Remote Workers need Leadership AND Management

Many of us now manage teams that are located in different buildings, cities, states and countries. Managing a team that’s spread out in many different sites presents huge challenges, even for the most experienced managers.

We hope the following ideas help if you are in this situation and provide you with the specific knowledge and tools necessary to keep satellite staff and teams unified and motivated.

  1. Recruit Well

When selecting people to work away from the main office, choose individuals with the right qualities for this situation. Here are a few we look for:

Self-motivated – They need to, and like, working independently, and don’t require constant encouragement and attention to get the job done.

Communication skills – There will probably be limited face-to-face contact, so communication skills are essential along with lots of initiative.

Outcome focused – They need to know how to execute and get the job done, meeting all the requirements of the role with minimal supervision.

Honest and Open – They need to come to you with problems, suggestions, and other feedback.

  1. Define Your Purpose

Everyone must agree and buy in to the team’s and organisation’s goals.  Staff must be focused on what needs to be achieved.  Create a roadmap for your team so they can understand what is required.

Remember to communicate results and meet regularly (using technology) to keep everyone up to date and feeling included.

  1. Team Culture is Essential

Managing the relationships and culture of your team is difficult enough, but it’s even more challenging when workers are all over the place. Bring them together as often as you can – and keep watch for signs they are unhappy or unproductive and deal with this issues immediately through face to face meetings.

  1. Monitor Performance, Provide Feedback and Reward 

Monitoring performance and providing feedback is essential for team performance and morale, and it’s particularly important when your team is located in different sites.  Stay in contact with everyone and schedule regular phone calls and meetings.  Don’t rely on email as your sole medium for communicating.  As good as this can be – feedback, both positive and constructive, is best done face to face.

Make sure your feedback is based on observations and on the monitoring of the work being performed.  Everyone needs to feel they are being treated equally and fairly. This may mean scheduling more time with remote workers as they just can’t “drop in”.

Reward performance and ensure that those staff working in other sites and locations and recognised for their efforts and achievements and feel just as valued as those at the desk next to you.

Leading and managing remote workers is a challenge but, with the use of technology, and some forward planning it can be rewarding and successful.