As a business owner, do you manage a team of remote employees who are scattered across the country or even the world? If so, you likely use a bevy of cloud-based software platforms and innovative online tools to delegate tasks and help manage all of the projects your business is working on.
You probably also have all kinds of strategic systems in place to help your remote team members collaborate in the best way possible. This collaboration is absolutely critical for moving your business forward so it reaches new heights.
Lately, have you wondered if your remote team members are working together in the best way possible? In my experience in leading MaidThis, a top-rated cleaning company franchise that utilizes a remote team operational model, I have discovered a number of ways that virtual business owners unknowingly stifle their team’s collaboration, workflow, and overall productivity.
Below are just a few workflow best practices to help manage your remote team.
Set a regular meeting schedule
Do you tend to schedule spur-of-the-moment meetings with your team members on an as-needed basis (such as in light of a project change)? Rather than do this, set a regimented schedule of weekly team meetings and one-on-one discussions with each of your employees to optimize your remote team’s collaboration.
These meetings will give you the chance to discuss projects and determine which tasks everyone should focus on next. This initiative will also ensure that wires don’t get crossed, where one team member starts working on a pertinent task that is already being taken care of by another employee.
Remember, though, that the set schedule of meetings won’t be effective if you and your team don’t stick to it! We get it — urgent projects can arise, deadlines get pushed up, employees sometimes call in sick… there’s no doubt that every workweek will not go according to plan. However, it is important to make these meetings a top priority so that your team can always be in the know on everything that is going on and to keep projects moving forward. That said, if meetings need to be rescheduled, try to conduct them on the very next available work day.
Integrate video calls with text-based communication
Do you primarily communicate with your employees via text-based methods like emails and Slack messaging? Do your team members also mainly keep in contact via these text-based channels?
It is vital for you all to do video calls whenever possible, as the regular “facetime” will help you all connect and get to know each other better. Also, the tone in text-based conversations can be easily misinterpreted — on the other hand, video calls allow you to see the other person’s body language and hear voice inflections so you know exactly what they are trying to convey to you. You can also ask questions and get immediate replies, rather than have to wait for responses via email.
Set KPIs for every remote team member
Creating key metrics that every remote team member needs to hit is crucial for amplifying their productivity and workflow. By setting key metrics like client leads generated and monthly goals for sales, every team member will always know what they need to focus on to achieve their goals.
This can reduce downtime and help promote autonomy in your enterprise, as your remote team members will always know what they are in charge of and will work on their tasks without the need for you to micromanage them.
Not having to micromanage your team will do wonders for both you and your employees. First off, you won’t need to waste a ton of time on constantly asking your team members for updates on project statuses and tasks. Your team members will also benefit, as micromanagement can cause stress and make them feel like you don’t trust their judgement and work ethic. They will appreciate the autonomy and space to focus on the tasks they know they need to complete and the key metrics they need to hit.
Require end-of-day handover reports for shift changes
During shift changes in an in-office business environment, it is so easy for team members leaving for the day (or night) to tell their colleagues who are just starting their shifts which tasks have been completed and what is still on the to-do list.
This isn’t the case in remote work environments — team members can easily just sign off when their shift is over without communicating with their coworkers who are just signing on. This can lead to a lot of confusion over project statuses and what tasks still need to be done.
That said, it is paramount for you, as the team leader, to implement a solid and effective handover system. One way that you can do this is by requiring every one of your remote employees to write a “Sign-Off Status Report” email that they send to their team members before they log off.
This report can provide a quick overview of the work they completed and what still needs to be done. Then, the team member who is just signing on and taking over during the shift change can read through the email and ask for clarification on any tasks they are confused about. These handover reports are key for optimizing workflow.
As a business leader managing remote teams, it is vital to do whatever you can to optimize collaboration. You will unknowingly stifle their productivity, workflow, and overall collaboration if you rely on text-based communication rather than video calls and don’t set a regimented meeting schedule. Other big mistakes are not setting key metrics for all of your team members to hit and not implementing a solid handover system for shift changes. Employ these best practices to ensure your remote team members can collaborate to the best of their abilities.
Neel Parekh is the CEO and Founder of MaidThis, one of the top-rated national cleaning franchises. MaidThis offers hassle-free house cleaning for busy individuals and vacation rental hosts (Airbnb, VRBO, etc.). MaidThis has been called “the franchise for millennials”, given its fully remote model and new-age spin on an old-school cleaning industry. As he built his business to reach millions in revenue, Neel traveled for five years while managing a fully remote team — he is now on a mission to help others achieve the same! A renowned business expert, Neel mentors other entrepreneurs on the do’s and don’ts of managing a company, essential tips for franchise operators, how to be a successful digital nomad, and much more.
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