More and more business employees are now telecommuting, that companies around the world are restructuring their management practices to meet the challenges of remote collaboration.
Now with the spread of the Coronavirus and workers being asked to work-from-home the need for managing remote teams is higher than it’s ever been.
Because they tend to be more agile and open to change, small businesses are particularly well positioned to adapt to telecommuting. Increased productivity and happier employees who appreciate the added flexibility are just a few benefits winning over small business owners.
But telecommuting also presents some challenges – in particular, two core issues: keeping track of what remote workers are doing and ensuring that remote and in-house teams form a cohesive unit.
These tips can help you effectively manage and support your remote employees.
Promote communication and accountability
Defining expectations and setting up methods to track results are essential elements of remote team management. Here are a few ways to make sure your remote workers understand what is expected of them:
- Set up a shareable daily work log your remote workers can use to report their progress on ongoing projects (Google Drive offers some good options).
- Utilize a project management system to exchange messages, assign tasks and monitor projects rather than relying solely on email.
- Determine key indicators for success for each remote worker and share these indicators with your employees (these might be daily, weekly or monthly goals).
- Conduct regular reviews with remote workers to assess their performance.
Tech you can use
Workplace from Facebook.
Workplace is a communication tool that connects everyone in your company, even if they’re working remotely. Use familiar features such as Groups, Chat, Rooms and live video broadcasting to get people talking and working together. With the shift to remote work, video has become a vital way for companies to strengthen their community and get work done. That’s why we’re doubling down on video collaboration with the launch of Workplace Rooms, letting you connect with up to 50 people even if they don’t have a Workplace account.
Check it out here: https://www.workplace.com/
Getting bogged down with hundreds of unnecessary emails that take you hours to clean out each morning? Slack is designed to help eliminate emails from your organisation, to clear up the clutter in your inbox.
So what exactly is Slack? It’s a messenger/chat app, but it’s so much more than that. Teams can have their own chat boards for project work, you can deliver news and updates organisation-wide, direct message people about lunch dates, and link or upload files or images. It’s particularly useful if you have team members who work out of the office or who are frequently travelling.
It is a great place to share your how to videos so staff can see how tasks can be done, such as changing your email signature or using Loom.
Another free one with the option to upgrade to a premium plan with advanced features.
Get it now http://slack.com/
Airtable is a cloud-based project management solution targeting small to midsize businesses as well as departments within larger companies. This system focuses primarily on data organization and collaboration.
The system uses a spreadsheet format to organize data. Related data can be linked together; for example, contacts can be linked to their companies or inventory items can be linked to their vendors.
Airtable is compatible with multiple devices. On desktop computers, users see data in a spreadsheet format, while on mobile devices, data can be viewed as tappable cards. On both devices, users can add and remove data, attach files and share tables.
Airtable integrates services such as Dropbox, Box, Evernote and Google Drive. Tables in this software are shareable, and users can track who is making changes to documents when. A chat tool is also included, which allows users to chat each other while working on tables.
Check it out here: https://bit.ly/2VvQ5Vz
Google Drive allows users to store files on their servers, synchronize files across devices, and share files. In addition to a website, Google Drive offers apps with offline capabilities for Windows and macOS computers, and Android and iOS smartphones and tablets. Google Drive encompasses Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slides, which are a part of an office suite that permits collaborative editing of documents, spreadsheets, presentations, drawings, forms, and more. Files created and edited through the office suite are saved in Google Drive.
Check it out here: https://bit.ly/3dQoTZR
Include remote workers in office culture
Positive work culture and employee engagement are quickly becoming top priorities for business managers who want to retain top talent. These tips will help your remote workers feel just as valued and validated as your in-house team.
- If your in-house workers enjoy a monthly pizza party, don’t forget to include your remote workers. Invite them to attend, have a meal delivered to them or offer a gift certificate to a favorite restaurant.
- Get to know and spend time with your remote workers, just as you would with in-house staff. Set aside a few moments each day to inquire about their families, personal interests, recent challenges and successes.
- Consider pairing up remote workers to complete complex tasks. You’ll improve efficiency while helping remote workers feel like part of the team.
Ready to enjoy the benefits of remote staff?
If the benefits of remote workers outweigh the risks in your view, try offering your staff a work day from home a week – then, if it works out, you can try hiring remote employees. Some small business owners hire a remote employee in another region – a great way to expand their market.
If you trust your employees to work hard no matter where they’re located, the main thing to remember is fostering teamwork. A monthly meeting that everyone is required to attend can encourage stronger relationships, allow opportunities to clear the air or discuss any challenges – and improve a sense of teamwork and camaraderie.
Got a question about your business? Chat to us.