5 Signs You're Managing Your Remote Team Poorly (And What To Do About It)
Nothing can be worse for a company than a bad manager. If the supervisor doesn’t properly manage his or her employees, the problems that can arise are almost uncountable. However, the opposite is true as well. With an effective leader and good personality traits in your employees, the sky's the limit.
While you might be an amazing boss with your local team, remote employees require some different skills. Just by adjusting a few habits, you’ll reap the benefits of happier and more productive employees, lower overall costs, and more talented remote developers.
Don’t forget to communicate
If you’ve read some of our other blog posts, you know that effective communication is the number one most important factor in managing a remote team. We’ve written about the secrets to interpersonal communication between local and virtual team members, but there are a few things you still might be doing wrong in regards to exchanges in the workplace.
1. Don’t overuse email
Sometimes, bosses who are accustomed to only having local workers aren’t exactly sure how to best talk to their working nomads. Of course, all telecommuters know how to use email well, but this isn’t always the best way to communicate.
Instead, take advantage of a communication app or productivity apps to keep everything organized. This kind of app helps you avoid being overly formal through email while still ensuring that you and your employees at home are always able to communicate with ease.
2. Video chat is essential
While applications that help with communication and productivity are important, nothing beats video chatting apps. According to a study performed by UCLA, nonverbal cues determine “93 percent of communication effectiveness.”
Talking with your remote coders through a keyboard means that both you and your employee at home will likely misunderstand important cues. Not only will it cause more confusion, but your working nomads will feel less of a connection with you if your only communication is via email.
Check out our post to see how you can ensure that your group is effectively communicating in a virtual meeting.
3. Chit-chat isn’t just a time waster
You might think that those minutes your local workers spend at the water cooler or making desk stops are a waste of time, but this is far from the truth. While work is, of course, about getting things done, it’s also important for both local and remote employees to bond with each other and with their boss.
Right now, you probably aren’t setting aside ‘wasted time.’ You should; some time in video meetings for chit chat and opening up a chat room on your communication apps dedicated to “water cooler” talk helps remote employees feel more of a sense of belonging with their coworkers, boss, and company.
It is easier to take a look around the office and see who’s goofing off and who’s working hard. When you can’t see your remote workers, you might start to get worried that they aren’t working as much time as they should.
Let go of the micro manager inside of you and realize that every employee vetted by Distant Job is not wasting your time. Instead of worrying what they’re doing hour by hour, focus on the result.
Do they turn in assignments on time that are completed well? Then it’s probably better if you don’t force them to track their internet usage with a productivity manager that reports back to you or check in every day with progress (although this would make sense if they’re paid by the hour).
At the beginning, as you’re learning to trust your new remote employee, it’s fine to ask for more frequent updates. Then, as you see that they complete the job well, you can slowly taper this back to an appropriate amount depending on the work they’re doing for you.
Keep your door (or email/video chat) open to them for any questions, but don’t ask for hourly updates. If you learn to do this, both you and your remote workers will be much happier.
Use Proper Tools
As mentioned, certain apps can help you better manage your remote team. Long gone are the days of only having email. Remote workers are growing at an astounding rate, and applications to assist with managing your virtual team are growing right next to it.
Our favorite tools are Slack for daily communication, Trello for organizing, Zoom for video conferencing, and Google Docs for sharing and editing documents together. These applications are streamlined and easy to use, meaning that almost no time has to be wasted learning how to use them.
Your organization and communication are number one priorities, and you should keep it simple.
Don’t Leave Remote Workers Out of Company Culture
Building remote company culture is so important that we’ve written an ebook about it. With an employee at home, it’s difficult to make them feel part of the company culture if they only communicate via email with a couple of people.
Making them feel welcome doesn’t have to be difficult, though. In fact, we’ve already mentioned some steps you can take to make your local and remote team feel more cohesive. Regularly schedule a video conference, open time up at the beginning for a short introduction or casual talking, and create a chatting channel on your communication app just for water cooler talk.
Beyond this, make sure you keep up with in-office traditions with your remote workers. For example, if you buy a cake for office workers, make sure you at least send a card that all co workers have signed for your digital nomad. We’ve outlined some more great ideas here.
If you’d like more information about properly supporting your remote developer beyond just company culture, check out our blog post on the subject.
Set the Rules in the Beginning
Establishing rules when you first hire your remote coders is important. While one of the biggest perks of telecommuting is that these digital nomads can set their schedule, sometimes this can lead to communication problems.
Nip any issues in the bud right away by setting rules about how quickly they’re required to reply to emails between 1 pm and 5 pm EST, for example. Additionally, make it clear when and how frequently video conferencing will occur.
Being clear about the times is of particular importance if you have many remote workers in different time zones, and it can get confusing quickly if you don't establish a set time from the very beginning.
These few, simple adjustments mean that you and your remote workers can take full advantage of telecommuting. Now that you’re ready to take on or expand a virtual team of your own, let Distant Job help find the perfect remote developer for you