One of the huge advantages in the enormous developments in technology that we’ve seen in recent years is that it has unlocked our ability to bring together people in remote locations to work collaboratively. This type of working arrangement is often referred to as a remote team – you have people in different parts of the country, or different parts of the world, spread across different time-zones, but all working on the same project or business objectives.
However, while there are lots of advantages to being able to use the resources that are available in multiple locations, managing a remote team brings with it a lot of complexity.
In this article we take a look at some of the hints and tips that might help you to effectively manage a remote team.
Realize the benefits
When you are establishing a remote team of people, it is really important to understand why you are opting for the remote team model. Ideally, you would be exploring a remote team because it would give you access to skills and experience that you are unable to source locally, or perhaps there is a business advantage to having people situated in different markets or time zones. There may be economic benefits of having work being completed in specific parts of the world, but it would be a mistake to simply opt for a remote team model on the grounds that you think you will be able to pay remote workers less. High quality employees who can work remotely are in high-demand – if you are looking to pay the lowest rates possible then it is likely that your outputs will be of a lower quality.
Spend time on recruitment
Making the decision to appoint someone to your remote team is just as an important decision as any other recruitment process you are following. Look for opportunities to test a potential recruit to your remote team – not only do you need to ensure that they have the skills and experience that you require, but you also need to demonstrate to yourself that they are capable of working independently and unsupervised, and that they have outstanding communication skills. Try a short-term contract with clear deliverables before making a full-time appointment.
One of the most critical things to get right when managing a remote team is communication. You need to ensure that you are communicating regularly, but also clearly. Look to create a combination of formal and structured communication opportunities, as well as informal and spontaneous points of communication. There are lots of great communication tools available – tools such as Dynamics 365 Sales are a great starting point.
The key take-away from this is that you have to recognize that managing a remote team of people is similar but different to managing a team of people that are in the same office as you. While many of the core principles of team management can be applied in both circumstances, you need to adapt and adjust your management style and techniques to ensure that you are supporting your team to deliver the results required.