With all the technology available to us today, working from home as never been easier. Telecommuting has become a worldwide phenomenon that more companies are starting to realize the benefits that come from it. In a global survey conducted by PGI, 60% of workers said they would quit their jobs for a full time remote position that paid the same. Anyone who has worked from home knows how relaxing yet productive it can be. Some of the benefits of working remotely include increased employee productivity and efficiency; reduces turnover; decreased real estate costs; increased employee engagement and meets the needs of millennial workers. Although telecommuting produces so many positive outcomes, it takes work and discipline to manage a team remotely.
If you are thinking about letting your employee’s works from home or are running your brand’s team virtually, these five tips can help you get it right.
Hire the right people. Regardless of how much support and resources you provide, the wrong people will not be able to work remotely and produce quality work. These are the people who will miss deadlines if someone isn’t on top of them about it and monitoring their work each day in the office. Since 2003, the amount of remote workers has risen from 19% to 23% in 2015 but not everyone is jumping on board and it’s for this exact reason. Not everyone has the dedication and strong work ethic to make things happens on their own. If you hired self-starters who are just as focused on getting the work done as you are, you’re off to a great start.
Utilize useful tools. Weekly or even daily phone calls will not be enough to keep your virtual team on track to meet your goals. Take full advantage of the free project management, file sharing and video conferencing tools offered by Trello, Asana, Google Apps and others to keep everyone organized and on the same page.
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Implement a process, for everything. When you’re working from home, you make your own schedule and sometimes your own process for getting things done. But when it comes to how you work with others virtually, there needs to be a process for it all. For example, if you run a blog and aren’t the only writer for it – you need to come up with a process for onboarding new contributors, sending/receiving pitches, submitting, editing and scheduling. The people working with you need to know if they should save it in drafts in WordPress themselves, if they should send their posts in a word document. The last thing you want is everyone making up their own rules and processes for getting things done. Process makes working remotely a more seamless and cohesive thing for teams.
Communicate. There is no such things as too much communication when it comes to working remotely. You always need to be in contact with your team during work hours. This doesn’t mean that you should try to micromanage from where you are but there should be an open door policy on your inbox and cell phone in case problems or questions arise. Your team should be able to connect with you just as easy as it would be for an employee to pop in their boss’s office to ask a quick question. Also, one on one meetings are essential for building an engaged and motivated team. When workers feel that they aren’t being appreciated or their boss doesn’t even know that they’re there, the work they produce isn’t the best quality or they might even quit. Schedule one on one time with everyone on your team each week to answer questions, assign projects in detail and mentor them as well. Everyone who works for you has their own dreams and aspirations. The best way to make sure that they’ll do the work to help you reach your goals is to guide them on the path to reaching theirs too.
Trust. This is one of the most important things to have when managing a team remotely. If you can’t trust the people on your team to do their jobs, then this might not be the best situation for you to work in. There is nothing wrong with deadlines, process and checking in – they are necessary – but when you concerned whether or not something is even being done, you clearly don’t have trust in your team. As someone who has worked remotely all throughout my career, this is the worse feeling. When you are in the middle of completing a task and are constantly being questioned or you notice someone else taking it on, it can be received as mistrust. If you make it clear that to your team that they are the CEO of their duties, you should also make it clear that means you trust them to get it done. And if they can’t, they should feel comfortable asking for an extension. You can’t do it all, so you have to trust others to help you.
What tips would you recommend for anyone working remotely?