The concept of building a full-time remote team is one that is constructed primarily on ownership and control. A dedicated team is one that comprises permanent, full-time, value-adding employees that belong to your organisation, and who work only for you. Often, a common misconception with dedicated teams is that they have to be local teams. However, in reality, this model is not geographically specific, which means that irrespective of where they're located, they're as much a part of your organisation as your local team is.
Unlike working with freelancers or outsourcing agencies, remote teams do not handle multiple clients or multiple projects. This, in turn, ensures that they are 100% focused on the client at hand, and are invested in the mission and goals of the project that they're working on.
All said and done, because the dedicated remote team is entirely yours, it becomes your responsibility to set up a robust management process to ensure that they are recognized, appreciated, and productive. In this piece, we discuss a few strategies that can be implemented when working with remote teams (check more on The Scalers blog).
1. Discuss your goals with the remote team
Your dedicated team isn't outsourced help that's going to stick around for a project or two — they're permanent employees that are in it for the long haul. This makes it extremely important to communicate with them, the short-term and long-term goals that you have for your business. If you're simply assigning them tasks on a daily or weekly basis but aren't showing them the bigger picture, they aren't going to be invested in their work.
Sit down with your remote development team and talk to them about the vision that you have for your business and the products and services that you build. What do you wish to achieve through the latest product that you're building? Where do you see your business going? What are the larger goals for your company? These are all critical questions that they must know the answer to.
By listing out all your business goals, you're allowing them to think beyond the scope of one product or service, and in turn, provide innovative solutions for your enterprise.
The communication strategy is one of the most important advice for remote team management that you can hear.
2. Minimise insignificant tasks
According to a study that was conducted by Stanford University, it was discovered that productivity had nothing to do with the number of hours that an average person worked. In fact, the study revealed that those who had a lesser number of working hours were more productive than those who worked for longer.
A common misconception among businesses, both big and small, is that the key to higher productivity is to work for at least 10-12 hours a day. However, what needs to really change is how a typical workday is scheduled.
For instance, instead of extending the working hours of your dedicated development team, find out what tasks they spend the most time on. You'll be surprised to know that unimportant tasks such as answering emails or giving regular status updates take up a significant chunk of their day. These redundant/unimportant tasks must first be reduced or even eliminated in some cases.
A few other ways to boost productivity include implementing effective meeting management practices where every single meeting has an agenda and an action plan, limiting the use of emails to essential matters only, and implementing quick scrum meetings instead of frequent status updates.
3. Create a robust communication strategy
Today, you can reach out to a remote team member on the opposite side of the globe at the touch of a button on your smartphone. Digital communication has grown leaps and bounds in the last few decades, with new technological advancements being introduced every other day.
In such a scenario, as a business, there's no excuse not to build a robust communication strategy. Here are some tips and tricks that you can use when communicating with your dedicated development team —
● Communicate and engage with your team at least once a day, even if it isn't always work-related. A quick "How was your weekend?" or even a simple "What are your plans for tonight?" can go a long way in building a connection with your team.
● Leverage the many available communication channels to engage with your remote team. For instance, if there's a detailed task that needs to be sent across, you can use emails. If it's just a quick status update, then there are a plethora of instant messaging apps like Slack and Skype that you can use. Seminars, webinars, etc., are best executed on video-conferencing apps like Google Meet or Zoom. The key is to simply choose the right channel.
● Schedule weekly, or bi-weekly calls with your team to discuss workflows, blockers, and any highlights that they may have.
4. Don't micromanage your team
As the manager of your team, it isn't uncommon to sometimes overstep and end up micromanaging your team. Unfortunately, employees don't like it at all. In fact, a recent survey that was conducted showed that over 60% of the respondents wanted to switch jobs because their manager practiced micromanagement, and 36% ended up changing jobs. The survey also highlighted that over 3/4th of the respondents believed that micromanagement hurts their overall performance.
The key here is to understand that you've hired your team for the simple reason that they are the best at what they do. Just trusting them to deliver is what really matters. If you are constantly micromanaging them, then they're going to be under the impression that you have no faith in their expertise, which can be suffocating in the long run. This, in turn, can have extreme consequences, such as the loss of your trusted employees.
By following these simple steps, you can ensure that your dedicated remote team is always engaged, motivated and productive.