A lot of startups today are beginning to embrace the concept of remote working. Managing remote employees can oftentimes be a real headache.
As more and more companies offer the option to work remotely, leaders have realized that managing offsite employees requires a different approach than managing an in-office team.
It’s easy to treat remote workers as “out of sight, out of mind,” but as their leader, you need to put in a little extra effort if you want these team members to stay engaged and productive.
The following tips will help you manage communication in your team efficiently;
1. Have a chat room open constantly
You can use a platform like Slack or even Skype. Team members leave messages for the team that they are a part of. It can be a lonely existence working by yourself at home and this company-wide chat helps keep a feeling of social connection and easily communicate.
2. Choose the right communication style
Depending on your needs, choose the type of communication that works best.
- Email – For quick interactions. You can replace most email communication with a project management system.
- Chat programs – Skype or Google Hangouts are great for quick instant messages and for creating a team chat environment.
- Phone calls or video chat – Some types of communication should only be handled over the phone. Any kind of emotional issue such as performance problems should be handled over the phone. Video chat would be even better as it gives you more visual cues of what is going on with the other person.
- Creating a short video – It’s very easy to create a video of yourself on YouTube using your webcam.
3. Use screen sharing tools
There are tools that enable you to share your screen so that another person can see exactly what you are doing. Some of these tools even allow people to control another computer remotely. Many of these tools are free-to-use for small teams, including TeamViewer and Join.me. Skype also has screen sharing capability but without any option to control another computer remotely.
4. Collaborate on documents and spreadsheets
My personal favourite tool for this is Google drive. If you have a document that is being edited by many people, Google Drive is the best option. If you have a document that just needs to be shared, and will not be edited simultaneously, then you can place your documents (such as an excel file) in a shared Google Drive or in Dropbox.
Many project management tools also have file sharing and collaboration features, so that’s another alternative for collaborating on documents.
5. Set up a project management system, and actually use it
For smaller teams you might be tempted to wing it and handle everything via email. This is dangerous.
Project management systems are helpful in managing virtual teams because they help to organize documents and conversations into projects, making it easier to find them later.
They also help with organizing and storing shared files. If you run your business purely with emails it can quickly become an unmanageable, disorganized mess.