Managing a team of remote employees may seem like an easy task, but many business-leaders are often surprised at just how tricky it can be. With remote teams, leaders need to be mostly virtual and make more of an effort in almost every sense. They need to be proactive with building trust, manage accountability and, perhaps the most important task, keep employees motivated.
Research has shown that remote employees tend to be happier and more productive compared to those employees who have less workplace flexibility. It can be difficult for employees to stay motivated if they don’t feel connected with other members of the team, so here are some ways in which you can keep remote employees engaged and reach their full potential.
Take Time To Build Relationships
Strong, virtual teams are built and based on solid, interpersonal relationships and creating a mutual trust. Of course, it takes much more time to develop this when members of the team aren’t working together in person. Many types of businesses rely on remote teams, such as chartered surveyors Manchester based, solicitors, digital agencies and ecommerce stores.
If it is possible, take time to meet with each member of your team in person. Research shows that the most successful virtual teams meet, in person, within 90 days. You should also set up meetings at regular intervals, such as once every 4-6 months, as this will help to keep the momentum going.
Stay Connected With Technology
Virtual leaders should avoid micromanaging, but they also need to ensure that they regularly check in with their employees. This is a difficult balance to maintain and one which requires a fair amount of communication from both parts.
Remote employees don’t want to feel as though they are being constantly hounded with managerial communication, but they also don’t want to feel as though they have been left to their own devices. Regular contact between employees and managers is easier now than ever before, with the help of technology such as Slack, Google Hangouts, Facetime and 15Five.
Offer Training and Development Opportunities
Employees who are regularly offered training courses and the chance to develop their skills in order to take the next step in their career are often far more motivated. Remote employees already have flexibility within their role and often they expect the same approach when it comes to training. Ensure that training is available in online formats, but also offer instructor-led courses, simulations and self-directed courses to make it easier for all employees to get involved with.
Get Rid Of Useless Meetings
Nothing destroys motivation and productivity more than sitting in a meeting and having the feeling that nothing was accomplished. As a manager of a remote team, be selective about the meetings you arrange and ensure that each one is absolutely necessary. Don’t arrange a meeting where your plan is just to update team members or share non-vital information.
Set a general rule: if you don’t need your team to help you reach a decision or solve problems, then find a different way to share the information or provide updates such as emails. When you have virtual meetings, create outlines and agendas as to who will cover what topics and how much time, approximately it will take. This way, team members will understand why they’ve been invited and just how they are expected to contribute. For example, if you are a party wall act surveyor, then you’re not going to be interested in the marketing of the company. An agenda will also allow people to join in for the topics which are relevant to them, rather than making them sit through a meeting they’re not involved with.