Managing Remote Teams – Tips for Increasing Productivity
You’ve spent time, energy and money building your remote team. It’s not unreasonable to want to get the most from them. You want to maximize productivity. Yet when your team is virtual there can be some challenges to motivating them. However, when you approach your virtual team strategically you’ll find that they’re often much more productive than a traditional employee.
Provide Answers Before There are Questions – Anticipate what your remote team of contractors will need to know to do their jobs or assigned tasks. Give them all of the information and resources they need to be successful. Your information may come in the form of documented processes and systems, “how to” videos, style guides, your business vision, mission and target audience description, as well as your goals. Put yourself in your contractor’s position and ask yourself, “What do I need to know to do this job well?” Then give them that information. This helps prevent any need for back and forth communication, training time, and mistakes.
Focus on Results – Assuming you’ve provided your team with all of the support documentation and information they need, step back and stay out of the process. Micromanagers tend to overcomplicate things. You can actually hurt your team’s productivity. Instead, set deadlines and milestones and let your team do what they do best. You focus your energy and attention on the results. Provide feedback on the results, reward the results, and set new goals and objectives based on your team’s results.
Use Technology to Reduce Redundancies – In general, any process that is repeatable can likely be streamlined by the use of technology. For example, your shopping cart software may directly integrate with your bookkeeping and accounting software. Instead of balancing your books and paying bills each month, you can literally automate the process. When it comes to managing your team, technology can again eliminate redundancies and streamline the process. Any time you save is time that your team can use to be more productive.
Build Personal Relationships – Contractors are more productive when they’re invested in the outcome of their clients. Build personal relationships with your contractors. Get to know them and become invested in your business partnership. Send holiday cards or messages, remember their birthdays, and ask for their opinions and insights. You can learn a lot about improving your business by listening to your contractors.
Finally, consider establishing one of your contractors as the project manager or the top dog in the chain of command. This will likely be a top level virtual assistant with experience managing contractors and projects and a good understanding of your business and industry. They can help streamline the process and keep your contractors informed, on task, and productive.
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