Career Woman

How to build and manage a successful remote team

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Over the last ten years, I’ve built three inspiring companies. All of our teams are fully remote, and working in every corner of the globe. Many companies, big and small, are shifting from traditional office set ups to remote teams. Building and managing a successful remote team is different from building and managing a team that will all sit under the same roof.

Here’s an essential guide to building and managing the best remote team possible!

Building a remote team

For your remote team to succeed, you need to have the right people on board. Here are some tips to building a remote team that will help your company reach new heights.

Don’t be limited by borders

Your best new recruit might not be based in the United States (or wherever you are). We’re living in a highly globalized world, and sometimes the best person for the job is on the other side of the world.

Don’t look at this as “outsourcing” – it’s not. You’re simply filling an open position with a qualified individual who lives in another part of the world. The location of the new recruit may change, but hiring process shouldn’t – the job profile and your expectations remain the same.

Ask your team for hire recommendations

Working with people you like makes the job a whole lot more fun! This is true even in a remote setting. Make sure your team is informed about job openings within the company. People on your team are likely to recommend people they can vouch for and who they enjoy collaborating interacting with. This will increase happiness and productivity of your crew. Plus, it cuts down on the time you have to spend mulling over dozens or even hundreds of applications.

Test abilities

When you hire a new person, whether it be for copywriting or coding, it’s always important to make sure they’re as good at their job as they say they are. Give the person a test project before offering them a permanent job. In addition to assessing their performance, take note of things like:

  • Did they ask for clarification if needed? Proactive information-seeking is a good trait.
  • Did they have a good turnaround time?
  • How well did they take feedback?

These points may not be about your potential hire’s ability, but they will give you insight into the person as a potential team member.

Bonding

This is probably the most difficult aspect of building a remote team. Since it may be impossible to get your team in the same location for office dinners or events, you’ll have to take other steps to ensure your team bonds. Here are some suggestions:

  • Team member on profiles

Whenever new team members join, ask them to create a profile about themselves. What’s their favorite kind of food? Do they have children or pets? Where are they from? How do they spend their free time? This could be on a team wiki or in video format. The goal is to help team members get to know one another beyond their work role. Be sure to share the profiles of existing team members with your new hire as well so that the introduction is a two-way street.

  • “Open door” policy

You don’t have an office door, but you do have chat, email, and video. Make sure that your team members know that they can come to you whenever they need, and that you value their opinions, recommendations, and concerns. In an office environment, body language and daily passive interactions can easily affirm this policy. However, in a remote environment, it’s even more important to intentionally vocalize this to instill it as a part of your company’s cultural fabric.

  • Monthly meetings

Have a team video chat once a month. During this time team members can report on their work and everyone can be in the know about what’s going on and what’s to come. During this meeting, it’s nice if you set aside a few minutes for people to share what’s new in their own lives – that can be about their kids’ accomplishments in school, the local weather, or things happening in their city or country. Even a few minutes of sharing basic information can really help your team connect.

Try products or service!

If you are selling a product or a service, make sure that your employees have experienced it for themselves. Being able to see, touch, and use a product firsthand is invaluable for a team member. It helps instill genuine confidence in a product or service that will help your team members see value in their work.

Managing

Putting together an amazing remote team is step one. Making sure it runs like a well-oiled machine is another. Here are some tips to managing a remote team.

Daily communication

Tools are your friend. Find out which work best for you. For us, Slack and Asana are crucial to open communication. Others use Trello, Evernote, and Google Keep. Find out what works best for your team – and make sure everyone uses it. Be sure that everyone on your team knows that regular communication is a requirement not an option.

If you use Slack you might want to set up a channel where people can self-report daily or weekly. That can help you or your team manager can keep tabs on productivity.

Overcome time zones

One person is in Los Angeles, another in Stockholm, and yet another in Manilla. How do you get all these people to coordinate? This is really an extension of daily communication, but deserves to be a point of its own. The best way to overcome time zone differences it to block out a few hours a week (or a few hours a day if possible), where collaborating team members are online and at work at the same time. This makes things go faster instead of having to wait a full time zone cycle for answers, feedbacks or changes.

SOPs are crucial

When you’re working remote, it’s not as easy to sit down and train someone one-on-one. Instead, empower your colleagues with readily available information. Document Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and ask team members to document their own procedures when new tasks arise. This may seem time consuming, but it will actually help in the long-term. SOPs can be documented in a company Wiki, Google Docs, video format, or a combination of all three. However you choose to document SOPs, just make sure they are indexed in a way so that people can find what they need when they need it. This is also helpful in case one person is out sick or on leave and someone else has to cover necessary tasks.

Creating the “A team”

These are just a few tips to help you create and manage the best remote team possible. Every team is unique and as you go, you may find that some tactics work better for your group than others. Experiment and soon your team will find its own groove. Once you get in the flow of things, you’ll see just how awesome and beneficial it can be to create a remote team.

About Sabina King

sabinak@thebusinesswomanmedia.com'

Sabina King is a global traveling self-taught entrepreneur. She has been living a slow moving and fast paced nomadic life of international adventure with her family of 4 for the past 7 years. She simultaneously manages a conglomerate of households across the globe and multiple thriving businesses: TaZa, Veppo and most recently, Hempure CBD. Originally an immigrant from Poland to the US, she fled the country and found herself in Costa Rica with her husband, son and a baby in the belly. Finding space to redefine their priorities, the Kings continue to find nuggets of truth and wisdom through travel. A yogini and self-proclaimed idea guru, she questions “Why not?” frequently and deliberately redefines many aspects of what Western society considers ‘normal’: success, education, childhood, parenting, health and business. Twitter

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