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5 Tips for Running a Fully Remote Team

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About one-third of the modern business world works from home at least part-time, but one in six employees works from home full-time. This means that they never come to the office. In fact, chances are that their business doesn’t even have an office.

Thanks to modern tools, people can collaborate, meet, and conduct financial exchanges without ever having actually to meet in person.

Still, keeping control over a remote team is far from easy. Sure, there are tools that you can use, but it’s not just about the tools.

Running a remote team is an operational challenge, so here are a few tips to help you handle this task.

Get the right business management software

If you run a traditional business, you would have to find the right office space and pay a lease. Well, finding the right business management software and paying for a license is the digital world equivalent.

So, how do you find the one that’s right for you?

The simplest answer is that you should read some reviews. Individual user reviews can be useful, but the problem is that, as an entrepreneur, you’re always looking at the bigger picture. This is why you want to check out reviews and comparisons by specialists.

Second, you need to consider the capacities and size of your team and compare them against the costs of these platforms. Most platforms have different plans, which is why figuring out the needs of your business will help you see what the costs will be.

Krishi Chowdhary says that when choosing a tool, scalability is a key feature to look out for. In the guide to business management software by business experts on Techopedia, he says you should “look for software that can easily add new features, support more users, and handle more data without requiring a complete system overhaul. A scalable software solution can provide long-term benefits for your business, helping you stay competitive and grow.”

You might also want to check out a few tutorials on YouTube. While watching tutorials for a platform that you’re still not using may sound counterintuitive, the truth is that this is an intuitive way to figure out what these tools are like while in use.

Set rules about communication

One of the biggest concerns in remote teams is communication.

It’s completely possible for you just to give assignments to your staff members (through business management tools described in the previous section) and forget about them. Then, every day, you check your Monday.com or Trello to see that the new file has been uploaded and the table has more entries.

This is what perfect communication looks like (sharing files and updating tasks is also a form of communication), but it’s never that simple. You also need to have an email communication, and you want to have an IM service that’s exclusive to your work.

You don’t want to communicate with your team via Viber or WhatsApp, mostly because it’s confusing and a security risk. Sure, Viber has amazing encryption, but what’s to stop your employees from sending a secretive piece of company IP to a friend just because they sent them a message (probably a meme) a bit earlier? So now they’re their latest contact.

Most importantly, you don’t want your staff members to have to worry about this. You need to be the one to tell them how to communicate in which scenario.

Be careful when hiring

The biggest challenge when hiring a remote team is finding the right people to hire. This is more difficult than you think for several reasons. First of all, while you can use employee monitoring tools and check in on them via messaging platforms, there are so many ways to trick these platforms.

This means that you have to trust them to do their work. You don’t know when they’re coming to the office. You don’t know what they’re doing at home; all you can do is look at the results as they come in and trust that they’re really doing their best.

It’s also a challenge finding people who have the potential to stay in your company the longest.

Traditionally, changing workplaces would mean changing your commute, potentially relocating, and introducing a much greater lifestyle change than you would normally have to undergo. This is why leaving an employer is much easier when you’re working fully remotely.

This is especially problematic when you’re planning to hire people for the long run or even hiring for succession.

Sure, the performance of your business is a huge factor when it comes to who stays and who leaves. The same goes for the treatment of your employees. However, sometimes, the right hire makes all the difference.

Set the right company culture

This task is fairly hard to do during remote work, but there are a few things you could do to make it easier.

First, you want to encourage and respect their private time. Don’t message them outside of work hours (unless absolutely necessary, and even then, apologize and promise that you won’t make it a habit). Also, make sure that they use their free days and insist that they take regular breaks.

Second, make sure to check in on them every now and again. A feedback loop is important because it reminds them that they still have a supervisor and coworker. Someone out there depends on their work, and they have to finish it on time so that the next step of the project can commence.

It’s also important to consider some team activities. Virtual teambuilding is a thing and there’s a lot your company can do to inspire loyalty and camaraderie in your staff members. This is one of the things that will improve your retention rate quite drastically.

Also, there are quite a few ways to show your leadership skills, even in a remote team.

Onboarding and continuous learning

Mentorship is substantially easier when you share an office space with someone. When you’re scattered across the globe, this is a bit more difficult to achieve. So, you need to start by preparing some killer onboarding materials.

Then, you need to introduce a habit of gathering your team regularly to check up on their knowledge and increase their knowledge by holding regular workshops.

Senior members of your team should prepare materials and presentations, but you also want to set a budget for online courses that your employees can attend remotely. Just remember that this can be expensive and, for the reasons we’ve described in the previous section, they might not stay for too long. So, only pick essential courses and only enroll your team members when they earn it.

Remote businesses all depend on high-tech, which means that changes and evolution of tools take place quicker than you would expect. No one can afford to get left behind, which is why continuous learning also needs to become a part of your company culture.

Remote team or in-house team, some rules remain the same

As we’ve mentioned in the first section, a business management platform is just a digital version of your office space (with all its whiteboards, tools, and equipment). Keeping talented people is a priority; communication can make or break a business, and having the right company culture can determine your long-term success. Basic principles remain the same; it’s just the means to get there that have evolved.

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