Remote work continues to increase.
Companies large and small are looking for remote workers.
The benefits are beginning to largely outweigh negatives for both employers and employees.
Employers save on office costs while also opening the talent pool to the entire world. Employees cut down on their own commuting expenses and stress while opening their opportunities to the entire world.
If you’re on either side and have the right mindset, you’re feeling good about things. If you’re stuck in the past, you’re going to struggle.
One of the challenges for managers of a remote team is uniting the team. You might see it discussed as culture or something similar. But when your team is working on similar projects, it’s better when they are working for the same goal and working together. Even if they’re not working on the same project, they represent your brand. A united team with a united focus is important for enduring success.
Here are some tips for uniting a remote team…
1. Act Consistently As The Leader
Consistency is one of the key things people look for in a leader. It’s really what people look for in other people, no matter the situation. Bosses look for it from employees.
But as the leader, it’s your job to be as consistent as you can. Especially with a remote team.
The more your team can anticipate your next moves, the better. They’ll be able to see what you’ve done, learn from it and make their own decisions for the future. Both their own decisions and decisions for the company.
This requires you to analyze yourself. Not just the way you feel about things, but your actions in the past. It requires one big audit right now to assess yourself. Then it requires regular auditing of yourself and your actions. Every year is good. Especially if you’re busy.
Assess your decisions. For the company. How you communicate with the team. What you tell the team. It’s all very important.
When consistently is lacking, fractions can develop within an organization.
2. Over-communicate With All Team Members
The autonomy can be great with remote work. You don’t have to rely on the hours as much as the work. If the work is getting done, things are great. In fact, with Ghost Blog Writers, I don’t care if it takes a writer a minute to write a 1,000-word blog post. If the post is great, I don’t care about the time.
But one of the traps with remote work is not communicating with your team. Not checking in on them in a negative way. Obviously there will be times when you’re wondering where things are and it will need to be assertive or negative.
But schedule time to check-in regularly with each person on the team. At least with your immediate team. They are people. They have lives. Make an effort to learn about them, listen to them and also share details about yourself.
Part of the communication is also the direction of the company. Share this as much as you feel comfortable doing and then take it a step or two further.
One of the big traps with remote work is assuming the team has all the information they need. Usually, they’ll have a good amount to do their basic tasks, but as questions arise they may feel confused about what you’re doing and where the company is going.
People like security in life. They like to know about the future as much as possible and within reason. As the leader, it’s your job to make sure they know what you’re thinking.
3. Identify Issues Early
One of the things great leaders in business often do is setup early warning signals. It changes from organization to organization, but basically you’re looking for indicators of unrest.
Maybe it’s a late assignment from one employee. Most of the time, it’s nothing, but it can be something. So it’s good to flag the situation and have a process in place to monitor the employee. To check in on them to see if they have what they need. To see if you need to provide assistance or whatever it might be.
Anytime there is a problem, work it backward to see if there were indicators. Then use those to predict future issues. Try to catch them as early as possible.
Obviously it’s impossible to do this perfectly. But the more things you catch early, the better you’ll be able to thwart potential issues, including a fragmented team.
4. Find Better Fits
Sometimes employees will be great for your company, but the first job or current job they’re in may not be the right fit. You may realize that someone has a talent that fits another role within your company. A talent you didn’t know about at first.
It’s your job to know your team to the best of your abilities. And obviously within reason. You don’t want to force people to tell you things they don’t want to. And we’re not talking about going to extremes here. But we are talking about trying to figure out strengths and weaknesses. And also interests and goals for the future.
As best you can, you want to align your employees in the same direction as the company. You want win-win situations.
When people are in the wrong fits in companies they often stay because they fear change or they need to pay bills or a million other reasons. You can’t wait for them to always come to you with requests for changes. Some will and that will be great.
But it’s your job to assess the team and find the best fits. It’s a good way to make sure the team members are involved and engaged. With the company and with each other.
5. Move Quickly
I’m a believer in moving quickly in business. Using your gut to make decisions and acting fast. You’re going to make wrong decisions, but you’re also going to learn a lot and start making some really great decisions.
Use your gut to hire quickly. If you feel you made a wrong hire, move quickly to find them a new position and fit. If that still isn’t working, make the call to let them go.
Teams get wary when decisions aren’t being made. They appreciate security, but they also don’t want things to remain exactly the same. They don’t want things to remain in flux. That can drive people crazy.
Unity is possible with a remote team. Even if team members never communicate with each other, it’s important to have them all working and representing your brand in the proper way. It’s never going to be perfect, but using tips like the ones here make it possible for you, the leader, to unite your team for the best outcomes for all involved.