How To Manage A Remote Workforce From Anywhere With Internet Access
By Bond Collective Staff
Gone are the days when all of your team members reported to work at the same time and in the same location. Remote work has become the new norm. Because of that fundamental shift, the ability to remotely manage a diverse workforce is a must-have skill for the 21st-century entrepreneur and executive.
But what does it take to remotely manage a team that you don’t see face-to-face every day? In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know to cultivate and grow a productive and successful team from anywhere in the world.
How To Remotely Manage Your Workforce
1) Provide The Right Tools
Providing the right tools is essential if you want to remotely manage your workforce with any degree of accuracy and control. Apps like Google Drive, Slack, Trello, Skype, and Google Hangouts (just to name a few) make finding the right tools for your remote workforce easy and affordable.
2) Create Core Values And Standards
Whether your team works together in an office or is spread around the globe in multiple countries, your business should always have a set of core values and standards (a.k.a. an employee handbook).
These guidelines give local and remote workers (often from widely different cultures and backgrounds) a framework on which to base their work and work habits.
3) Standardize The Way Your Team Works
If you want to remotely manage your workforce effectively, standardize the way they work. Take your cue from the elementary school teacher who made it mandatory to write your name, the date, and the subject in the left-hand corner of every worksheet.
For a remote team, standardizing work methods goes well beyond the way your team formats documents to include meeting structure, communication protocols, and even where files are stored and how they are named.
4) Emphasize Clear Communication
Clear communication is essential for any team, whether they’re locally managed or remotely managed.
With a remote workforce, you may be dealing with individuals who don’t speak your language very well. And even with those who do, it’s very easy to misinterpret written and spoken communication when you’re not face to face.
Never simply assume that you understand what is being communicated. Always ask questions if you’re unsure and double-check that the meaning is clear.
5) Allow For Flexibility While Encouraging Consistency
One of the many perks of being part of a remote team is the flexibility it provides. As the individual who remotely manages that workforce, you want to allow for this flexibility but promote consistency at the same time.
Encourage your remote team members to work regular hours so it’s easier to communicate, collaborate, and meet deadlines.
6) Implement An Onboarding Process For New Team Members
Creating an onboarding process for new remote team members helps them get familiar with the company culture, the standards and values, and the tools you use on a daily basis.
Whether your onboarding process consists of documents the new team member needs to read, videos they need to watch, or conference calls and screen sharing (or all four), take the time to guide the new employee through each step so they can get to work without unnecessary delays.
7) Make Expectations And Responsibilities Clear
The best way to remotely manage your workforce is to establish a clear delineation of responsibilities and expectations. Without this transparency, remote employees can encroach on each other’s work and cause unnecessary difficulties and delays.
Make sure that each member of your remote team knows where their responsibilities begin and end and what tasks they should and shouldn’t do.
8) Treat Remote Workers With Respect
Remotely managing a geographically widespread team can be difficult because you don’t see those individuals face-to-face on a daily basis.
Because you don’t interact with remote workers like you do local employees, it’s all too easy to see those remote workers as an expendable resource. But treat your remote team with the respect they deserve and they’ll become a loyal and productive part of your business.
9) Trust Your Remote Team
Trust is crucial for the success of your business whether your team members work locally or in different countries. You can avoid eroding that trust by refraining from micromanaging your remote workforce.
Give them an assignment, turn them loose, and then step back and wait for the finished product.
10) Measure Performance Through Deliverables
With your local workforce, it’s easy to measure performance through how they get along with their coworkers and through their work ethic. But with remote employees, it’s more difficult because those intangibles are less obvious.
Instead, measure the performance of your remote workforce through the deliverables they produce and the deadlines they reach.
11) Meet With Remote Workforce At Least Once Per Week
Meeting with your remote workforce at least once per week is vital if you want to keep your team on track and working efficiently. Consider including the remote team in your weekly office meeting, or arrange for a group chat with only the offsite employees.
It’s also crucial to touch base with your remote team members one-on-one to find out how work is progressing and to provide feedback.
12) Use Collaboration Software
With modern collaboration software — like Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Dropbox — your team can work together in real time on everything from text documents to spreadsheets to presentations.
Regardless of what product or service your remote team provides, the right collaboration software will make their job (and yours) much easier.
13) Avoid Communication Overload
The plethora of communication methods available to remote teams these days can be overwhelming. If you use email, Slack, and Skype to communicate and you’re sending messages several times each day, the distraction can hinder productivity.
Avoid communication overload by restricting your interactions to one regular channel and sending messages only when necessary.
14) Test New Remote Workers Before Hiring
Not everyone has the skills or the temperament to be remotely managed. Instead of hiring a remote team member based on an interview alone, test them first to see how they work by having them complete a sample assignment.
How well do they communicate? Are they able to meet deadlines? What is the quality of their work? How do they interact with other team members?
This initial test assignment can provide significant insight into what you can expect from each remote candidate.
15) Recognize Your Remote Workforce For A Job Well Done
It’s easy to commend your local team when they’re successful — a pat on the back as you pass in the hall or a catered lunch from a local restaurant. It’s much more difficult to recognize your remote workforce for a job well done, but it’s still vitally important.
If you neglect to commend your remote team, they can feel unappreciated and may start looking for a job where their work is valued.
Setting Up a Common Space For Collaboration
The nature of remote work means that your team members can be anywhere at any time. You might have people working all over the world, or you might have people working right across the street. Sometimes, though, a large proportion of your remote workforce may be based in a specific area.
For example, your home office might be based on the west coast of the United States, but you employ a large number of remote team members on the east coast. Of those remote team members based on the east coast, maybe a handful work in one particular geographic region (let’s say New York City).
You can remotely manage this part of your team by setting up a satellite office in a central location (New York City) that everyone can access no matter where they work most of the time.
Sound impossible or too expensive? Bond Collective makes it simple and affordable.
Bond Collective offers a variety of options for local and remote teams, including:
Add to that Bond Collective’s many amenities, such as:
Private label mail service
Daily on-site cleaning
Concession food market
Guest reception and greeting
And much more…
With all of those benefits available at every one of Bond Collective’s seven locations, it’s easy to see how their coworking spaces can draw your remote team together in a cohesive unit and give them the ability to succeed at any problem, task, or project that comes their way.
Tour Bond Collective’s gorgeous office spaces in New York (Bushwick, 55 Broadway, 60 Broad, Gowanus, Flatiron) and Philadelphia (The Station House) to experience the best that modern office spaces have to offer. Then become a member and give your remote workforce a place to collaborate.
For more resources to help you manage your business or to learn more about the advantages of coworking spaces for digital nomads, remote workers, and businesses of all kinds, visit BondCollective.com today.