How to Effectively Manage a Remote Team

If you live in the 21st century and own a laptop or at the very least a smartphone, then the idea of remote working is probably not novel to you. Whether you choose to call it virtual working, telecommuting, cloud working etc., it all points to a situation where an employee is “operating” from home and communicating with a central office, the Internet.

The Internet is pulling down boundaries of space and time, it’s ensuring the concepts of “working from home” and “remote teams” gain more prominence as the days go by. Technology is ensuring that mothers can retain their place as CEOs while burping their babies at home. Companies are casting a wider net for top talents even only contacting an online agency to help them hire a web programmer and it’s paying off considerably, office expenditure has been cut down and job satisfaction is generally increased. Funds are now being channeled towards mainly product improvement and staff training.

Here are the other interesting advantages of hiring remote staff and virtual teams:

  • Workers don’t have to commute. It’s cutting down on long-distance travel, thereby helping folks save on gas or a bus fare. Plus, it’s remarkably reducing the stress that is often associated with long commutes — and the more stressful the workers have become, the less productive they will be.
  • It is more environmentally-friendly. Conventional brick-and-mortar businesses use equipment that gobbles up much of the energy and electricity. They would waste a lot of money and resources on office supplies like paper and ink cartridges. Working remotely actually helps in reducing the carbon footprint by not having to travel to work, by using fewer office supplies, and saving more energy because most workers are using portable devices like laptops and smartphones (compared to using desktop computers).
  • Access to greater global talent. If you are employer hiring workers locally, you are imposing certain requirements on applicants, therefore restricting yourself to the ace talent pool that you can potentially use to your advantage. If you are an employer in New York and hiring remote workers, you’ll be able to hire developers from as far as Dallas or Los Angeles. Access to greater global talent also enables you to save money — you might find fully experienced software developers, analysts or tech writers somewhere from the Philippines or India who’d usually charge less than you would pay the local employees.
  • Businesses save a lot of money. – What takes the biggest chunk of expenses when operating traditional brick-and-mortar businesses are the rental/real estate fees. Plus, there are overhead costs that are associated with it, such as office and furniture expenses and utility expenses. Remote employers won’t find that kind of problem when hiring virtual talent. They will be able to supervise the work of their employees from the comfort of their own homes, and they don’t have to pay much bills on electricity, equipment, janitorial services, etc., in order to run a business.

Ensuring productivity

While the numerous benefits all point to the fact that more businesses should embrace the idea of employees working from home, there is also the all important question of productivity.  There’s a popular misconception that an employee working at home has a tendency to dawdle all day and miss his or her deadlines. But according to recent independent studies, a remote staff is more productive than in-office employees. This has been attributed to significantly fewer distractions (like chatty co-workers), lesser travel time and more schedule flexibility.  These things would enable a remotely-hired employee to focus more on his or her job, and excel at it.

However, hiring remote employees is still not every company’s cup of tea, and it may not actually work for every business. One of the biggest issues there is trust — you need to trust your employees that they will work well with you and become productive in their duties that you’ve given them.

What’s the guarantee that your remote staff is 100% focused and committed to achieving your business goals? How do you keep track of everyone’s progress and ensure assignments are turned in on time while staying organized?

Business owners are adapting to this new trend but how effectively are they doing it? Some issues are better resolved with a round-table discussion, and feedback & brainstorming are often required to come with an innovative solution to a problem.There is also the fact that not everyone is really cut out for off-site work. Some require an extra dose of motivation to achieve maximum output.

For a new CEO supervising employees from different locations in parts of the world and working on different time zones, this could prove quite problematic. But do not despair!  The good news is that quite a number of managers have overcome this hurdle and here are 7 tips to help you manage a remote team as well. Infographic is designed by Nutcache.