Virtual teams are more common than ever before. Currently around 50% of the UK workforce work from home, and a recent survey found that 83% of managers plan to hire more remote workers over the next three years.
So if you’re new to managing a virtual team, you’re not alone! Thousands of business owners and managers across the UK are discovering the ins and outs of supervising a remote team. But how can you ensure your team succeeds, especially when you’ve never met face-to-face?
Thankfully we have lots of experience with virtual assistants – and we’d like to help. Here are five tips to help you manage your remote employees.
1. How To Succeed Using A Virtual Team: Have Multiple Communication Channels
Zero face-to-face communication can cause misunderstandings and problems, so don’t just use email to stay in touch. Schedule regular one-on-one video calls with your employees, and try to arrange at least one video call with all of your staff once a month. This gives employees the chance to discuss complex issues in detail, and the one-on-one chats will to ensure your staff feel supported and appreciated.
It can also be useful to set up a more informal chat system so employees can bond and get to know each other. After all, working remotely can feel very lonely, and it is always nice to have an office friend who cares about your mental state!
2. Ensure Working Hours Overlap
Do you have remote employees working in different time zones? If so, it could be beneficial to have overlapping working hours. For instance, if you live in London and your remote employee lives in New York, their 9AM shift would start at 2PM (when you are still working, assuming you both work 9AM to 5PM). This overlap means that you can problem solve quickly, and if you need to speak over the phone the option is there.
3. Set Clear Work Systems
We all have different ways to get things done, but this isn’t always ideal in a working environment. Setting clear work systems means that your remote team will have less questions, and you should be able to rely on fairly consistent results (even if different employees do the same tasks). This will improve the efficiency of your business.
4. Think About How Technology Can Help You
Technology has developed a lot over the last decade, and now there are hundreds of tech tools that can make remote work easier. For instance employees can track their hours and tasks for free using Toggl, and Zoom can be used for work meetings. So take a look online and see if there are any free or cheap tools that can help your business!
5. Choose The Right People
Finally it is very important to find the right people for your virtual team. Think about your business and your values; what kind of skills are you looking for? Are you looking for certain personality types? Do you need someone to complete admin work, or do you need someone more creative who can take the lead? Answering these questions will make it easier to find the best possible employees for the roles.