Businesses today are increasingly finding themselves in a dynamic environment which calls for constant innovation. Working remotely is becoming increasingly attractive today as it accords employees a degree of flexibility, a better work-life balance and can even boost productivity. Unfortunately, operating in several locations and varied cultures comes with its own set of managerial challenges.
Most managers will agree that managing remote teams can be challenging especially because there are few physical interactions. This can create a managerial gap within teams and even the organization as a whole. Here are seven tips on effectively managing people remotely.
1. Standardize Operations
One of the best things you can do is standardize processes and the mode of operation across all your locations. Ensure in-house training sessions and inductions are the same. Again, it is important to have similar employee handbooks to ensure that there is a similar work culture across the board.
Failure to do this will have you trying to manage what will feel like several different autonomous entities. Done successfully, you should be able to move an employee across the continent without affecting their productivity.
2. Be Accessible
Granted, you might be spread too thin, and it’s obviously impossible to be everywhere all the time and still get things done. However, you still need to be available for your staff.
Thanks to real-time collaboration tools, communication can still be done cheaply and without the hassles and cost of constant travel. The best thing about this is you can communicate with several locations simultaneously or break down your locations for specific projects.
Having weekly meetings (online of course), as well as annual or biannual in-person team buildings is also a great way to have employees interact with the management. These interactions also heighten a sense of inclusivity.
3. Establish a Remote Management Hub
Remote data centers, also known as colocation services are another aspect to explore. With all the information from the locations you have, as well as the need for communication tools such as video conferencing, you no doubt require fast bandwidth, quality equipment and regular maintenance of your data centers.
These come with additional business costs. Aside from the setup costs, the technology you have in place might be rendered obsolete in a short time. This makes it less attractive regarding cost-effectiveness.
This makes colocation services the best alternative. Some of its advantages include:
- You are able to make savings on costs associated with running a data center internally.
- Colocation services come with regular, uninterrupted and high-density power input.
- You get access to the largest IP supports in the world capable of adequately handling the bandwidth from your locations, without slowing down processes.
- A colocation provider offers multiple security layers ensuring your data is protected.
Once you have these services in place, you can focus on your teams rather than the rigors of maintaining a data center. As with most outsourced functions, you get professionals to do what they are good at, while you focus on your core business. The good points of the colocation should help you decide whether it will be beneficial to your business or not.
4. Focus on Goals not Activities
Attempting to micromanage multiple locations is an exercise in futility. Communicate clear goals, set deadlines and expectations. Allow remote workers to focus on deliverables.
Avoid concerning yourself with their activities or processes as long as you have the desired output. If however goals are not being met, then there is cause to intervene.
This will also create an environment of trust and responsibility and make it much easier for managers to manage.
Having a local manager or supervisor works great too. Employees can report to them, and they can report back to you. This way, your workers have some sort of supervision and support.
They can also serve as the point person for new initiatives, projects, and communication. Delegating increases efficiency and effectiveness.
6. Be Conscious of Local Culture
This is especially important if you have workers scattered across the globe. Be conscious of the time differences, language and strive to pronounce names correctly. Also respect local labor laws, public holidays and so on.
7. Consider Using a Staff Scheduling Software
A staff scheduling software is a useful tool in any organization. This can be customized for your specific needs. Such software can help you plan for your staffing needs in advance and lets everyone know where they should be and their specific hours or time frames for their shifts.
Employee management software can also be an ally in managing remote work. Most software will highlight scheduling conflicts, again helping the manager to develop feasible work plans quickly and accurately.
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Hopefully, this article has given you a head start on how to effectively manage remote teams in multiple locations. By implementing these tips, you are on a clear path to managing multiple locations effectively and efficiently. Fostering a culture of inclusivity and standardization across the board will ensure each worker identifies as a part of a whole and will, therefore, channel their efforts towards common organizational goals as opposed to regional ones.