How do you make a remote team work like a well-oiled machine?
It’s sometimes trickier than having all of your crew in one spot, but it confers a number of unique advantages if you can pull it off.
Let’s explore the bedrock of what makes a good remote team so effective.
Well Defined Roles & Responsibilities
What happens when no one on the team understands what they should be doing?
You have chaos, and nothing gets accomplished to the degree that it could if you had laid out everyone’s responsibilities in advance. This goes double for a remote team, where you can’t monitor the members of your team constantly.
This isn’t a bad thing, mind you, the sense of autonomy afforded by being able to work from anywhere is a powerful motivator, one that boosts task enjoyment and makes your best employees put more pride in their work. It can be undermined, though, if your employees don’t feel confident about what you need from them.
It’s not hard to accomplish, either. Take a look at this guide from Cleverism. It’s important to distinguish roles and responsibilities (they are different), you have to make sure that team roles and responsibilities serve the overall mission, and you have to (big step here) communicate those to your team.
Once everyone is on the same page about what they need to do, you can start getting to work.
Once your members know what they have to do, the efforts of the team have to be coordinated in a way that best serves the group’s goals.
Sometimes, one action can’t be taken until another is complete, and when you have multiple people working on one big task, it can be difficult to orchestrate everything correctly.
There are plenty of expert opinions to go around, but it comes down to a few key elements:
Good Communication. Just like with defining team roles, the team has to know, within reason, what their colleagues are doing and how their efforts fit into the big picture.
To this end, allowing for multiple methods of communication is vital.
Your team should be able to get in touch via phone, email, online messengers, and whatever else best suits their communication style.
For big projects, having a way to view the big picture (like with an online assignment board) is a great idea, as is enabling comments and feedback so your crew can leave their thoughts for everyone to see.
Proper Time Tracking. Time tracking software is the way to go here. It enables your team to keep track of when things need to get done, how much time they’ve been spending on a piece of work, etc. In addition, it simplifies monitoring of employees (keeping them accountable) and helps with automatically filling out forms like time sheets and invoices.
A Sense Of Unity
This is one factor that is often overlooked.
You can have all the right tools in place, but if the team doesn’t feel like a team, then you won’t get much productivity out of them. Creating that feeling of “team spirit” can feel difficult when everyone is remote, but it is possible.
Make sure you implement our first two strategies, then stick to the rudiments: hire individuals that fit the company culture, recognize individual achievements, and lead by example.
When they have a paragon at the fore, the team is much more likely to follow suit.