and show that you value them and their input into your business
It will take time, as it does managing a team, the challenges are a little different when it comes to a remote team. Communication is key, keep in touch, keep involved, and it will work for you.
It also helps if you have the right IT systems in place, and we can help you get that side of your remote team working right. Get in touch to see how it might work for you, and how we can ensure you have a seamless remote working business.