Building a remote team is a smart move for any business owner. Besides saving you money on office space, hiring remote employees gives your company the opportunity to create an amazing cross-cultural business. As an added bonus your employees gain all the lifestyle benefits of working from home.
First time remote team leaders might find building and maintaining their team a little intimidating at first but we’ve broken down the process into four simple stages. Follow these guidelines for a truly successful remote team.
Onboarding team members
- Schedule one-on-ones between upper management and new employees at critical onboarding stages. Check in on a personal level with each new recruit to make sure they’re comfortable and answer any lingering questions.
- Establish healthy work boundaries. Walk your new employee through your programs and procedures (you do have these written out, right?).
- Make expectations crystal clear. If you need them to be available during certain hours, note their tasks on a certain program, or communicate with other team members on specific projects, make sure they know this now. No statement is too obvious at this point.
Creating collaborative channels
- Use video chat for weekly or monthly team meetings. Face to face social cues are incredibly important for social bonding. And you’ll all get an excuse to put on a nice shirt which is kind of fun.
- Choose effective project management software. What you lack in physical amenities you should make up for with virtual ones in the form of easy-to-use tools that make each task or project a no-brainer for everyone involved. Feel free to reevaluate as your team grows and changes.
- Celebrate successes together. Acknowledge wins at a regular interview both privately and to the group. Fostering a community of employees who cheer each other on will help grow your group bond.
Get to know team members
- Schedule virtual water cooler moments. Who says every meeting has to have talking points? Make an excuse for everyone to take a mandatory break and discuss something you all like (Game of Thrones anyone?)
- Be highly accessible during business hours. You can even go as far as to leave your laptop camera on all work day. Employees will feel as connected to you like they would if you were actually sitting at a desk near them.
- Get a little silly. Try not to be so serious when interacting with your employees. You want them to think you’re a person not a productivity robot. Leaders can enjoy the work day too you know.
- Designate specific programs for individual purposes. Use a Facebook group for inside jokes but leave the urgent work conversations for Slack. Whatever system you choose just make sure everyone is one the same page about these assigned online spaces.
- Create group milestones (with prizes). For example, you could organize a pizza party when a major goal is accomplished. Just order pizza to be delivered at the same time to their home offices and celebrate over video chat. Get creative.
- Promote healthy work-life balance. One of the biggest concerns with remote work is the fear that their boss will expectation them to always be on the clock. Make sure your company policies set up structures that allow employees to feel as if their personal time is both valued and appreciated.
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