In today’s increasingly small and active world, it is hardly surprising that so many organizations are turning to remote teams to fill the void of qualified workers. In fact, studies have even suggested that home-based professionals take fewer sick days and less vacation time than their office-chained counterparts. Yet despite all the advantages, when entering the strange new world of remote working, knowing how to manage these teams can still be a challenge.
As a company with more remote workers than we can currently keep track of (aha), we at Tahometer would like to share some great tips to help you create a successful remote work environment.
1. Hire active people
Before anything else, it is essential that your remote workers be committed doers. Without physical oversight, potential hires should show initiative and be capable of standing on their own two feet. Ideally, team members should be self-motivated people with a strong sense of responsibility and accountability. These are the main traits you should be looking for when interviewing potential candidates, so be sure to add enough tasks to the interviewing process that will allow these qualities to shine through.
2. Relax and trust your team
We know this can be difficult at first, but it is extremely important to always trust your remote workers to deliver. Do not forget that they have gone through an extensive hiring process (your own hiring process!) and were able to successfully meet all your demands; so be confident in their desire and ability to get the job done. Remember their position in your company is just as important to them as it is to you, so they are not likely to be slacking.
3. Set strict time limits
Remote workers can often rely a bit too heavily on chat, but by allowing uninterrupted text communication, you risk hampering work and creating unnecessary confusion. Instead, focus on finding creative ways to limit group discussions, such as arranging skype calls to take care of all questions from the outset. At the same time, be sure to allow limited discussion to take place throughout work, as teams members should still feel free to request help when needed.
If things get a little too quiet, that is when it becomes appropriate to worry! In that case, strike up a conversation yourself to try and see what’s going on. And on that note, why not also create separate channels for off-topic, water-cooler conversation? This can forge valuable bonds between team members and consequently generate a happier work environment.
4. Leverage technology
You are only able to have remote workers in the first place because you are making use of technology, so might as well milk that cow dry! Collaboration tools such as Google Docs and Trello are excellent ways to organize and accomplish work without sacrificing real-time cooperation. But of course, this is also where we can help. Instead of constantly keeping an eye on your employees, you can turn to time tracking apps such as Tahometer to do the dirty work for you. By tracking workers’ mouse and keyboard use, as well as randomly taking screenshots of their desktop activity, Tahometer allows you to rest in the knowledge that things are under control, while also giving you the power to take action when your expectations are not met.
5. Always stay a click away
Finally, when working with remote teams, it is essential to always make yourself available. This may be important in traditional companies, but when dealing with a group of individuals spread across the world, it becomes even more pressing. By allowing remote workers to always reach you via Skype, email or other platforms, your employees are kept motivated and assured that they have not been left to drift at sea. Just be sure to respond to their questions quickly and let them know ahead of time when you are unable to be present.
Here at Tahometer, we love working with remote teams; and with 43% of all working Americans saying they have telecommuted in the past, we are convinced this is the future of employment. If you are too, try Tahometer today to see just how easy managing remote professionals can be.