How To Manage A Remote Team In Multiple Offices

Do you manage a remote team? If so, you know they are only as productive as your ability to manage them. And let’s face it, losing track of...

Do you manage a remote team? If so, you know they are only as productive as your ability to manage them. And let’s face it, losing track of your remote team or managing them ineffectively is pretty easy to do.

In 2014, our company decided to jump on the wave of remote work and go 100% virtual. We went from hiring local employees in our Santa Clarita office to working remotely with teams spread across the U.S., Colombia and Pakistan.

We gained an incredible number of advantages, such as access to high quality talent and flexibility. But it also took years to experience enough failures and mistakes to course correct and learn what not to do. In this article, I’ll share three remote working best practices every distributed team should know.

 

Manage your remote team’s performance

Your remote workforce still needs motivation. This is why scheduled performance checkups offer massive value when it comes to efficiency. Performance management strategies include:

  • Daily touch points. Daily touch points lets your remote team know you are interested in how their work is going. It also signals that they have a support channel in place. Mondays are perfect for touch points.

  • Weekly feedback. Feedback is important, even more so for remote teams. If weekly feedback is not part of your remote management strategy, start this week. It allows you to offer insight, encourage hard work, lay the groundwork for brainstorming sessions, and put transparency in place. Friday feedback sessions might be a good route to explore.

  • Quarterly reviews. Want to nurture a powerful remote team? Quarterly performance reviews will facilitate this goal. When you give team members an in-depth review it’s valuable individually and collectively.

  • Weekly or monthly teleconferences. One of the best remote team management strategies you can employ is to make the team forget they are distributed across the globe. If you hold weekly or monthly videoconferences it creates synergy amongst the entire team. It also serves as a perfect opportunity to brainstorm new ideas for a virtual whiteboard.

At our company, we schedule weekly check-ins with each team and a company-wide meeting on Friday where all teams connect and provide feedback to everyone else.

 

Communicate clear expectations

The productivity and efficiency of your remote workforce can only be successful if you have clear, concise instructions in place.

 

Photo: © s4svisuals, YFS Magazine

Remote work is often less structured than a traditional single office location, but it certainly doesn’t need to be. With clear expectations in place, your remote team, regardless of location or time zone, will have the structure and access to best practices. Set clear expectations during onboarding, and continue the conversation. Performance management is handy here.

Expectations of your remote team should include:

  • A sense of project ownership and weekly time commitment

  • Weekly task deadlines, where to find those tasks, and team members who will assist

  • Manageable monthly and quarterly goals to surpass

  • Clear company support structure for questions, problem-solving and any remote issues

  • Available and reachable higher echelon of support (i.e. you)

  • Contact tree with all team members, their positions, and contact information (e.g. email, Skype, phone numbers, company messaging system, etc.)

Our project management team is in charge or running daily reports, tracking deliverables and working with all team members to make sure all tasks are current and goals are met.

 

Use online apps to improve remote workflow

Do you want to improve all of the above? Use collaboration, project management and messaging platforms to manage workflow. These types of platforms and apps will make tasks and projects your remote team does seamless with the rest of your company. The best part is that you don’t need to use just one platform.

There are a variety of workflow platforms and apps that will enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of your remote team. Consider streamlining your remote workflow with one of the following:

  • AceProject

  • Bitrix24

  • Dropbox

  • OneDrive

  • Microsoft OneNote

  • Evernote

  • Google Drive

  • Trello

  • Asana

Online workflow tools are certainly a powerful way to keep tasks and projects moving forward, especially for a remote team. However, it is vital to keep an open line of communication as well. Managing your remote team with communication at the heart means:

  • Face time. Google Hangout, Skype and WebEx are excellent tools to connect with your remote team. You can even use screensharing features for in-depth online meetings.

  • Make it social. Social networking platforms like IGLOO, MangoApps, FaceTime and Yammer are great for remote teams – especially when you need to be mobile.

 

Final thoughts

If you can’t identify the right candidates in your local talent pool, creating an efficient remote workforce could be the answer. You could even leverage work from home options to boost your bottom line.

Let’s not forget that today’s workforce wants to be mobile, and you can meet that demand with a streamlined remote workforce. It’s the office of tomorrow, but you can get started today.

 

This article has been edited.

Marcela De Vivo is a marketing advisor at Mulligan Funding, a working capital lender for small to medium sized businesses.

 

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