So you're ready to unlock new business growth with your new remote team. As you charter unfamiliar and exciting new territory, you may be wondering ’what’s next?’.
While your expanding team may now be more dispersed, digital and dynamic, the principles that underpin organisational success remain the same. Being a remote manager, or any effective manager, calls for a proactive and considered approach to ensure your teams are working in-sync on the same mission.
Here, we pinpoint what your remote team need from you to succeed.
What your remote team needs from you to succeed
1. Establish clear business objectives with a shared purpose
Being a remote manager begins with creating a unique and shared purpose for all employees. You want everyone to feel like they’re running the same race and working towards the same objective – no matter how geographically separated they are. Some ways you can foster this include:
Communicating frequently with your remote employees.
A study from Harvard Business University of more than 1100 remote workers found that nearly half of responders (46%) said the most successful managers checked in regularly. While the frequency of these meetings varied, the research revealed that the remote workers preferred consistency (for example, a standing weekly or monthly meeting) and face-to-face or voice-to-voice contact.
Making your remote workers feel like part of the team.
Simple gestures make a big impact when you’re uniting a team across continents. For example, you could: send your remote workers your company’s t-shirt, include them on your company’s ‘about us’ page, take the time to ‘chit chat’ during virtual team meetings and invite them to join company-wide instant messaging platforms like Google Hangouts or Slack.
Supporting employees through on-boarding process.
It’s essential to clearly and frequently communicate your business vision to your remote team. What are your organisation’s goals within the next few months, year or even five years? Get as specific as possible about the role each remote team member should play in helping your organisation work towards these goals. Often, people find motivation in knowing they can contribute to creating change.
2. Foster clear communication
When it comes to managing remote teams, fostering clear and open communication channels become even more imperative. Starting off on the right foot begins with setting clear expectations. Does everyone on your team understand their roles, key deadlines and project objectives?
Your remote team should feel as though they are free to ask as many questions as they feel necessary, so as to avoid misunderstandings in the future.
In order to avoid common errors in judgement when managing your remote team, use the Hanlon’s Razor principle — “Never assume malice when stupidity will suffice. Never assume stupidity when ignorance will suffice. Never assume ignorance when forgivable error will suffice. Never assume error when information you hadn’t adequately accounted for will suffice”.
In other words, don’t jump to conclusions. If you encounter a roadblock with your remote team, first consider all the facts and ensure you provided all the necessary information in your briefing. Miscommunication is a common hurdle that you can quickly address if assumptions are left at the door.
3. Provide the right environment and equipment
To many, working anytime and anywhere seems like the dream. However, patchy internet, slow software and even disorganised filing can dramatically hinder a remote worker’s productivity and efficiency.
“It’s important that full-time remote employees have access to the right technology to do their job. Whether it’s hardware or software, no employee should be left to fend for themselves in procuring the right equipment.”
– Kavi Guppta, Forbes technology writer and expert in workforce transformation
In order to ensure your remote team can hit the ground running, remote managers must take the following steps:
Create a digital filing system.
Investing in cloud-based file storage solutions, such as Dropbox or Google Docs, ensures remote employees have all the files they need, anytime and anywhere. The benefits are twofold: efficiency improves with easy access, and the risk of lost data decreases. Furthermore, you won’t have to send large, inbox-clogging files over email anymore.
Make it simple for employees to buy new equipment and get it reimbursed.
Create a streamlined system to ensure your remote workers can easily procure new equipment without being out of pocket.
Supporting employees through on-boarding process.
Take the time to guide your remote workers through new digital and cloud-based software solutions and explain why you are using them. This also offers a great chance to review your documentation and see where the gaps are. Your goal is to ensure everyone is on the same page, starting from day one.
Bolton Remote provides all of this and more for your remote team, making sure they have what they need to thrive. Find out more about our talent solutions.
4. Invest in your people
Like all employees, your talented remote team want and deserve to grow. By investing in their professional development, you’re making them feel valued and setting them up for success within your organisation.
Investing in their growth can encompass anything, from:
- Subsidising local conferences and workshops, ebooks and online courses
- Setting KPIs that align personal goals with organisational growth
- Sharing interesting articles or blog posts through a ‘learnings’ slack channel
- Giving a company wide shout-out to a remote employee for a job well done!
Recognising their successes and celebrating individual expertise will ultimately create the culture where employees feel empowered. Take time to acknowledge the motivated employees who go the extra mile.
Ultimately, the only way for you to know what your team needs from you to succeed: listen. The most effective communication begins with listening, and this is especially the case with remote workers who aren’t physically present in the office — as you can’t pick up on visual cues that something may not be quite right.
Invest in feedback tools like TINYPulse or Culture Amp and have regular catch-ups with your remote staff where they feel they can speak freely about any issues or queries they may have.
Over to you
At the end of the day, your people are the most important asset of your business, and your remote team are no exception. By ensuring everyone is on the same page from the get-go, you’ll pave the way for ongoing success within your organisation.
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