The performance of a remote team largely depends on communication, as there are fewer opportunities to interact face-to-face. Poor communication with the manager and unavailability is a serious threat to the successful operation of a team. Be available! At least, during the established “core working hours”, when everyone is supposed to be in touch.
The most productive and hardworking office employee cannot simply transform into a good remote worker. The ability to be efficient when working remotely is a skill, and not everyone has it or can acquire it. When hiring people for your remote team, make sure they can cope with this specific type of work, check if they previously were freelancers or remote employees. Having experience with their own business is a big plus as well, as such people are more self-accountable and flexible.
Typically, managers dealing with remote teams are afraid that things are happening beyond their control, and therefore, are trying to interfere in the daily tasks to make sure that every small thing goes well. However, micromanaging can be counter-productive, as remote employees appreciate autonomy the most, and constant control will put unnecessary pressure on them. Guide the general overflow of processes, but let the employees be responsible for their tasks and organize the work themselves, where possible.
The fact that your team works remotely doesn’t mean that they don’t need teambuilding and camaraderie. Perhaps, these integration activities are even more important for those working remotely as their interaction with each other is limited to a virtual space only. Celebrating milestones, having traditions and small chitchats play a big role. You can also encourage the meetings in real life, where it’s possible.
It may be harder to assess the performance of separate remote workers, as they may follow different paces and schedules. However, you should clearly communicate your expectations to make the work of the whole team structured, and assure that the common goals are met. Provide concise instructions and specific deadlines, make sure everyone understands the goals of the team and follows them. In this way, you will avoid confusion and let the workers know what to expect.
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