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How to manage and motivate your remote team

Having a remote team has many obvious benefits, but managing your external team members takes a different skill set than simply heading an in-house office. Keeping your ‘virtual office’ motivated and engaged brings unique challenges. Losing track of your remote workforce can have dire consequences. So let’s see what it takes to create a happy and inspiring workplace from afar.

Create a tight team

As the manager of a remote team you want to combine the right people with the right skills. A good manager understands the strengths each team member brings to the table, and then encourages the development of these attributes.

The best way to spot the added value of your employees is to see how they interact with each other as a team. Some take up the role of a leader, while others are the organizers, creative minds or technical adepts. The difficulty with a remote team is that you cannot be in the same room with them and pick up the subtle social cues from their interaction with each other on the workfloor. To gauge their individual value you will have to be more proactive to detect how the puzzle fits.

A major ingredient in building a team is trust, and this is especially true for remote teams. Managers should trust employees to work more at home because commuting takes up so much time and energy that could be spent creating. The best teams are founded on the notion that each person is trusted to do the best they can to achieve a common goal.

The best guide to the best skills

In order to coordinate optimally with your remote team you need proper guidance to make this new cooperation work. At Alumnos we set up a custom-made cooperation model to enhance smooth communication with and optimal results of your extended team.

On the one end our team of experienced coaches provides communication training for your local team and they provide the right tools to enhance the partnership between both teams. On the other end they provide extended team management and team setup of your remote team. Quality control plays a big role in this cooperation and we keep an eye out that your remote team stays motivated and delivers the expected results.

Growing the trust between your local and remote team also requires a continuous follow-up. Our implementation support assures that your remote team can grow and thrive under your watchful eye with 2-weekly sprints, retrospective meetings, testing and constant quality assurance. We even organise regular trips for your remote team to your company to make sure their connection with your brand and vision is strengthened.

Provide the right tools for communicating

In order to deepen the relationship with your remote team even further you need the right tools to communicate and collaborate.

There are many apps and online software that can increase engagement and enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of your remote team. Workflow platforms, for instance, are a powerful way to keep tasks and projects moving forward. Examples include Google Drive, Trello, Dropbox and Microsoft OneNote.

Streamlining your remote workflow is very important, but it is also vital to keep an open line of communication as well. Team messaging software has been a game changer when it comes to running a virtual office. Programs such as Slack or Yammer are great for instant project communication. Combine these with facetime tools like Google Hangout or Skype and you will bring your remote team closer than ever before.

Final thoughts

Great cooperation brings out the best in external employees, encourages collaboration and creates a group of workers that are greater than the sum of their parts. Remote workers are not always visibly present, so extra effort must be applied to keep them in the loop, get them in the corporate offices (monthly / quarterly meetings) and establish opportunities for teamwork and team building so they too can be a viable, contributing member of your team.

Organizing your remote team paves the way to productivity. This is why we offer our assistance with a tailored cooperation model to fit your outsourcing needs.

Every team is of course unique and has different needs and requirements. Want to see how we can support you in your nearshoring or offshoring project? Contact us for an audit and we will determine what you need for your remote team.