By Lisa Lessieur
A while back, we wrote a post titled “Growth is Awesome – But Think of These Things So You Grow In a Healthy Way”. The response was so great, but we got the same question over and over. Once you decide to go virtual, how do you start? Which brings us to today’s post.
You’re feeling great about your decision to go virtual, but then panic hits. What the heck do I do now?
How to Build a Remote Team:
Here at BELAY, we’ve been assembling virtual teams for over 10 years, so we’ve got your back with some tips and guidelines. As remote teams have become more popular in recent years, more information has popped up. How do you weed through it and what information should you focus on?
PERSONALITY AND PRODUCTIVITY
While many people may claim to be capable of working remotely, it takes a very specific personality to do so successfully. Sure, everyone wants to work at home in yoga pants and slippers, but who should you really be hunting for?
Someone with great communication skills should be at the top of your list. Conversing remotely is very different than face to face interaction. "LOL"s and emojis are great in casual conversation, but you need to be able to communicate tone in a professional way. You lose something by not seeing the facial expressions when someone is speaking.
Look for self-starters with the ability to work independently. What happens once they don’t have a supervisor right down the hall? Distractions in your remote environment will be very different from working in an office, and not everyone can keep themselves away from popcorn and those 12 seasons of Criminal Minds on Netflix.
Set a goal for the first 30 days with a new remote team member to be about establishing trust and basic communication with your new members.
SIZE MATTERS WITH YOUR TEAMS
The size of your team is also important and will vary based upon your particular needs. Smaller teams CAN be more effective when you need to keep the pressure for results on your workers. Appropriate pressure can be advantageous and positive as it prohibits members slacking off while others shoulder the burden. However, as long as leadership is defined and effective, larger teams are better suited for bigger projects. Roles must be clearly defined in the beginning and tasks assigned within the group to avoid any confusion.
A good leader will pay attention to routines and how they are affecting the group. It’s too easy when working remotely to get out of sync with your colleagues. A set schedule for meetings and calls is always the best way a leader can help their specialists stay in the same rhythm.
Set a goal for the next 30 days with your new remote team member to be focused on business procedures and processes. This is the time for setting up what needs to be done and who will do it.
TECHNOLOGY: NECESSITY OR NUISANCE?
How often should you have a team conference call or video chat? That will depend upon your crew’s needs. Many prefer a weekly “touch base” chat while others thrive with unscheduled brainstorming talks. Regardless of how often you have them, these virtual meetings are necessary.
Go in with a focused agenda and clearly review and assign tasks with deadlines. It’s often healthy to allow for some informal conversation as well. Virtual workers can feel isolated and like they’re living in a bubble, so plan some informal time right into each agenda to foster everyone’s synergy and sanity.
Technology today offers many options for remote specialists, so find the ones that work best for your crew and their needs. A successful virtual team knows how to effectively implement technology in their daily routine.
You have been working together for 60 days now. These last 30 days should be about fine-tuning what you’ve set up and tweaking where necessary.
PASS GO AND COLLECT $200
Unclear communication and management are often reasons why a remote team will fail, but if you establish clear guidelines, roles and expectations, success is attainable. Remember, having a successful virtual team is easier said than done. It will take dedication, strategy and the right components but the benefits make it worthwhile.
Need more tips before you start building your team? Check out our on-demand managing virtual teams training!
We’d also love to talk to you about how our Virtual Assistants might be able to help!