You decided to run a business with a remote team? That’s a great decision. Remote teams cost you less money. You don’t have to invest in fancy offices. Your workers will love this method of work, too. They get to manage the salary without spending money on commuting or dressing up for work. It’s a win-win situation.
When I started an online project that reveals the truth about the essay writing service industry, I knew I would need an entire team behind it. So I had a dilemma: do I get a nice office space for my team, or do I settle for a smaller office for three workers and hire remote writers? Well, it wasn’t much of a dilemma… I quickly decided to go with the remote team.
Remote teams, however, have one major flaw: lack of control over the way your workers do the job. You’ll give them instructions and deadlines, and you’ll leave the rest to them. Some of them will work during evenings. Others will procrastinate and then binge before the deadline. Even when you attract the best freelancers to work for you, things might not turn out as expected.
From my experience working with a remote team, it’s possible to overcome that pitfall. You just need proper organization and a plan that your team can follow. I’ll share few tips on how you can do that.
Prepare the Major Plan with Milestones
When you have a big project for your team, you have to explain all its aspects. This will be a major outline that shows the big deadline. For example, let’s say you’re working on a new website and you hire a remote team of graphic designers, programmers, content writers, and marketing experts. The big goal will be “website launch on the evening of March 15th.”
However, you’ll have milestones that lead to that big goal. Each team member will have their own responsibilities and milestones. The big plan should express them.
Create this major plan with great attention to details. Don’t make it too long and expansive, though. Some of your team members may not have the patience to read through such a demanding document. Make it clear! Make sure they understand it. Invite them to ask questions and answer!
Organize the Weekly and Daily Tasks
If you simply deliver the big plan and expect everyone to be done by the deadline, you’ll leave your team with a major risk: procrastination. Your team members might focus on their private lives, thinking there’s plenty of time to get the job done. So they will get to it with full speed just before the deadline, and the effects will show the rush.
How do you prevent that from happening? Keep them focused! Yes; they may be flexible with their working hours. If they commit to the job, however, they should stick to progressive goals that you’ll set.
Prepare a weekly outline that shows everyone what goals they are expected to meet. Then, set daily goals. Ask them to inform you about the progress and check their work along the way. I found that with this method, the remote team can be much more successful than an in-office team. They still have much greater flexibility when compared to an office job, but they also get the structure they need for staying focused.
Direct Communication Is Important
Leaders know that the office culture they nurture motivates the employees to be more productive. When you’re dealing with a remote team, you clearly don’t need to worry about office culture. However, the collaboration within the team is still essential, and you have to stimulate it through online tools.
Sending daily emails is part of the process, but it’s not enough. The lack of face time means there’s no real connection between the members of the team. Your facial expressions and body language are an essential part of communication, and you can’t express them in an email.
As a manager, you have to fix this. Use Google Hangouts or Skype to make up for the lack of face-to-face interaction. These conferences should be part of the plan. Schedule a conference on a specific date so everyone will plan to attend in advance.
Track the Progress
Planning is important for the success of this project, but it doesn’t end once you write the plan. First of all, you must get some feedback. Is everyone okay with the tasks? Will they be able to cover them on time? Keep in mind that you’re dealing with remote workers, who want to have control over the amount of work they accept.
Once you make sure that everyone is okay with the workload, the process of monitoring starts. Are they achieving your daily and weekly goals? Track the progress and adjust the plan as necessary. If you notice that someone is slow, try to help them or hire another person to take part of the workload.
Just stay proactive and you’ll definitely lead the remote team to success.
About the Author:
Julie Petersen is a remote team chief editor. Also, she runs her personal blog AskPetersen where she shares tips related to content writing.
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