In many industries from tech and IT to sales and business consultancy roles, there could be the opportunity to widen your talent search to a global scale. With the ability to hire the best of the best, it can be overwhelming knowing where to start when managing remote teams.

Managing remote workers can be a challenge, but it shouldn’t have to be. With this blog, you’ll be able to get a better idea on how you can improve communication, manage workloads and boost morale.

How do you motivate virtual teams?

Motivating a virtual team has the same principles as motivating an in-house team, but without providing the free coffee and biscuits. Any full-time contracted employee needs to have their career progression accounted for, just because you don’t see them every day does not mean that they have less ambition or are not loyal to the company. Ensure that they have the right skills and tools needed for their responsibilities and look to invest in training if upskilling is required.

Rewards are a great way to show you appreciate your workforce. Whether that is performance bonuses, industry networking events or work parties; there are several incentives you can introduce to make sure everyone stays in good working spirits.

Get better at communication

One of the best ways to improve your managing efforts is to provide more communication. Touch base as often as you can to ensure that a good report can be achieved.

When you do communicate, you want to keep it simple and direct. Although, a bit of small talk to get to know the individual wouldn’t be a bad thing. It can help you get to know your team, find out what could implement their work schedule and help create a friendly, positive atmosphere.

When you’re talking, either over email or on the phone, try to make it feel as inclusive as possible. Tell them what is going on in the office and give context to things they may not know about. If you keep forgetting to touch base, set yourself a reminder in your calendar to check in with your remote workers.

Track milestones not their time

One of the best management tips anyone could give you is to trust your employees. With remote workers, you must have faith in them. Micromanaging their workload will not work efficiently. Focus on goals and milestones being met rather than their day-to-day activity. This way you can merge your goals with theirs to ensure you’re all working together at the same pace.

Understand time zones

The beauty of remote workers is that there are no location restraints, which means your talent pool can be global. Hiring outside of your timezone can have challenges you’ll need to consider. Scheduling meetings, arranging and delivering deadlines and actioning queries will all be impacted if you’re naturally working at different times of the day. A way to make this work is to be conscious of their working day.

Use technology to help unite teams

By using collaboration platforms such as Trello, Slack or Huddle, you can have a controlled pathway of instant dialogue. This type of technology can be a great way to improve collaboration, especially if you have a lot of employees in several time zones. With relaxed message boards and the ability to upload documents to each conversation thread, information can be shared with ease.

Hold virtual meetings with your staff

Set up regular video meetings with your remote employees to check in. This can feel much more relaxed and less awkward than a conference call.

If things are not going to plan, ask your remote workers to check in with you face to face. This will only work if they live locally, of course, but it can be a good opportunity to speak openly and honestly, which is harder to do efficiently over email.

Never be late for a meeting

You’re at the top of the project, a leader, the central point of information. If you’re late for a meeting, whether that is a face-to-face meeting or a virtual one, it doesn’t give off a productive message to the wider team. It can also show that you don’t value that employee’s time. Make sure you’re on time and if you think you may be late, send a quick note to that employee. Timely communication is extra important when working with remote employees.

Key takeaways

A good management technique comes down to having great communication, trust and the right tools to meet your project deadlines. From giving your remote workers clear guidance from the very beginning to keeping them motivated throughout the project, here are some key takeaways to remember:

  • Make it clear from the start what remote employees’ roles and responsibilities include.
  • Set up regular video calls for meetings about updates on progress.
  • Unite teams with collaboration tools such as Slack.
  • Motivate staff with goal-oriented rewards and scheduled work events.