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How to get the best work from your remote team
Posted by Wendy Wilson | Learning & Development Consultant on 15-Jun-2018
Technology has opened up an enormous amount of opportunity for both employees and businesses, including working with remote teams.
Having team members from anywhere in the globe has both positives and challenges so we’ve compiled a few points to ensure that you get the best work from your remote team (regardless of what work they do).
Start With the Best
To get the best results from your remote team member means hiring the best skilled remote team member that is flexible and open to change. We can encourage excellent communication, build trust and a host of myriad management techniques YET if the skill is not there, then the start will be a great struggle before you even get going.
Pick team members with proven results and knowledge, who have previous experience in the work that you need completed and that need minimal hands on training (given that they will be working remotely).
Don’t be afraid to ask for work examples, references and similar – just because they are remote doesn’t mean we will treat them any different to any other team member when it comes to proving their potential value.
There are some amazing online collaboration tools out there; ones that allow you to share files, calendars and planners, track conversations between your team members that make it easier for sharing knowledge and resources among everyone. Tools such as Microsoft Office 365 Teams with tasks and planners gives everyone working on a project visibility and accountability.
Communication is VITAL from day one including on boarding a new team member as well as maintaining a high-quality relationship during the entire term of employment. Offshore team members are just as important as those that are sitting in the office with you physically and each person deserves to have access to clear lines of communication with you their direct leader.
Some of the types of information that needs to be shared freely from day one;
- Where the new team member sits in the team. Sometimes taking on board a remote team member can make onsite staff nervous about the future of their position. Keep everyone in the loop.
and possibly MOST importantly
- The frequency and method (ie, skype, email, online task tracker etc) of regular updates on work flow you expect from your remote team member to ensure that nothing is getting left behind.
If someone (be it yourself or the remote team member) is unhappy with something about the task at hand there has to be ample opportunity for this challenge to be rectified, because remember there is no body language or other nonverbal cues to help notify the other party that something needs to be addressed.
Share the Vision
Have you ever been asked to do something without understanding where it lies within the context of the bigger picture? It’s highly frustrating! You don’t understand the importance of why you are doing it, the time line in which it needs to be done, what other projects are affected by your component and just the essence of the big vision of the company.
Therefore, SHARE the vision with your remote team member. Help them understand the goal you are trying to achieve and what the whole team are working towards. It will not only give them a sense of clarity in their tasks as well as also foster a feeling of belonging to the team which is important for fostering loyalty and self-motivation.
Trust Your Team Member
This can be one of the most challenging steps for managers to overcome. It’s not that we inherently don’t trust people – it’s simply a fact that if you’re used to being able to physically check in with team members on a daily basis to see how work load is moving along – removing that feature and relying on email/phone communication when it occurs can be a very scary fact for some managers.
YET, if you have hired the best skilled individual, communicated with great clarity from day one and know the vision is shared within their own hearts – give them a go! They just might surprise you.
Equip yourself to succeed with our Communication & Interpersonal Skills (with Disc) course