Coronavirus Forces “The Worldwide Work from Home”

Eight Tips to Help Manage Your Remote Team Members

In a world rocked by the Coronavirus, businesses everywhere have had to stop and figure out their continuity plans. Being headquartered in South Florida where we face a yearly hurricane season, we established our plan some time ago.  Fifteen years later, our team has expanded and grown to have offices in six countries around the world.  These remote teams are an important part of keeping our business operating smoothly no matter what’s going on around us.  Managing a remote team requires trust and a clear communications plan.   

Here are eight tips our senior management team has compiled to help you better manage your remote workforce, especially in times of crisis:

  • Communication

It is important to stay connected with your remote team.  The more you talk to them the better.  Tools like email, Skype, Zoom and instant messaging can keep communication flowing.  Talk with everyone and find out what they need to be successful, especially in times of uncertainty.  Schedule milestone update calls at least three times a week where you can review priorities and make sure everyone is on track.

  • Be Available

Even if you have a main supervisor that reports to you at a remote office, it’s still important that all remote employees know you’re accessible.  Have ways they can reach you individually if they feel uncomfortable with anything and most importantly show no favoritism to any employee.  

  • Stay Connected

Working in a bureau or remote office can make an employee feel isolated.  It’s important to schedule at least two days a month where everybody can connect companywide.  These meetings will allow everyone to talk together about key company issues while also allowing everyone to participate in presentations.  These can be both professional and personalized presentations offering a way for everyone to better know who’s on the other end of that phone, Skype or Zoom meeting.  Schedule ways for remote members to meet with you or the team face to face too.  Visit their office or have them come visit yours.  We suggest doing this at least twice a year if you can.  While this can be difficult with team members living all over the world, it can help build comradery and fellowship within the team.  

  • Hire the Right Team

Selecting the right, capable team is the key to building a successful company.  Your employees need to be good at what they do while also being able to take initiative to do things on their own.  And, once you have your superstar team, mix it up by combining both local and remote members.  This is a great way to circulate industry knowledge and build trust between team members. 

  • Monitor not Micromanage

Give all employees space but do check in on their performance.  If your employee deals directly with your customers always check in and review service calls or chats to see how it’s going.  Remote teams often feel and get neglected.  Make sure you offer incentives for excellent service no matter what office they work out of.

  • Learn Cultural Differences

Take time to learn about your employees’ cultural backgrounds and their native language.  Get to know each team member on a personal level and if they have an unusual name, be sure to learn how to pronounce it correctly.  

  • Flexible Scheduling

Develop a schedule that works best for everyone.  For example, if your customer service employee has too many distractions or “noise” at a certain time of day, schedule them to handle online chats or emails during that time.  You can assign other team members to handle consumer calls, so everyone is getting and giving the best customer service possible.

  • Build a Future

It’s encouraging to know you have a future with the company.  Take time to set a goal structure, performance reviews and benchmarks to reach so employees know what is expected of them and how they can reach the next level.

Lastly, no matter which office your employee works in, try to shield them from negative events or internal politics. But in times of crisis, the senior management team must step up and communicate clearly. Experts say that it’s best the CEO lead these communications to show that he (or she) is in command of the facts and the organization.  Build a company standard operating procedure and test it ahead of a crisis rather than trying to put it together in the middle of one.  Your team makes your company run, investing in them is investing in your company’s future.  

Need help or have questions on how to manage a global or remote team?  We can help.  Reach out at [email protected]

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