Entrepreneurs

Council Post: Struggling To Manage Your Global Remote Team? Follow These 10 Tips

Remote work arrangements used to be few and far between, but ever since the pandemic, more and more companies are operating fully remotely. Although those who adopted a remote model early on have likely fallen into a rhythm, those new or established businesses that are now deciding to go fully remote may still be struggling to adapt to and manage remote teams—especially if they operate on a global scale.

Different time zones, varying employee locations and a lack of a centralized physical office space can be difficult to contend with, let alone all the other factors that come into play with remote work. To help business leaders get a better handle on things, a panel of Young Entrepreneur Council members share their best advice for companies working remotely with a global team.

1. Hold Daily Huddles

Communication is key to working successfully with a global team. Holding daily “huddles” at the same time every day and requiring every team member to attend holds employees accountable and keeps them linked to other workers in different locations. Encouraging existing employees to schedule “one-on-ones” to get to know new employees is also an effective way to keep staff in touch with one another. Communication apps such as Slack also help facilitate group communication and idea-sharing. – Evan Nierman, Red Banyan

2. Document Company Processes And Schedules

We’ve been a remote team since we started—long before Covid. We have several processes in place to ensure an effective work environment for every employee across all time zones. We use Confluence to document all of our company processes, and each employee is required to list their schedule on our Company Work Schedules page. That way, if we’re looking to communicate with one person, we know their schedule and can easily schedule meetings. We have company business hours where every employee is expected to be available online unless they’ve requested off. We have a standing company team meeting every Tuesday, which all employees are expected to participate in. Hiring employees who are comfortable in a remote working environment is really important. – Nathalie Lussier, AccessAlly

3. Establish Common Goals

For someone who’s been managing a global team for six years, I’ve learned a ton and have been able to successfully retain the original workforce that we launched with. It’s hard to just give one piece of advice, so I’ll share two things that are critical: open, clear communication and common goals are two things that keep our team sticky and hungry to achieve great things together. – Anna Anisin, Formulatedby

4. Track Everyone’s Progress

My best piece of advice for companies going all remote is this: Make it easy to track everyone’s progress. Our company is remote and has been since launch day. One of the keys to our success was the way we established and managed key performance indicators (KPIs). In other words, everyone should have clearly defined goals with concrete numbers that indicate their progress. I suggest creating a KPI spreadsheet for your teams so they know what goals they need to meet each quarter. Regardless of their time zones, our team members know what’s expected of them and when we meet up every week. If we can see at a glance who is doing well and who needs help, we can keep projects on track while helping our employees hone their skills. – Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights

5. Adjust Your Expectations For Productivity

The most effective change you can make when transitioning from an in-person workforce to a remote workforce is changing your expectations for productivity. When working in a physical location, most employees are incentivized to look busy at all times, even if they aren’t actually accomplishing anything important. This becomes less viable once you work remotely, especially when your team is spread out over multiple time zones. Instead, encourage your employees to focus on meeting hard goals on a weekly, monthly or quarterly basis. This can also improve the work-life balance of your team, which will have additional benefits for your productivity and overall company culture. – Bryce Welker, Real Estate Schooler

6. Enable A Steady Flow Of Messaging

I’m passionate about building a global business where team members are accountable to one another and practice effective communication. Part of this means enabling a steady flow of messaging when it comes to workplace communications. I recommend utilizing a platform like Slack and establishing a protocol for when and how to respond. At Klickly, we answer all Slacks within 24 hours (tops) and utilize a shorthand communication system. For instance, we tag each message with an “eye” emoji once the message is seen and use specific emojis to delineate “high priority” items. Even as the CEO, when I see a message notification with the “red dot” preceding it, I know to pause and take a look. Having a consistent response protocol in place is extremely helpful for keeping communication flowing between time zones and dispersed teams. – Cooper Harris, Klickly

7. Use Collaborative Software

As someone with a widely distributed team across different time zones, one of the best pieces of advice I can offer up is to use scheduling software like Calendly with project management software like monday.com or Basecamp. Largely, distributed teams work asynchronously, so having highly organized systems in place for collaborating without the need to be working simultaneously is key. And for the times when synchronous work is necessary, being able to quickly land on a time that works for multiple team members is invaluable. There are plenty of great tools out there to efficiently work together no matter where your team members are. Just be sure to establish standard practices for using the tools so everyone is on the same page with expectations and methods of passing deliverables. – Richard Fong, SecurityForward.com

8. Give Flexibility And Ask For Flexibility

We have been working with a remote team for over a year now and, even before that, have been a global company where team members work daily with people across multiple time zones all across the globe. Our success with managing and collaborating across eight different time zones stems from how we give flexibility and ask for flexibility. What this means is that we leave it up to our employees when and how they choose to work as long as they are making deadlines and meetings and are delivering high quality deliverables when they say they are going to deliver them. How they choose to spend their days working is up to them. Giving our employees their own agency not only has allowed them to maintain a healthy work-life balance, but has also improved their quality of work. – Ryan D Matzner, Fueled

9. Communicate Regularly And In Varying Ways

Being a careful listener and communicating frequently and regularly will help greatly! Constantly communicating about the company’s progress and also encouraging regular brainstorming meetings to exchange information and knowledge with each other is important. Apart from face-to-face meetings, encourage other channels of communication via group chats, which for me are very engaging. From time to time, encourage monthly virtual video meetings just to catch up and increase the bond further. – Chimezie Emewulu, Seamfix Limited

10. Set A Standard Time For Availability

It’s important to set a time when all employees should be available for conversation and meetings. This might be a small window during the day depending on your employees’ various locations. Let’s say you have team members on both the East and West Coast of the United States. All hands-on hours could be 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. This allows West Coast employees to not have to take meetings before sunrise and East Coast employees avoid navigating meetings during dinner time. – Chase Williams, Market My Market

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