Advice on running a business from home: Managing remote teams 💻
Give a Grad a Go’s managing remote workers toolkit
Knowing how to keep remote teams connected is important when running a business from home. Sharing your communication guidelines should part of your remote team’s practices and should begin as soon as the employee is hired to ensure that the onboarding process is not an afterthought.
Some remote teams best practices for communication is getting a good idea of:
- The method which is preferred by all your team members to communicate.
- What time is best for your team members to communicate; is it preferable to have a morning meeting or an afternoon meeting? Are you some of your team members in different time zones?
- Time management is vital when running a business from home; make sure your expected email turnaround time is clear!
- If your company does head down days, then ensure the rules and requirements are explained universally.
- If you are recruiting from home as well, then it might be worth checking out our video interview tips.
- If certain employees work different hours, for example working remotely half the time, then it might be worth organising a bespoke working from home plan with them.
The first thing any managing remote workers toolkit will tell you is that the most important thing to remember is to ensure that your employees have a clear understanding of your business, their role and impact, and the goals for which they are working towards.
You can use our 3 top tips for communicating clearly with remote workers:
- Do a video guide to explain certain processes. Sharing screens can also be a valuable way to explain clearly and accurately, particularly if you are wondering how to onboard remote employees.
- Write it down. It can be overwhelming to learn a lot of new information at once and it can be worthwhile creating a handover guide to give to new employees. This way they will be able to go back and check things without needing to ask for help.
- Catch up with them at a later date. Organise a catch-up to check in and ensure that they properly understand and are happy with the way things are going.
In order to keep staff engaged in their job while working from home, continue to offer opportunities for professional and personal development.
Ask them if there are certain areas of the business they would like to explore or learn more about.
Continue to invest in training for remote working staff, take a look at our virtual training tips for businesses for more advice on this.
Having breaks at work is important for any company. If you are wondering how to engage remote employees then involving a virtual tea break into the daily routine is a good way to do so.
If you usually take a tea break mid afternoon – then you could suggest logging on for a call to catch up with your colleagues socially or take a quick break to re-engage before the afternoon.
One to ones are a great way to motivate remote employees and give them the opportunity to ask questions, share their ideas and give feedback. When you have a one-to-one remember to ask them if they have any queries and ensure that they have all the tools and details they need.
One of the benefits of running a business from home is that you can choose your environment and are able to schedule time to speak individually with people without any distractions that you would encounter in an office environment.
Motivating distributed teams can be done by social activities online. Remote employee lunch ideas to enhance engagement could involve: making a quiz, playing bingo, having fancy dress or funky shirt Fridays, or a weekly team competition.
This will keep your team communicating with each other and making everyone feel involved when they’re working remotely.
If you are wondering what constitutes running a business from home then it is important to know that you will need to plan in detail. It is a good idea to create a timeline and calendar which is accessible to the team you are managing.
This way, your remote employees can share and work towards deadlines with each other easily.
Make sure that you clearly share your companies values and goals online. In an office environment the natural dynamic and company culture is very transparent, but online there needs to be more of an effort from the manager to share this.
- Transition back into the workplace: Sagal Group are passionate about creating commercial spaces that engage and inspire. They have written a fantastic whitepaper on preparing for a transition from remote working, back into the office. Download their Working Solutions for Office and WFH Teams.
- Remote working tools: virtually managing teams means that your company will be heavily reliant on technology. Having remote IT support for small businesses or remote teams will be good as a backup in case you encounter technical issues.
- A clear programme: It is important to have some online tools to help your team share updates and plans for the business. Ensure that there is somewhere to schedule holidays, plans, recruitment, goals, roles, and responsibilities. This will help everyone keep in contact and plan together.
- Understand differences in your team: When working remotely, everyone will have preferences, commitments, and even cultural differences. It is worth speaking to everyone and seeing if they have a different time zone, commitments such as children to take to school, or looking after an elderly relative.
- Motivation is key: If you are looking for strategies for motivating employees who work remotely then it is good to think of some team bonding activities and exercises. Video-based coaching and training are good, and clarity on your goals, and remind your employees of the benefits of working from home.
- Make it accessible: Remember that your remote employees need to be treated and given the same access as the local employees. It may even be worth them having access to more because they will need as many resources as possible.