Advice From The Experts -- Managing Remote Teams

Posted on February 3, 2020 by BWBacon. Tagged: Resources for Entrepreneurs, For Clients

Managing remote teams is a unique challenge for organizations that can have exceptional benefits. As more and more businesses consider managing entirely remote teams, we wanted to get their insights on how they make it work. 

We spoke with clients and industry experts to discover the challenges they face, the positives they've noticed, and everything in between when it comes to remote workers. 

Remote work is an increasingly popular way for businesses to attract top engineers. In fact, more than 70% of employees work from home at least one day a week, according to a global study. That's huge! Companies realize that working remotely or from home can have positive effects on work-life balance, and extend a company's reach to multiple locations. However, managing a remote team isn't always sunshine and rainbows. 

Issues with communication, scheduling, and digital conversation must be navigated and approached methodically. That's why we wanted to put this post together. To help you understand how people are making it work today so you can use these tips for your teams. 

We've gathered some need-to-knows and information on how to manage remote teams and unexpected issues that may arise and how to deal with them. If you have any additional tips to share with us, we'd love to hear them!

Expert Advice on Managing Remote Teams

What is a need-to-know piece of information or advice about the setup or execution of managing remote teams?

As a manager of a remote team, you have to feel confident that your colleagues can handle working from home. While some people thrive in this environment, others are unable to put aside the distractions of being at home and focus on work during the appropriate hours. You can do a trial run and watch productivity levels or even administer personality and aptitude tests to see if their personality matches the type that thrives in a remote, entrepreneur-like environment. 

Also, the resources available to them must enable them to do their job. For example, poor connectivity, inadequate VPN capability, and issues accessing files can hamper productivity significantly. Work with your IT team to ensure that proper systems are in place to get the best results. 

From experience, collaboration tools are a primary key to fostering team spirit. Morale can be one of the hardest aspects of the company to maintain when everyone is offsite. By keeping everyone on the same page, you can help your team avoid feelings of being isolated from colleagues.

Finally, be proactive when you're creating a structure around check-ins and contact points so you can avoid bridges in communication while managing your teams. If they need to hit deadlines, make sure they check-in regularly so you can mitigate issues and get issues resolved quickly to stay on track.  

Other key things to remember when building a remote team include: 

  • Hire values-aligned people: Ensuring your team is dedicated and in tune with its goals will increase remote team success.
  • Trust your team: If you've found a good team, trust that they will deliver results.
  • Facilitate thoughtful communication: Have planned or expected times of communication so everyone feels respected and engaged.

What is something unexpected that you learned after starting to manage remote teams or employees?

The most unexpected thing one of our clients noticed was how spoken word, when not accompanied by facial expressions or in-person discussion, can be misunderstood. This is huge. Just think about getting a text message and thinking that someone is angry or upset when in reality, they're just short for time. It's imperative that communication is clear, and everyone leaves a meeting or discussion with the same understanding to remain productive and to work towards the same goals. Try implementing video chat when meeting with remote teams to avoid misunderstandings or things getting lost in translation. 

Also, collaboration across time zones can be challenging. One of our clients mentioned that they need to provide frequent updates to their clients based on their needs, and sometimes time can get in the way. They empower their team to communicate asynchronously by leveraging tools like Slack, Zoom, JIRA, and email, among others. 

Why do remote teams work best for your business model?

While remote teams may not be proven to work best for a specific company type, they can be the best option for your particular organization. Our partner said that remote teams are best for them because they believe that it has helped lead to the creation of a more inclusive, equitable, and environmentally friendly workforce.

Our advice, if you're thinking about building a remote team, give it a try. See if it works for your team and adjust as necessary. 

We hope these tips and things to consider enlightened your perspective on managing remote teams. And remember, always focus on strong communication. That can make or break your success with remote employees. 

Here at BWBacon Group, we know and live what you are experiencing as an employer or job seeker in Denver, Boulder, Dallas, San Francisco, New York City or any of the other cities we work in. We believe great recruiting starts and ends with understanding people.

If you have any questions about living, working or playing any of the areas we serve, please contact us. We are happy to help. Seize the day, every day, that’s what we say!