Imagine a morning as a remote worker: You sit down on the couch with your laptop, start running through your to-do list, while slurping Lucky Charms out of a bowl and watching Survivor reruns. Spoiler alert: That is not what it’s like to work virtually—not even close.
However, bosses who have limited experience with virtual teams (cough, you) might assume that’s how employees would spend their days working remotely. If your employees have asked you for the flexibility to work from home, but you feel a bit wary, I’m here to show you how you can make it happen.
When managing a remote team, it’s important that your organization has a high level of transparency across projects, tasks, and individual goals. Therefore, it becomes crucial that you use (or begin using) project management systems that can be accessed from any location. The right system should also allow team members to see what their co-workers are accomplishing.
These kinds of management systems allow supervisors to track their teams’ progress and hold individual employees accountable for their work. Not to mention: This transparency makes virtual teams more productive than their in-office counterparts—by an increase of as much as 43%.
My organization utilizes Basecamp to manage various projects because it allows for a high level of transparency within and among different teams. It also keeps file uploads in convenient locations that can be accessed from any device that’s connected to the internet.
Similarly, my company encourages employees to use Google Apps to share our phone conference lines and meeting – more... room schedules, so no shared resources become overbooked.
2. Integrate Communication
Unlike employees who work side-by-side, virtual employees may have a harder time receiving timely answers to questions or gaining clarity on a matter they may not fully understand. To solve this problem, include a few preferred communication methods with your employees’ virtual setups.
For example, many companies embrace social intranets like MangoApps or messaging apps like HipChat to keep in-office and virtual employees connected to one another throughout the workday. If anyone—across any team—has a question, he or she can quickly chat another team member and get an answer. – less