Managing teams from remote offices has never been more popular or more possible. While remote employee management presents its own unique sets of challenges, there are many management techniques that make it easier for all people involved. Here are four tips you can try.
1. Use Technology
It’s easier than ever for remote teams to stay connected. There are many instant messaging apps, video conferencing technologies, and CRMs with social media-like features that can help your team stay connected throughout the workday.
The key with these technologies is to find the versions that work best for your team. If remote team members are often times calling in from coffee shops or airport lobbies, for instance, you might seek a video conferencing solution that has the best mobile app interface. Also, be sure the purpose for each technology is clear.
Casual communication tools like instant messengers should be used for quick and light back-and-forths, while more formal conversations like performance reviews should take place via phone or video chat. Additionally, incorporating best practices into all forms of meetings can help make them more efficient, and ultimately, engaging for each party.
2. Schedule Regular (and Meaningful) In-Person Meetings
While remote employee management can work, it doesn’t completely replace the need for somewhat regular face-to-face interaction. Host quarterly or semi-annual events where your remote teams meet to build office morale and one-on-one relationships. You can also use this time to schedule important conversations — reviews, promotions and disciplinary conversations are always best when there’s no screen between you and the team member.
While everyone is in the same city, use this time to bond with non-work activities. A simple corporate event or happy hour can help you create deeper personal relationships that end up enhancing your work relationship.
3. Find the Right Workflow Management System for Your Team
Managing team productivity and keeping a pulse on each employee’s workload is hard enough in a face-to-face office environment. When you add in long distances, it’s even more challenging. That’s why it’s crucial that you find the right workflow management system for your team.
For some teams, this is as simple as a shared Google Sheet with to-dos and deadlines. For others, something with more robust functionality like Asana or Salesforce might be the right solution. Experiment with several options until you find what’s right for your company.
4. Keep Road Warriors In Mind
Although many remote workers may not make the trip into your office, this doesn’t always mean that they’re not frequent travelers. Some remote workers reside at a central geographic location, making it easier for them to quickly reach clients at either side of the country.
Remember that the day to day of a road warrior is very different than that of someone who occasionally or rarely travels on business. Provide your road warrior employees with resources that make their trips easier. Be flexible when scheduling more demanding engagements such as video conference calls. An open line of communication with these road warriors will help in aligning your schedule with theirs, regardless of what city they may be on the way to next.
These four tips center on one common theme: communication. Like with any relationship, the key to a successful relationship with your remote team members is communication. Master that and the rest will fall into place.
[Video] Learn How Mimeo Uses Technology to Manage Remote Teams
With over 500 employees at office locations and production facilities in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany, Mimeo relies on technology to build a collaborative culture for all of its employees. By using technology such as Highfive, employees are able to easily communicate with across different teams and with remote employees.