Practical advices how to create a well-functioning remote team:
- When employing a remote workforce, focus on finding the best talents and especially search for people who have already worked as freelancers or startup members.
- Give employees freedom - focus on results, balance and long term performance.
- Experiment, share and learn from others to develop your own remote work culture. In this way, you can better identify people who prefer to work in this model.
- Encourage people to work remotely, for instance, during business trips. Having people in different time zones can be beneficial for your company because work never ends. Eventually, you end up with an effective 24-hour work place.
- Clearly outline the best practices. Set clear goals, KPIs and results as well as open and purposeful communication to support integration and teamwork.
- Recognizing that you can save a lot of money on office space and facilities, but also take into account the costs related to remote work, such as internet access at home, co-working membership, etc. Most remote employees currently pay for it, but over time, this model will become even more common and employers will probably have to support their employees in covering these expenses.
- Use online technology to work smoothly. There are many tools that remote teams must use to work effectively. These include chat tools, such as Zoom for Skype video conferencing, HangOut Gmail, or shared documents from Google. Other tools to consider are Slack, Discourse, Zenefits, Monday, Dropbox, Dropbox Paper and Trello.
The first steps - how to start?
Ideally, the whole process of implementing a remote work model should start with the selection of a pilot group that has a natural predisposition to manage in a distributed mode. This team should consist of employees at various levels, including managers and external project stakeholders.
It is very important to involve as many people as possible. Thanks to this, everyone, including managers, will understand what the compromises in remote work are. Otherwise, it is easy to focus only on negative aspects. How should employees appreciate this time not lost in traffic jams or longer evenings spent with friends?
The next step in the process is to provide the group with the necessary technology and infrastructure so that they can take full advantage of remote work.
Members of the pilot group will become preachers for remote work. They will share good practices with other employees who do not take part in the process. They will describe their experiences, including how they managed to successfully leave the office for good. In this way, they will expand the circle of staff interested in taking part in the remote work model.
If you want to have the chance for a new situation and a new model of work, you have to dive into it fully and with the willingness to change your team and eventually the whole company’s habits. You can start with small steps but do it systemically and in a thoughtful and planned way. Give yourself and your team more time to fully explore the new work model. In this case, time is your friend.
Creating and managing a well-functioning remote team is not an easy process, especially if you're used to working with people under one roof. However, if you master the appropriate skills and prepare a company to work in a remote model, eventually, you and your company will have far more to gain than loose.
Part 1: How to create a well-functioning remote-team?