Tips and tools for successful remote team management

remote team management

The way we work has been drastically changing over the past decade, all thanks to the latest employment trends.

First, remote work is not considered a privilege anymore.

Secondly, with the gig economy growing fast, employees often consider having side gigs (driving for Uber, giving piano lessons, etc.) in addition to their full-time employment. 37% of Americans are side hustlers according to a recent Bankrate survey.

Finally, more and more people are choosing freelance and part-time work, with over 50% of the U.S. workforce being freelancers, gig workers or independent contractors in 2018. According to the IDC forecast, the mobile worker population will continue to grow steadily, and is likely to reach 72% by 2020.

The chances are high that most (if not all) employers will sooner or later have to embrace remote work in some form – either by hiring a few freelance workers or by maintaining a whole team offsite.

Pros and cons of remote employment

Managing a group of distributed workers can be challenging, since not all positions are suitable for hiring remote employees.

Here are a few points that should be taken into consideration:

  • Independent contractors are keen to work on their knowledge and professional skills in order to keep up-to-date with the market.
  • Health insurance, Medicare, Social Security and retirement – you can save up to 30% annually paying these expenses as an employer and reduce your office supply costs.
  • Freelancers are highly dependent on their contact network. That’s why they try to get the job done in the best way possible – hoping to get a good recommendation and increase their chances of being rehired for another project.

Yet on the other hand:

  • Freelancers tend to work at their own pace and on their own schedule, and their schedule may not necessarily correlate with yours.
  • A freelancer’s lack of motivation (not to be confused with laziness) may impact your business in one way or another – simply because he or she feels less committed to the organization.
  • In some cases, it’s not that easy to define whether you should classify your outsourced employee as a worker or freelancer. This may lead to confusion when submitting your tax forms to the IRS.

Manage your remote team effectively

Probably the biggest challenge about remote team management is how to build effective teamwork between individuals of various backgrounds and skills without meeting them in person.

This is when communication tools such as Slack, Zoom, Dropbox etc. – together with up-to-date document processing solutions – allow for workflow transparency and make it possible to track your employees’ performance more accurately.

The following suggestions are essential for establishing effective remote team collaboration:

  • Use issue tracking and project management tools. Keep an online record of who is responsible for what, so no task is lost or forgotten and everything gets done by the deadline.
  • Conduct video chat meetings at regular intervals. A video conference is the best way to make sure everyone is on the same page about projects you’re currently working on. Make sure the video chat platform includes features such as file sharing, screen share and multiple users in one chat.
  • Video conferences may be a burden. Especially when you’re trying to hear and understand a dozen people at once. Use document collaboration systems and chat tools. Empower your employees to get things done faster, without having to constantly send emails back and forth.
  • Boost your team’s productivity by utilizing effective multitasking. Using a proper tool allows you to effectively do more than one task at a time. Paperless document workflows, e-signatures, time-management and teamwork solutions – all these are crucial for effective multitasking.
  • Providing opportunities for team bonding is vital for your business. Yet, establishing a personal connection can be a challenge when your employees are remote. You might consider posting fun questions on your corporate chat channel to stimulate casual conversation or even play online video games together!

Modern-day workflow solutions allow you and your colleagues to feel comfortable and inspire their creativity – regardless of whether they work from home or sit in a chair next to you.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with your routine and encourage your employees to do the same.