Over the past two decades the rise of the internet has transformed the way we think about employment. The advent of email, instant messaging, and cloud-based software has created a world where, in many cases, a traditional office is no longer required to effectively run a business. At the same time, a cultural shift is taking place as both workers and employers begin to prioritize flexibility and freedom over a strong office culture.
In this new world, Ecommerce businesses are particularly well positioned to leverage a remote workforce to cut costs, improve productivity, and boost profits. This week we’ll be sharing three strategies to overcome the most common challenges faced when working with remote teams so you can create a workforce that excels.
Create A Culture That’s Compatible With Remote Workers
Managing a virtual team often means modifying your management approach. While you may be tempted to tighten the reigns to compensate for the lack of person-to-person contact, for most situations the exact opposite works best. Instead of micromanaging your remote team members, work to develop a mindset of trust and confidence. Come to an agreement on deadlines and give your staff the freedom to manage their time in their own way.
Always remember that as a manager you are responsible for defining the culture and values for your virtual team.
Document Processes and Provide A Productivity Toolkit
Teams work best when they know what they need to do and why they need to do it. This is especially true when your team is remote. Processes help create structure that people can lean on, no matter where they are or what time of day it is. Taking the time to create manuals and handbooks that document exactly how things are done creates a remote team that can be effective even without guidance. This strategy can also help as your business scales by making it easier to add new teammates without confusion or miscommunication.
In parallel to process, having a standard productivity toolkit that is shared across your remote teams is critical to maintaining productivity. At a bare minimum you’ll want to select a communication platform and a project management tool but depending on the roles your remote staff are filling this can extend to create, development, and financial tools. The sooner you can identify these core tools, the sooner you can integrate them into your processes and have repeatable workflows that can be replicated by any team member, anywhere in the world.
Maintain A Sense of Comradery
Whether your team is 100% remote or a mix of off-site and on-site workers, it’s important to maintain a sense of comradery across your workforce. This means communicating your company values and giving your remote employees a sense of belonging.
Here are a few ways you can keep your remote team members engaged in the company culture:
- Share company AND individual successes. When employees do something right, let the whole organization know about it. Positive acknowledgment boosts morale and sets the bar for other workers.
- Host occasional group video conferences. Group meetings will help your remote workers feel like they’re part of the team and give them an opportunity to voice their opinions.
- Take steps to promote corporate diversity. One of the biggest benefits of a remote work force is gaining access to workers from around the world. Your company can benefit from a range of perspectives and your remote workers will find more satisfaction in an inclusive environment.
If you’re looking to begin scaling your business and expanding your team, remote talent can be a great way to get started. Managing remote teams is a challenge but by following a few simple rules and remaining disciplined you can build a group of loyal, hard-working and productive employees, no matter where they want to work.