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I've managed a remote team for four years. Here are the 5 things you can't ignore

Put extra effort into onboarding

Remote workers won’t have the opportunity to be involved in spontaneous conversations or team lunches, but there are other things you can do to help them settle:

  • provide info with new job critical stuff: team member introductions (personal bios, photos, advice for new employees), HR training links, task checklists, long-term goals, and more.
  • assign mentors to new hires, who schedule regular video check-ins, make themselves available on Slack and make new employees feel welcome.

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I've managed a remote team for four years. Here are the 5 things you can't ignore

I've managed a remote team for four years. Here are the 5 things you can't ignore

https://www.fastcompany.com/90263240/5-best-practices-for-managing-a-remote-team#

fastcompany.com

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Key Ideas

Hire the right people

Design your hiring process with remote candidates in mind. Look for 3 main things:

  • A strong skill set relevant to their jobs: you need to feel confident that they can complete basic job tasks independently.
  • A candidate with an affinity for remote work.
  • Hire candidates who share your company’s values:  they’ll fit in faster if they share your cultural code.

Put extra effort into onboarding

Remote workers won’t have the opportunity to be involved in spontaneous conversations or team lunches, but there are other things you can do to help them settle:

  • provide info with new job critical stuff: team member introductions (personal bios, photos, advice for new employees), HR training links, task checklists, long-term goals, and more.
  • assign mentors to new hires, who schedule regular video check-ins, make themselves available on Slack and make new employees feel welcome.

Default working setups

Remote workers need a dedicated, quiet space to do their work, so it’s important to set some guidelines:

  • encourage workers to join coworking spaces;
  • encourage workers to set a dedicated insolated space at home for work, with suitable furniture;
  • fast reliable internet access;

They can still work from a coffee shop every once in a while, but they need a good default setup. 

Make time for face-to-face interactions

Look for ways to build strong relationships:

  • use video calls:  team communication tools lack fundamental human elements like body language and tone;
  • host team retreats: you’re saving money by not renting physical offices, so why not funnel that money into team bonding.

Trust your team to do the work

... but check in from time to time.

Watch how the project unfolds in tools like Trello, Confluence, and Slack. That way, you're not bugging direct reports for status updates, but you still understand what's happening.

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Assembling the Team

... that's capable of executing in a remote setup:

  • Hire doers: they will get stuff done even if they are working from a secluded island.
  • Hire people you can trust....
Software/Tools

In a remote team, you'll need the right tools to make sure everyone stays on the same page and can continue to execute without a physical person standing next to them.

You likely will need a tool in certain categories like group chat and video conferencing to make remote successful.

Processes

Good processes let you get work done in the absence of all else. They provide structure and direction for getting things done.

A few examples from Zapier:

  • Weekly Hangouts;
  • Weekly One-on-Ones;
  • Bring the team together 2 times/year somewhere cool;
  • Automate anything that can be automated.
Remote-first Mindset

Accept that you have to put in place remote work systems, even if more than half of your employees ultimately revert to office-based work.

  • If done right, a remote-first infrastructu...
Build a socially-connected culture

Intentionally design for the same interactions that would otherwise happen if people were in the office.

  • Culture is what naturally happens when a group of people gets together for any period.
  • A great culture happens with intentional design and influence. It's the reason you should make your company's mission, vision, values, operating principles, standards, and agreements visible. 
  • Culture is experienced through emotions, including how your employees feel about the company, you, other leaders, and peers. That feeling is developed through human interaction at the water cooler, kitchen, or hallway conversations.
Your leadership presence

Your people need to feel your presence as a leader as they will have fewer opportunities to see you face to face when they work remotely.

  • Regularly show up in a variety of forms that can include weekly video meetings, periodic company-wide emails, or presence in public channels.
  • Err on the side of more communication rather than less.

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Personal Connection

A sense of connection and belonging are sentiments that are helpful for building “affective trust” – a form of trust based on emotional bond and interpersonal relatedness.

It vari...

Statistics On Remote Workers
  • Loneliness was reported as the biggest downside for 21% of remote employees, and one of the reasons that makes them more likely to quit.
  • Most remote managers say they’d be more inclined to stay if they had more friends at work.
  • Individuals who have 15 minutes to socialize with colleagues have a 20% increase in performance over their peers who don't.
  • Positive social relationships are correlated with better life expectancy.
Dynamic Icebreakers

If your icebreaker questions are intriguing, cheeky, humorous – the answers you receive will be, too.

Many remote teams will kick off their weekly meeting with an icebreaker question or insert it during their morning stand-up meeting. Even more popular is asking a series of icebreaker questions during the onboarding process when hiring someone.

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