How to manage remote teams

#General | 4 min to read by Abulfaz Ahmadov on Oct 04

Companies tend to hire more and more remote stuff and the topic of managing remote teams is becoming more popular. Managing a remote team is not harder than managing an on-site team, but obviously is a little different, we will try to cover main topics and show you how to make simple and effective. The main difference is here, you should be focused not on the process, but on the result. Just keep this simple fact in mind, that it doesn’t really matter where and how the work is being done, simply focus on the fact it’s being done in a proper manner and in a proper time and it’s cannot be achieved without a certain level of trust. In other word, when you hire remote workers, be sure you trust them undoubtedly, otherwise, you are likely to fail, this is where a lot of companies encounter problems in hiring remotely.

Set up the rules and conventions. Make it transparent.

The most important thing in managing remote teams is to set your expectations at the beginning. Every remote team should have its own onboarding process, it’s extremely important to set your expectations transparently and everyone who joins your team should be informed in a proper way. First of all, clarify what means “done” in your particular situation and in your particular project. For instance, let’s consider software development job as we help companies to hire software developers, clarify what does “done” means, does it means the task should be completed and passed through all the stages of testing, or does “done” means you completed the task tested it manually and sent for a code review, or does it passed code review and ready for testing or even it’s already deployed? It should sound very simple, and it is, but different people have a different sense of done and it’s OK, just clarify this and it would be easier. It’s also reasonable to explain your expectation in your management systems. Your onboarding process should include setting up all the necessary tools needed for the job, share your company culture and mission and keep in mind that the new person might need some time for getting used to your rules and expectation, as a good leader, be ready to help with it and then it will be fine!

Remote teams need regular communication

Keep in mind, remote works should give flexibility to your team mates, it’s very important and actually good as it makes your mates happy and more productive! At the same time, you should set up regular meetings, keep in mind, that your colleagues are probably going to have different time zones, so clarify what time period is overlapping as a good manager you should have it written somewhere on your desktop and keep it on eye and use this time period for all general team meetings and embracing the communication. Definitely, you should set your expectations how should your team communicate. It worth including “the communication” topic on your onboarding sheet for your newcomers. As a leader, you should also regularly give some feedback and help your people grow and meet your expectations.

Help your people grow, build the company culture

The most powerful thing for every company is it’s culture. As Richard Branson says take care of your people and they will take care of your customers and business. One can’t agree more here, obviously. Having the team remote, doesn’t mean you cannot build a great culture, vise-versa you can and you should as you need it more. Try to communicate regularly with your team members, regularly (for example quarterly) help them to clarify their goals and help them to grow or master new knowledge. Create a spam chat for your team where you will share and discuss some hot topics around the world, travels of your mates. Find some common interests, for instance, software engineers and geeky guys tend to play video games, why don’t you encourage playing together? Another great idea is to setting up some travels together, it doesn’t require all your team to go somewhere together, enough to start with small groups of 2-3 people, this way you will embrace setting up good relationships.

To sum up, managing a remote team is even easier if done correctly. Clarify your expectations so your mates understand their responsibilities, your onboarding process is very important here. Define your overlapping time period, set up the communication process. The most important here is a level of trust, hire people you trust and delegate them the work.

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