How To Manage A Team Remotely
Strategies that would help you manage your remote team
Creating opportunities that would make the team members interact with each other
The most important drawback of having a remote team is that the team members may be located at different geographical countries. So they may never see each other or even talk with one another. So it would be better to create opportunities where the members would get to know one another, have some sort of virtual meeting and “get together” where they can interact with one another and share a joke or two. Make social groups where all the members of the team become members so they can interact once in a while. Once they reach the same frequency, it would be easier to get the work done.
Initiating a chat room
Initiating a chat room where the team members can interact with each other and leave messages would also help in creating that frequency and friendliness among them. Chat rooms are more personalized than emails and hence, the response would also be much greater. To ensure chat rooms are not distractions for the team members and be a hindrance in work progress, ensure there is a fun chat room where they can discuss non-business related matters as well (which they can do during non-business hours).
Never give up the old-fashioned telephone
True, there are many means of communication when you have the internet, but nothing can discount the benefits provided through the good old telephone. Phone communication is spontaneous, makes communication easier. Phone calls and video conferencing through Skype are also excellent forms of communication because you can talk to the team directly.
Incorporate reporting systems and schedule working hours
It is true that when you hire a remote team, the team has the freedom to deliver at its own convenience. But to hold the reins and to ensure work would be completed on time, you can schedule working hours. Maintain a log through the excel sheet or any similar application to check the progress of the team and individual members. Inculcate a system through which they would have to report the progress of their project. This would allow you to keep track of the project and each person’s progress as well.
Introduce the system of giving incentives
Giving incentives (preferably monetary) would be another method of ensuring success in your project and the loyalty of your team members/employees. Competition among co-workers in a remote team is virtually non-existent. Healthy or unhealthy competition only happens between co-workers in an office, so introducing the system of incentives would motivate them to perform better.
Having clear cut and achievable goals and objectives
Every employee would want his/her company to perform well because his/her survival is based on it. A team would perform when it knows there is a target to achieve. So ensure all the team members are aware of the goals of the company and encourage them to achieve it. Hence, if they lack the benefit of daily one-to-one interaction, they will feel ‘action at workplace’ when they get these goals.
Building a rapport with the employees is quite important as you don’t see them in an office every day. So share a joke or two with them, ask after their health, family members and make time for small talk. It would work amazingly well. Even if you are busy, schedule a one-on-one because cancellation would cause resentment among team members and they would get the idea that you are not a person who would like to sit with them and talk. When you do it this way, remote employees can also be a part of what is going on in your office.
Pictures: Flickr.com/ Jurvetson/ Case
The author: Reema Oamkumar is engaged as a thought leader at Software-Developer-India.com which is a part of the YUHIRO Group. YUHIRO is a German-Indian enterprise which provides programmers to IT companies, agencies and IT departments.