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How To Manage A Remote Startup Team

Written by on March 26, 2018

Many people still live in the past, and don’t succumb to change quickly. The office and cubicle have been the norm for decades, and some business stick with the status quo.

Choosing to walk a less beaten path may offer a bit of uncertainty to individuals, especially entrepreneurs. Managing a remote team surely falls in the category of a “less beaten path”.

I will shed some light as to why a remote team can be your ticket to success. It may take some time to get used to this method of cooperation and collaboration, but in time, the benefits will surely shine through.

Why Work Remotely?

1. Work Flexibility

Remote work is great for many individuals out there because it offers one very important thing – flexibility. Allowing employees to work from anywhere, weather it’s at home or a cafe offers an overall more productive environment.

Your primary concern as a startup is to hit your deadlines on time with quality work. In many cases, this can be accomplished without the need of constant office appearances and 9-5 routines.

We also have to consider that each person works and is productive in a different setting and at different times. Remote work offers those individuals to adapt themselves to their most productive setting without being confined by walls of your office space.

2. Cost Reduction

As a startup, you may have to penny-pinch, at least in the beginning. Remote teams are not only more productive, but don’t even require you to spend those precious few “schekles” on an office space.

Don’t waste your time, energy and most importantly your capital to lease an office that you may outgrow in a few months time. Working remotely will allow you to divert your focus on much more pressing matters – product development, marketing, customer relations, etc.

3. Employee Satisfaction

Employees prefer to work alone or not be bothered by their colleagues.

It has been proven that employees are more satisfied working remotely than their counterparts who find themselves in an office. Having the ability to work whenever and wherever you are is a huge advantage both to the employee and the company they work for.

One thing that stood out to me the most during remote team research is the employee willingness to sacrifice their pay for the privilege of remote work. Amazingly, over 64% of individuals 18 and up who work said they would be okay with lower wages in exchange for a home office.

4. Time Efficiency

Let’s not pretend that employees who show up for their 9-5 schedule work continuously through that time. There is also downtime during the usual work day where your creative juices may not be flowing as well.

Remote work allows people to work during their peak efficiency times without the need to be forced into the conventional structure.

Of course let’s not forget all the time that is wasted on the commute to and from work alone. On average, and average worker in the United States, spends driving almost an hour to and from work a day. I am sure we can all find better ways to spend our precious time.

5. Global Talent

Having a remote team allows you to gather talent from all around the globe.

Startups in smaller communities can really appreciate this great benefit that comes with operating remote teams.

If you can’t find competent talent in your community, you have nothing to worry about. Remote work has another big advantage of allowing you to source quality labor from abroad.

The digital age that we live in, there is no need to burden ourselves with proximity limitations. You can build a great and productive team with members who may not even be living in the same country as yourself.

It Starts With The Right Employees

Now remote teams do offer plethora of benefits, it needs to be compiled of competent individuals. With inability to constantly monitor and oversee each person, you need to carefully consider the type of people you want to take on board.

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1. Self-Motivating

Doers and self-motivating individuals get to work right away. There is no need to constantly monitor their progress. An entire team needs to work in tandem for the best results.

Of course you will have to provide guidelines and expectations to your employees. Anything else will and should be taken care of your colleagues, wherever they may be. A self-motivating employee will continuously strive for best results without constant supervision.

Individuals who may not be self-starting, could bring the whole operation crashing down. Having to pick up slack of people who just can’t perform or lag behind will not only overburden others, but impede overall progress of your startup.

2. Trustworthy

Trust is one of the key elements that makes a remote team prosper. If everyone can rely on one another, that’s when productivity goes through the roof and business succeeds.

If you constantly have to worry about certain individuals and what they do on the other end, it may cause some problems to arise. Not only are you preoccupying yourself with unnecessary work, but your focus shifts away from developing a great product.

Hire and appreciate the employees that you and your colleagues can all trust. This will foster great relationship within the company and help pave a path to success.

