With today’s technology and modern collaborative software, there are no more barriers that earlier made employees work in offices. Consequently, more and more people choose to become remote employees. According to a Gallup poll,
Tips to Effectively Lead Remote Employees
Tip #1. Meet Regularly Online
The employees in the same office as you probably think that they see enough of you, but remote employees are most likely think they don’t hear enough from you. And that’s something you probably want to do with a regularly scheduled call. You can do it once a week or every two weeks via Skype, whatever works better in your circumstance. Make sure it’s regularly scheduled so that it can be in your calendars.
Whenever you need to communicate with your employees, make it for a very short period from 15 minutes to half an hour as a maximum. If you need more time for something specific, then you can always arrange another call next time. Remember that you need to have a careful balance here.
Tip #2. Make Group Meetings
Just because your employees far away do not mean that they cannot participate in the activities that your business is doing. Individual calls are effective, but you also need to have group conference calls. They can help them feel unified and updated with the latest company news.
Even if people work in the same office, they sometimes do not interact with each other to discuss issues, find solutions, and tap into each other’s strength. In remote teams, it’s even worse. To deal with this issue, you can find projects that your remote employees would be interested and engaged in doing. The key thing is that it should not distract too much from their core job. Also, it should include the element that requires your team to integrate and discuss with their colleagues. They might be coordinating something for you and have to talk to everybody about it. It can be as simple as that. For this purpose, our project managers used Google Hangouts, and Skype and these tools were great until our team has become bigger. When we had to make conference calls with more than 20 participants, our quick call solutions became Zoom and Skype for Business Basic.
When someone is working remotely, they can often become disconnected from the organization. That’s why, whenever you speak to them, whether it’s on a call or a webinar to present business activities always be open. Tell them what is happening in the department, ask them what’s going on and share information. Tell them what their colleagues are doing, identify solutions or great ideas that their colleagues have found and share them. And even encourage them to call for more information.
Another way to share information is by educating your employees through online workshops and training. As getting the remote team to a training location can be expensive and time-consuming, we started to gather some insider tips and tricks for training our remote workers through webinars. To make our communication much easier, we use ClickMeeting. It allows us to host webinars, engage our team members and encourage them to interact by running polls during the webinar to get feedback.
As a leader only you can know which solution suits the needs of your team better than others. However, when choosing the software, I would recommend considering the number of participants you want to engage, possibility to get connected from different devices and number of additional options such as screen sharing, surveys, and statistics.
Tip #4. Team Building Activities
When we have project teams that are working together in the same office location, we have an opportunity to take everyone out for a team lunch or maybe do a team building activity. When your team members are located in different parts of the world, you do not have such opportunity. It does not give you an excuse not to engage your employees in team buildings activities though. You might do a fun webinar or find another opportunity such as planning a team game, online multiplayer game or even quiz show.
Another good option is to set up so-called ‘coffee meetings’ when each employee grabs a coffee and joins the virtual stand-up meeting. Celebrating small wins from every department can also be a great way to end up or begin a week. Whatever it is, be creative and leverage the technology that you have to create the atmosphere of trust among your team members that are in remote locations.
Tip #5. Daily Summaries
Lastly, it’s really important to get your team members in the habit of doing a quick five-minute email. It should sum up what they did in a day, what issues they had, whether they encountered some problems, what you can help them with, and also what they are looking for to do the next day.
Even if you occasionally read these summaries, it is important to get your employees into the habit to make this ‘to do’ list. The reason is that remote teams have a tendency of going off in the wrong direction as you are not working under one roof. Get them to do the daily summaries, then ask them to share with one another to ensure that everyone is still keeping pace with the rest of a team.
All in all
Managing employees is challenging enough even if they are in the same office as you are. But when they are located remotely, whether in another city or perhaps working from home, it’s even harder. However, there are some things you can do to build a great remote team and manage them better. It takes an effort, but it can pay off.