Remote work is a pretty sweet gig for both employers and employees. It allows businesses to hire talent that they might not have access to locally, and having fewer people work in the office can help cut costs. For employees, remote work can provide flexibility and autonomy, and the ability to earn an income while staying close to kids or family. And let’s be honest, the ability to wear your favorite slippers while working is a very compelling part of the deal, too.
While the option to have employees working remotely is great for everyone involved, it requires a lot of care and consideration to help your remote teams (and your whole business) succeed.
Ways to Help Remote Teams Succeed
We are definitely not perfect at our remote setup, but we have learned a lot of things through trial and error to care for our remote employees and create a culture that works for everyone. Here are some of our best tips for helping remote teams succeed.
Make Communication a Priority
The single greatest factor that contributes to the success of remote work is communication. If you do not proactively develop a process and expectations for communication with remote employees, you set your team up to fail (yes, that is a harsh statement, but that’s how important good communication is).
This communication starts with providing your team with the right tools for the job. Besides email, we use Slack and Zoom for our team’s communication channels. The tools you choose will depend on your needs and budget, but they’re a great starting point.
You also need a plan that outlines what communication needs to look like. Some of the expectations you will want to set include: how quickly people are expected to respond to a chat or an email. When someone should call or text as opposed to sending a Slack message.
As the CEO, you have to make these expectations clear to local team members, and you have to set the example.
Find the right people
Right after establishing intentional, proactive communication, the next most important thing you can do is ensure you have the right people for a remote setup. This is mostly true for people who will only be working remotely, but are good to keep in mind for any employees who will have the chance to work from home. You’ll want to consider:
- Are you the right CEO? If you’re not someone who will be quick to respond to questions/needs, or won’t put in the time necessary for remote team members to have access to you virtually, you don’t need to hire remote employees.
- Are these people organized and self-motivating? Because these people are working outside the office, they have to be able to get work done without someone being right there beside them.
- Have you found someone to manage your remote team members? By “manage”, we mean someone who is coordinating schedules and virtual meetings, as well as keeping an eye on the tasks that remote teams are in charge of accomplishing. This person is also responsible for making sure remote employees have access to passwords, documents, files, etc that they need to accomplish their work efficiently.
- Will this employee be ok working alone? While some people thrive being by themselves (because let’s be honest, it’s the best thing. Ever.), others find it lonely and discouraging. Hiring the latter will only end up frustrating this person, their teammates, and you.
Find ways to establish connection
In the course of a day, you are constantly bumping into local team members: you eat lunch together, run into one another at the coffee pot, pass each other in a hallway, etc. All day long, “local” employees have the chance to engage with you. You have got to find ways to make your remote team members have that same sense of engagement with you and your local team members.
Make a plan for establishing regular physical connections like video conferences or phone calls between remote employees and in-house ones. Another way to build comradery between all employees is by finding ways to celebrate mutual wins. Our team created a Slack channel exclusively for this purpose. Everyone posts successes for clients, a project that went really well, or personal achievements that will impact our business.
We’ve also made it a priority to hold an all team-meeting twice a year. It is a huge commitment on the part of our remote team members who give up several days for travel, and on the part of our finances, but it is 100% worth it. We love getting to meet remote employees face to face, and it provides our team with the opportunity to laugh, dream, work, and share meals together.
Making remote work a possibility is a great opportunity for your business and employees. When handled carefully, it is a win for everyone involved (including your favorite slippers). These are just some of the things we’ve learned that help our remote teams succeed and feel connected.
Interested in learning more about building teams that help grow your business? Download our ebook to learn more.