Today’s global economy and advanced technologies allow us to include remote employees into our teams. With the use of various collaboration tools, cloud sharing apps, and video conferences, managers can effectively set goals, assign tasks, and get the desired results in real time. Since the high number of competitive firms in technological and economic centers have drastically increased their employee turnover, many big and small businesses have decided to use the affordable, educated, and loyal labor from the developing countries.
Remote management still comes with a wide variety of challenges. It is much harder to motivate your employees when you do not see them in-person on a daily basis. Furthermore, all paperwork and communication need to be done in the digital form. Before creating an effective remote management strategy, a company should set a special budget for buying and maintaining the appropriate software and hardware solutions. In this guide, we have explained remote team management by describing every step of this process.
Choosing the members of remote teams is a little bit different from the regular hiring process. The candidate’s location is never an issue, but they still need to satisfy certain criteria apart from the adequate expertise and work experience. All team members need to speak the same language because running a team in different languages and using online translation tools would be too difficult. They also need to have appropriate hardware.
The hiring process for international businesses usually starts with posting a job ad on an international job search platform or with contacting an HR agency. Managers often outsource some minor and repetitive tasks to freelancers, through various freelance marketplace platforms. Freelancers who prove their skills and show outstanding results have a chance to be admitted into the team. The companies that run remote teams have a much bigger talent pool at their disposal. That is why they should try to speed up and automate their hiring process. They can do it by using chatbots or by utilizing a big data software.
Establishing a real-time collaboration is the biggest challenge remote teams need to overcome. It can also be solved by introducing some of the available advanced technological solutions. There are many useful apps that managers can choose from for this purpose. Some of them even use advanced collaboration and scheduling systems like Kanban, invented for managing the Toyota supply chain.
Most collaboration apps offer a simple interface which allows users to schedule tasks to each other, chat, and exchange files. Today, many companies use team collaboration apps such as Wrike. My team started using this app two years ago and although it offers a solid set of features, we have decided to replace it. We have found a good Wrike alternative that offers advanced features like invoicing, budgeting, client permissions, self-hosting, and the all in one feature package. Thanks to this small change, our productivity skyrocketed.
The collaboration in remote teams needs to be done in real time. Since team members often work from different time zones, they need to make themselves readily available at critical times of the day. They can do this by installing the collaborative app on their smartphones and regularly checking push notifications. Although good collaborative apps can replace a whole list of business software, remote teams can also use emails, social networks, remote access software, cloud storage apps, the MS Office suite, and many other business apps.
Meetings are of critical importance for remote team management. Companies would need thousands of dollars to bring all the team members from different parts of the world to their headquarters. Still, efficient project management requires regular team meetings. Most successful teams meet at least twice a week. They assign tasks for the upcoming week on Mondays, while they review the team’s work results on Fridays.
Managers can organize team meetings with the use of a meeting software and online video conferencing. Each team member should have a webcam, a microphone, and a special app installed on their desktop or smartphone. Many companies purchase special software for video conferencing. Entrepreneurs who want to save money can also use the group chat feature offered on various messenger apps.
Companies usually neglect this very important side of teamwork. Team building is even more important for managing remote teams because their members cannot meet in real life, talk or settle their differences. Companies should arrange team gatherings at least once a year. For some team members, these gatherings would be much more fun because they will need to travel to a part of the world they would never visit prior to the meeting.
Unfortunately, organizing regular team building events for remote teams can be very expensive, even for the biggest corporate entities. That is why companies need to motivate their employees to communicate on social networks, exchange ideas, post interesting videos, motivational songs, and memes on the team’s news feed. This way, managers will be able to lift up the team’s spirit and improve the employees’ morale.
Unite Around a Common Goal
Uniting all team members around a common goal is the most important task for every remote team manager. Unlike regular teams, remote teams need to seize every opportunity for in-person bonding. This often results in long lasting friendships and creates a unique sense of camaraderie that can only be seen in these types of business environments.