Working in a team whose members have never met each other in real life might be challenging. Managing remote staff might be even more difficult. In this article, we’ll focus on the specifics of recruitment and onboarding in remote teams as well as coordinating their workflows.
Establish Efficient Communication
Before accepting a new employee, let them know which tools you use to distribute tasks, coordinate teamwork and solve issues. For instance:
- Discord — for urgent communication;
- Email — for exchanging files and non-urgent proposals;
- Phone calls — only when absolutely necessary.
Such an approach enables employees to answer messages promptly and prevents doubling information.
Create a database for sharing knowledge. It might be a collection of documents on Google Drive, in your CRM, or on web pages that only users who know the password can access. Send the links to this information to each new person who joins your team.
Regularly Update Work Statuses
To manage teams and projects, install software that will allow you to track task progress. All staff members should be able to check at any moment which tasks are already completed, which might get delayed and which require extra help. For their convenience, all the processes should be split into stages. It’s vital that each employee should understand their individual objectives as well as the overall business goals of the company.
Inform Others About Your Availability
In addition to task statuses, agree on a system of individual statuses. Members of remote teams might live in different time zones. Some of them might be productive in the morning, while others in the evening. Colleagues need to understand when they can contact each other and how long they might have to wait to get a reply.
To simplify the management, agree on a unified system of statuses, such as:
- Available only for urgent questions;
- Day off;
- On a vacation.
To personalize their statuses, people might use emojis, colors and creative fonts. Yet it would be unreasonable to allow creative statuses. Let’s imagine that someone has a “Daydreaming” or “Freestyling” status. How should others interpret it? Does it mean that this person is ready to talk to them or not?
Don’t expect others to remember your schedule. If you go to a gym on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 2 p.m. and spend two hours there, selected employees might remember that — while others won’t. So don’t forget to update your status as “Busy” on “Unavailable” each time you go to train.
Create a Hangout Space
It’s the “secret sauce” of effective team management. Let people spend time together without discussing any work-related issues. Create a dedicated chat in a messenger that you don’t use for business. There, your staff members will be able to share photos of their kids, pets and meals, gossip and crack jokes. They will get to know each other better, establish mutual trust and get rid of excessive stress. The more liberal the rules of such a chat, the better. Just ensure that everyone is polite and respectful to each other and maybe avoid talking about politics.
Arrange Team-Building Meetings
Such meetings are indispensable for team integration. If possible, it would be superb to conduct offline events once or twice per year. Consider renting a cafe, loft, conference room or another type of premise. Hire a professional who specializes in team development for customers who hardly ever see each other face to face. Segment the event in two parts: business and fun. Don’t forget to order food, drinks and stylish, useful merchandise with your company’s logo.
If your staff is scattered all around the world, offline socialization might be out of the question. Nevertheless, you can find people who specialize in online team building for remote groups. Alternatively, you may look for inspiration online and arrange everything yourself. For instance, you can hold a virtual happy hour for your team members. Prepare boxes with drinks and snacks, send them out to your employees, wait until everyone receives them, schedule a video conference and enjoy! Or, you can play easy and exciting distant ice-breaking games, whose rules you can find for free on the Internet
Find Out About the Strong and Weak Sides of Each Member
Each member of an IT team has their most and least favorite types of tasks. If possible, let each person focus on what they do best. They will report greater job satisfaction, the productivity of your staff will increase and the quality of the completed tasks and projects will rise.
Sometimes, it might be tricky to follow this recommendation on how to manage a team because no one in your company might enjoy selected duties. Then, you can ask employees to make the least pleasant things in turns.
If someone has a particular talent for a specific activity, let them showcase it.
Create and share a table where the strong and weak sides of each team member will be listed.
Employees Don’t Need to Be Friends If They Don’t Feel Like
When building a remote company, it makes sense to ensure that all the people involved complement each other and find common ground. If some staff members don’t like each other, it shouldn’t be a problem for you. Working at a distance, people don’t need to interact with each other as closely and frequently as in a brick-and-mortar office. You don’t need to interfere as long as their relationship doesn’t impact their productivity.
However, there is one thing that everyone should like: it’s your corporate culture. When interviewing candidates for your vacancies, inform them about the norms of behavior and communication in your company. If they like and accept everything — feel free to onboard them.