Managing a remote team can be tricky—but it doesn’t have to be! In some ways, it’s not much different than managing a traditional on-site team. However, there are some subtle differences, and it’s important that you start by hiring the right type of people.
Check out some dos and don’ts below for successfully building and managing remote teams:
Do look for candidates with experience.
While it’s not always a guarantee that someone with previous remote work experience will do well in the job, it can be a good sign if they have. After all, if they’ve worked remotely before, they most likely know the benefits (as well as the challenges) of working from home. So if you receive an application from someone who has worked from home in the past, give it some serious consideration.
Don’t rush to hire someone.
Naturally, you want to hire the best possible person for the position. That said, if you’re looking to fill a remote role, you’ll need to take a little more time during the recruiting and interviewing process to make sure that the candidate can truly work well in a remote work environment.
Not only should the leading candidates interview with you, but they should also talk with other members of the team to ensure that they will be able to fit in with the company’s culture and mission.
Do empower your employees.
While you’ll still need to manage your remote team, you want to make sure that they can handle themselves. The first step towards helping them own their autonomy is by providing the necessary collaboration and communication tools for a remote office. If they have programs in place to help them succeed, they most likely will.
But it doesn’t end there. A great way to manage your remote teams is to make each individual member feel like they are equipped to make decisions, instead of having to run every single thing by you or other managers. By giving them this ability, you’ll create a stronger team that can easily handle the day-to-day dilemmas and drama that can come with remote work.
Don’t hire a hand-holder.
Let’s face it: remote work isn’t for everyone. Thing is, you don’t want to find out that your latest hire needs a lot of hand-holding after the fact. The ideal remote candidate should be a self-starter and one who takes initiative to solve problems that can occur when telecommuting.
As you go through the various rounds of interviews, you can pose various situations to see how the candidate would react, like having a conflict with a fellow colleague, or feeling like their voice isn’t being heard in a remote work environment. Seeing how they would potentially handle themselves can help you determine if the person would be independent and successful—or not.
Do your work as a manager.
Just because you’ve made sure that your team can run (sometimes) without you, doesn’t mean that they should. While you don’t want to be a micromanager, you don’t want to be an absent employer, either.
Make sure that your remote workforce knows that you’re available to them whenever they need you. Schedule regular check-ins, and let your workers have access to your calendar so they know when you’re around or out of the office. And above all, use your work flex. Showing your employees that you appreciate your work-life balance allows them to feel like they can have theirs, too.
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