Technology has allowed for a significant change in business operations. Thanks to a wide variety of programs, it is easier than ever for people all over the world to collaborate seamlessly.
These new collaborative technologies can create excellent opportunities for team building. Now, you aren’t just limited to a candidate pool that is willing to come to work at wherever you are head-quartered.
You can expand your outreach, and look for the best people without worrying about where they are in the country, or even the world.
But new opportunities also present new hazards. For instance, how do you build a great remote team?
First, hire the right people:
This might sound obvious. It is obvious. What might be a little less obvious is how to determine what a great remote worker looks like.
The best remote workers aren’t necessarily also the best office workers. When building a remote team, finding self-starters is non-negotiable.
While remote teams do have accountability, oversight is not always as immediate as it is in the office setting.
You need people who can be left to their own devices for awhile and still be trusted to produce excellent results.
Commit to it:
Your remote team can’t be thought of as a side project, or experiment. For this to work at all, remote workers need to feel that their contributions are regarded just as seriously as anyone else’s.
This means making sure that the experience of the remote worker is the same as it is of the woman who is showing up to work in the office each day.
This isn’t only a symbolic move: a way of making the remote staff feel like a part of the company culture as a whole.
This a measure for heightened productivity. For remote workers to blend into the framework of your operations, the channels of communication and information sharing must be adjusted.
This will mostly mean writing and recording virtually all information that is presented in your office. It might feel strange at first. Perhaps even a little bit uncomfortable.
However, the benefits are undeniable. Operating at that level of heightened information sharing is critical in ensuring that the people on your remote staff have the same access to information as everyone else.
Relationships still matter:
With the remote team, there is no obvious reason for people to focus on anything other than work. Remote workers don’t bump into one another in the break room. They don’t have the proverbial water cooler to chat at.
They work. And then they finish working, and that’s it. But friendly conversation is an important aspect of creating a sense of community. And a sense of community is an important aspect of making people feel happy about their work.
Relationships still matter. So how does a team leader ensure that they are still formed? There is no denying that it requires some deliberate effort.
Building “face to face” communication opportunities (via video chatting programs) is a great place to start.
Also think about creating opportunities for members of a remote team to meet. Annual retreats where everyone can have the opportunity to chat in person.
It sounds pricey, but think about it this way. It costs between $10,000-20,000 a year to host an employee in an office year round. Use some of the money you save to treat them right.
Remote teams are an excellent resource to take advantage of. Will making things work require some deliberate effort? Absolutely, but it will be time well spent.
Through committing to a few simple changes to how you manage your teams, you can enjoy the many benefits of a well-cultivated remote team.