How To Build An Awesome “Remote” Team?
The Future of Work is ‘Remote.’Each year more companies are choosing to leave the office behind and create a remote team. Non-office based workers are rapidly shifting the landscape of corporate America.Nearly 20-25 percent of the American workforce now work remotely to some capacity, and the trend shows no sign of slowing.
For a company, a remote team can be especially beneficial. It drastically reduces company overhead, maintains a flexible schedule and helps recruit the best talent possible. Remote teams are also cheaper and faster to get started and gain momentum.
But actually assembling that dream remote team in the first place is an art that’s still being refined. Which leads to the question: How do you create a great remote team?
Communication, company culture and trust are three keys to building your team.
Communication is hands-down the most important aspect to focus on here. Working with remote employees requires everyone to communicate via the same medium. Communication also needs to move into the tools and channels where everyone on the team can see it.
Communicate face-to-face.Scheduling video calls with your team is one of the best ways to make sure everyone’s on the same page using Skype and Google Hangouts. Make face-to-face chats a regular part of the workweek.
Use the conversation going. While video calls are important, you also need to create ongoing communication channels. Many companies use Slack to keep real-time chat going, which approximates the in-office experience.Basecamp is a Project management software that makes it easy to view/update projects and plan out what needs to be accomplished next.
Schedule the communication. A remote team needs clear-cut rules on how communication will happen. Set aside days and time slots for meetings, and specify how other tools – like email and Slack — will be used. This will prevent an astounding number of problems from happening and will keep everyone equipped with the information they need to do their jobs.
Maintaining culture is probably one of the most difficult aspects of remote team management. But with deliberate effort, corporate culture can thrive across time and space.
Create a culture of work. Culture is about how you work. Employees should be motivated to work because they find the work rewarding.For a remote team, culture means working toward a common goal.That’s why you need workers who are motivated and dedicated.
Strengthen relationships. Since a remote team is interdependent, you’ll need to get to know one other’s work styles. Learn everyone’s strengths and weaknesses and work on them as a group. Encourage workers to help others solve problems and answer their questions.
Forward-thinking leadership. The old school, command-and-control style of leadership wouldn’t work for virtual companies. Recruit self-managing professionals who are aligned and engaged with the company’s purpose. Consider yourself a steward, not an owner.
Be Social. Use Annual company meetings, Monthly live-streaming town halls, Mr. Rogers chats to build remote-friendly relationships,relax and socialize remotely.
The absence of trust will crush a remote team. All employees relie on one other, and you need workers who will be honest and motivated. All workers should be self-driven to complete their tasks, as no one will be checking in every hour to see if they’re slacking off.
Hire the right people. A great employee doesn’t necessarily make a great remote employee. The traditional hiring process doesn’t work for a remote team. Discipline, drive and organization are three vital characteristics that every remote worker should have. You need to ensure they’re capable of self-management.
Ask the right interview questions. Ask specific questions during the interview process to gauge the applicant’s work ethic and level of motivation. The ability to describe these processes will help create a more productive team. Here are some questions to ask a remote hire.
What tools and/or processes do you currently use to manage projects, personally or professionally?
How would you prioritize your work if your manager wasn’t available for a few days suddenly?
What does your work environment look like?
Aside from interviewing via phone or video chat, I also highly recommend a round that is completely text based. While verbal communication is important, in remote roles the ability to explain your ideas or problems through clear, concise written communication is critical.