3. Good Writers

These skills won’t only apply to your content writers and marketers on your team. It should be a universal theme among your remote group.

There will be a lot of discussion and contact made through email and other sources that require writing skills.

Effective collaboration will only happen if everyone is on the same page. Writing helps convey project progress, any hurdles or issues that individual has encountered etc.

Writing allows everyone to stay informed of the latest happenings. It’s imperative that your employees can effectively write.

4. Discuss Availability

Don’t expect to be in touch with your team members at all hours of the day. That is just not feasible. Before taking on a new recruit, figure out what their availability would look like.

Of course, remote teams offer schedule flexibility and let employees manage their own times.

This just helps you gauge the best hours of communication with individuals you hire.

Consider incorporating a time tracking sheet that you and your employees would have access to. Simple time tracking platform like Team Deck will list the availability and track the times individual spent working.

Communication Is Crucial

I touched up on this topic in a few points that were covered before in this post. I am going to expand a lot more on communication and why it’s so essential for remote team success.

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1. Goals and Objectives

You and your team all must be on the same page. Everyone should be aware of what they are doing and why it’s being done. This decreases the chance of miscommunication and the likelihood of tasks being accomplished according to specifications.

Talk to your colleagues about how these tasks move the company in the right direction. Discuss the importance of the work they do for the company. It will give you team members a sense of belonging and helps them visualize the big picture of their work.

2. Updates

Touching base, as the cool people say, is something that needs to happen with your team. This can be done in a variety of ways – email, Skype session, phone call, or a quick meeting over some coffee.

Just go over any details, or answer some questions that may have arisen during the week. If possible, incorporate some quality face time with people – no I don’t mean the video chat function on your iPhone.

3. Feedback

Honest feedback matters when working with your remote team.

Encouragement and comments concerning work performance are a must. Probably the easiest ways to boost morale of your employees no matter where they are is complimenting their performance – if they are doing a good job.

Be honest with your colleagues. If you are happy with the results, tell them and encourage them to keep working hard and put their best foot forward.

If your a member of your team is under performing, or not delivering what he or she promised, make sure you talk to them about their results.

Discuss their approach to work and why they did the things a certain way. It could be a learning experience for both of you.

Work Accountability

This is part of the overall theme of communication, just more specific – what got done this week.

Staying in contact throughout the week is great. It keeps everyone on the same page, and aware of the direction they need to be heading in.

There comes a time when you and everyone working along side needs to know the exact progress of their individual or collaborative tasks.

Track Your Progress With Tools

Track performance and progression of your team with tools.

It’s always great to have some additional help to keep everyone on the right track. I have picked out a few useful tools to assist you and the rest of your team in tracking project development and manage tasks.

Function Fox

Function Fox has all the essential collaboration tools your remote team will need.

You have the ability to create and delegate tasks to team members. Project statuses are visible for you and your team, so you know how each task is progressing. You are also able to set up email alerts for any of the projects you’re doing, allowing you to stay informed of all the latest changes.

At your fingertips are a variety of multitasking capabilities. Your group can work for multiple clients on multiple projects all on the same platform at the same time.

There are options to track project expenses as well as view your budgets and any financial constrains you have for each project. Staying on budget is essential for any team out there.

Dapulse

Dapulse is an online project management board.

The dashboard is a simple calendar that contains the all the pertinent information. Create and pin project deadlines and the associates you want to handle them.

Each task is clearly marked, indicating who’s working on what, and the progress that has been made by your trusty co-workers.

Your team will be notified if anyone is stuck on anything, allowing you to extend a helping hand. Avoid miscommunication and start the collaboration.

Dapulse allows for mobility. Stay connected to your team wherever you may be on your favorite device. Available on both iOS and Android.

Put This Into Practice

Managing and operating a startup with a remote team offers versatility to your operations and personal life. Of course let’s not forget lowering the cost of operations when implementing this into practice.

This may prove to be a learning process not only for you but your employees. How you manage the team is all up to you, but taking the measures I discussed here may provide you with some much needed guidance.

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