More and more companies are moving to remote, either part or full-time, and discovering how this can help their businesses continue to grow. Going remote, however, is about much more than simply no longer having a physical office. It's about adapting your company culture, your management tactics, and your expectations as a new way of doing business.
Creating a Remote Culture
Just as the culture you build for the physical team that meets within your office is important, so is the culture that you build for your remote team. Ideally, you want a remote culture that is similar to--or better than--the one your employees enjoyed when they worked together in a physical office environment.
As you create your remote culture, there are several things to keep in mind:
What are your expectations for your employees? You may want to consider how those expectations are different without a brick and mortar office. For example, remote employees probably aren't tethered to their desks all day. They may need to be able to move around their home and take care of other important tasks within it--just as they may have needed to be able to get up and deal with tasks when in the office. Depending on their job responsibilities, remote employees might choose their own hours to work, rather than working directly on the company's usual schedule. Clearly define your expectations for those employees.
How will you measure employee performance and absenteeism? When employees work remotely, you can't measure their performance or presence by simply walking down the hall and seeing them at work. Instead, you need a clear set of standards that will tell you what your employees are accomplishing. Consider elements like employee performance, the amount of work they accomplish, or their progress toward goals.
How will you help employees take ownership of their work? Remote team members don't connect with the company as directly as employees present in a brick and mortar office. In order to improve employee engagement, however, you need that sense of ownership and connection. Ideally, you want your employees to feel a sense of pride in their connection to your office.
Handle Remote Management Efficiently
Your management team may be used to interacting with employees directly. If you did connect via email or phone in the past, you probably also had the option to speak directly with employees as needed. Remote management may require you to adjust your management approach. Make sure:
Your employees know who to contact with specific problems and how to contact them. Your employees need to know how to get their questions answered--both the urgent questions that need immediate answers and the questions that you can take a little longer to get back to them on. Set up a clear plan for communication throughout the company and make sure employees always know who to contact as needed.
Check in regularly--daily, if possible--with remote team members. This doesn't have to be a remote check-in--and in fact, ideally, it should be a relatively short conversation unless there's a problem that needs to be addressed. Remote team members need to feel connected to the company and know that you are there to help them, but they also need to be left to get on with their work.
Focus on the outcomes your employees produce. Many remote workers actually accomplish more than employees who are in the office. They may have fewer distractions to pull them away from their regular work tasks, including water cooler talk and what seems like an endless stream of meetings, or they may simply focus harder when they are working so they can move on to other things in the home. As a remote manager, try not to focus on what your employees are doing with every hour of their days. Instead, take a look at the results they're producing and how those results line up with their expectations. You may need to shift your mindset, especially if you have previously managed hourly workers.
Adopt Asynchronous Communication
With your team members working remotely, you might have team members working at different times of the day based on their personal needs. Some employees may be in different time zones. Others may have to alter their schedules to fit the needs of their families. That can make it incredibly difficult to sit down behind a computer screen at a specific time of day. But there is a solution:
Enter asynchronous communication!
Asynchronous communication does not require an immediate answer. When you make it part of your company culture, your employees know that they have time to answer. Try:
Maintaining communication across your entire team on a regular basis, without requiring face-to-face communication. Through asynchronous communication, you can keep the conversation current and ongoing--but everyone on the team understands that it may take time to get a response. Often, this method will allow you to keep up the same conversation you would have in the office--or even, in many cases, more of one--without needing to come together face-to-face.
Doing asynchronous meetings. Managing meetings for a remote team can quickly turn problematic. It's hard to get everyone together at the same time for a video call--but that doesn't mean you have to give up your meetings or your conversations. Try making the shift to asynchronous meetings. This meeting style offers several advantages for your team:
- Everyone gets a voice. In asynchronous meetings, you may actually hear from team members who are usually more likely to remain silent during meetings, since they have time to formulate their thoughts and add them to the conversation as they're ready.
- You can easily keep track of everything said during the meeting without the need to take notes for later use. Asynchronous meetings even allow you to easily search back through previous interactions to find exactly what someone said--usually without the need to contact that person directly to ask for an answer.
- Team members can check in at the time most appropriate for their needs. They don't have to worry about sitting behind the desk at a specific time.
- You'll get decreased interruptions. Especially during disruptive periods, you may struggle to meet with your team without interruption from pets, kids, or spouses. Asynchronous meetings allow everyone to connect at the time that's least disruptive to their schedule and remove the challenge of interruptions.
Making the shift to a remote company is a big step. Fortunately, Meetquo is here to help. Our platform is designed to aid in asynchronous communication for your business, making it easier to connect with your team no matter where they are. Try Meetquo to start doing asynchronous meetings today.