Managing Remote Teams

Published on 13 Mar 2014 . 3 min read

Long gone are the days when employees had to be physically present at the workplace for working effectively. With the advent of video-conferencing, internet and emails, the world has become a small place. Now, many of us work in different cities, states, countries and continents having different time zones. Some team members might be working together in office while others might be working from home at a different geographic location. You may see some team members every day, but you may rarely see others – or perhaps you've never even met them!

Video chats, file sharing options, instant messaging all have made it immensely easy to keep remote teams connected. Remote working is slowly becoming an industry trend and companies are now more open to providing workflex options if they get good quality employees.

Managing a team that is widespread can be a daunting and challenging task. How does one keep the remote members in loop, making sure all employees are treated equally and ensure everyone’s on track?

1)Recruit the right people:

The simple trick when you are building a team spread in different geographic areas is to choose self-motivated people. Prefer people who like to work independently rather than the ones who require constant encouragement and attention. You want workers who are result oriented and are set out to achieve their goals and objectives.

2)Good communication

Since there is going to be minimal or no face-to-face contact, it is necessary the team communicates effectively and frequently. Team members should be accustomed to using internet technologies like Skype and Gtalk. Weekly or daily team talks should be arranged to discuss the details of work at a time when all members are available and keeping in mind the time zones. Encourage team bonding. Video calling should be preferred over instant messaging.

3)Give feedback and reward performance:

Give regular feedback, it is necessary for the morale and performance of the team. While giving feedback ensure it is fair and consistent. Stay in touch with the far flung members so that they don’t feel disconnected. Incentives should be just and equal. 

4) Strong team dynamics:

Build strong team dynamics when inducting new team members or forming a new team.Managing relationships between team members can be difficult enough within a shared office space, but it's even more challenging when workers are all over the country – or the world. 

It is possible to build a strong team despite the distance and other barriers. Geographically dispersed teams can also have huge benefits like efficiency, cost savings, and the ability to choose team members with the best skills, regardless of their location. Working in a remote team provides flexibility, more work-flex options, helps with childcare and cuts down the commuting time and money.

Apart from learning you are also interacting with people in diverse locations. And when it is an international team, with people from different nationalities it is an added bonus, you get know a lot about their country and culture.

Are you or have been a part of such a team? If yes, do share your experience, we would love to hear from you.

Image Courtesy

SHEROES - lives and stories of women we are and we want to be. Connecting the dots. Moving the needle. Also world's largest community of women, based out of India. Meet us at @SHEROESIndia

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