by Remote How
Just like remote work itself, the challenges faced by a remote team and manager are very different to what you would find in the office. Even the best managers in a collocated job can struggle to make the switch over to managing remote workers.
Equipping yourself for the job with the right tools and skills is the only way that you will successfully be able to make the remote dream work.
There are four key areas that you will need to get to grips with and prepare to help you on your way. First off you start with the right people, then you give them the correct tools that they will need. After this, you start to think about communication.
Which Noise Is Annoying You The Most?
This can be tricky when you’re in a completely different country though. But who doesn’t like a challenge? Then, you bring everything together into a great work culture that you and your team live and love.
When combined all together, this is the ultimate toolkit for managing remote workers. It will give you the foundation of a great remote team, which you can then work on with other tips and strategies to hone and improve. Let’s get started.
Finding the right people to work with
Step one in the ultimate toolkit for managing remote workers is having the right people. If they don’t have the right skills, values, and culture fit then you’re going to be stuck on the ground from day one. You simply can’t make a remote team work if you haven’t got remote suited employees.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need people with previous remote experience. As more people are trying out flexible working conditions, you will find a lot of people with no experience at all.
What you need to look out for then are people with the key qualities that will make them suited to your team. Technical skills are of course important, but when you’re going through the recruitment process you should think about soft skills as well.
If you haven’t heard of them already, soft skills are similar to personality traits and working ethos. They include things like creative thinking, time management, networking, and problem-solving.
These are what will separate a not so great remote worker from a fantastic one! Working alone and without supervision makes having soft skills even more important than in an office.
Finding and hiring these candidates also needs to be taken into consideration here. A lot of the usual job boards will allow you to post remote openings, and you can find some great candidates there too.
But it’s also good to look at some more specific sites for remote work, where you have a much better chance of finding better remote candidates. A quick search for your industry will easily show up multiple places that you can post your open positions on.
Types of tools that you need to consider for remote working
The next part of your toolkit is probably the most obvious… what’s a toolkit without any tools? You need to cover quite a few different areas and all of it remotely, so pick your software and digital tools wisely.
For example, task tracking can be done physically in an office… but unfortunately, you don’t have that luxury working from home or on a beach if you’re lucky! First of all, pick a communication tool that your team will need to use to keep up to date with everyone.
These come in both asynchronous and synchronous forms (more on this later), so see what your team likes to use and see if it’s appropriate for the kind of work you guys are doing.
Next, you will most likely need collaborative software. A lot of this is free and easily available to use like Google Drive or iCloud. However, you might need something more specific to your team’s needs.
Design and visual-based projects have different requirements for teams in comparison to just collaborating on written documents. Your collaboration tool will more likely than not have file sharing built into it too. If not, there are a lot of great alternatives out there.
Check out Remote-how’s list here of the best remote tools if you need some inspiration in choosing what software your team should use.
Last on our list is task and project management software. Setting tasks and keeping up to date just through email or instant messaging is going to get messy… trust me. Without one, your overall team performance is going to suffer, so get one involved in your workflow.
Importance of communication
Communicating well in the remote world is one of your key assets. Without physically being with our team members, it’s all you have to fall back on. Make yourself a concrete comms policy that you build up with your team to help get buy-in.
While a lot of this will have to be tailored to the people you work in, one thing that is universal is the difference between synchronous and asynchronous communication.
Synchronous comms, where people are replying in real time and directly, is useful to be used for close collaboration. You might not have the luxury of working the same hours as all the members of your team.
This happens a lot when people work in different time zones, or just have more flexible hours. This is when asynchronous methods come into play. You’ll probably find that most of your interactions will be asynchronous, so make sure to overcommunicate in your emails or task setting to avoid confusion.
Use asynchronous messages efficiently by even overcommunicating the status of your work. This will help avoid any confusion and overlapping of tasks. In fact, communicating this way will mean way less interruptions to your workflow, letting you get on with deep work. So… what’s not to like?!
Constantly work on the team culture
The icing on the cake of your management toolkit for managing remote workers is building and working on your company culture. This is what is going to get people to want to stay at your company and give their best. You have to invest time here and be dedicated, otherwise your team won’t give any buy-in. I’m sure we’ve all been in a situation where company culture and socializing has felt a bit forced, so it may take some trial and error to get it just right.
Creating rituals that build on your company culture is extremely important, and you should stress your culture right from the start of the hiring process. Save yourself precious time and money by getting the fit right from the start, rather than having to rehire.
It can be a bit tricky when you’re not in the office getting everybody on board, but there are plenty of ways you can foster your culture in the remote world. Company retreats, attractive benefits, and supporting the reasons why people want to work remotely will help a great deal in creating a kick-ass company spirit.
Building further on your toolkit
These four areas are the real cornerstones of what makes a remote team tick. Without them, you’re going to have a really tough time (which no one wants!) in collaborating effectively and easily. It is a lot of work and effort, but it must be done to create a super-effective remote team.
If you want to develop your toolkit even more, then check out our Certified in Distributed Management program. We’ve taken the best remote management experts from our network and put together a crash course on how you can help improve and build on your management skills. Save yourself the time and effort of finding it all out for yourself… our experts have been there and done it already.
Nobody said that managing remote workers was easy, but we can for sure make the whole learning process more streamlined and structured by enrolling in the program. Want to learn more? Head to Remote How to find out all the juicy details on what we can offer you and your team.