Remote Team: How to Keep Your Remote Workers Connected
Remote working is becoming more and more of a staple in modern business. The demands of a 24-hour world mean our working hours need to become increasingly flexible.
The old fashioned view of a team sharing office space is now a less fashionable and realistic option for many. US employee management is no different. Businesses such as Foothold America specialise in finding you the right person, no matter where they are stationed. But how can a good manager get the most from his remote workers?
1. It’s good to talk
A happy team is a strong team. Not everyone – especially in a large group of workers – will get along, but it is important to create respect. Encourage members of your team to interact with one another as well as being part of conference calls – particularly on the phone or via video link.
Far too often a text message, email or social media post can be misinterpreted. They are regularly hurried and often sound blunt (how many times do you honestly read a message to yourself before hitting send?). When speaking one-on-one you learn so much more from facial expressions or tone of voice. This also encourages a culture of discussion which can often lead to stronger working bonds.
2. Regular meetings
Hold regular meetings at regular times. If your team know exactly when they are expected to be available then they can plan their diaries accordingly. Try to find a time that suits everyone – especially if they work to differing deadlines or work in overlapping time zones.
3. Encourage teamwork
Teamwork and office friendship are two very different things. If there is a project which needs doing then don’t just hand it to a group of people because they get on with one another or sit close by. Look through your employees’ skill sets. Figure out which team members have the appropriate abilities and would mutually benefit from a collaboration. They don’t have to have similar personalities or tastes. Just ensure they can deliver the goods and hopefully learn something from one another as their relationship grows.
Keep all your team in the loop. Make time to have chats with your remote workers just as you would a colleague who you bump into at the water cooler. If they are new to the business or regularly working alone then make sure they feel a part of the team before any sense of isolation is allowed to grow. Ensure they are involved in all emails and circulars. If you have a large team then assign a mentor to them to remain in regular contact. Between you, provide regular feedback.
5. Go face-to-face
Getting together may not be easy, but make sure it happens. Trust, relationships and friendships are built much quicker with people when you are sharing a room. Yes, your team may be scattered across a wide area, but attempt to get everyone together at regular junctures – whether that’s annually, monthly or somewhere in between. Working together is good. Socialising is even better. So if you can make get-togethers more fun, employees will enjoy stepping out of the routine and be more inclined to join up and not come up with excuses.