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© 2016 Small Business California

Tracey Clayton
Aug 26

How to Manage a Remote Digital Team






To say that we’re more connected now than we have ever been would be the understatement of the century. In the world of business, this simple fact has enabled employers to work with freelancers, subcontractors, and hire experts from all over the globe. You can cherry-pick the most qualified candidates no matter where they are, work with them on a project-basis if need be, or hire entire offshore teams to handle a portion of your business. However, working with remote employees comes with numerous challenges in addition to those wonderful perks.


Since more employees who work with you at the office also want the freedom to occasionally work from home, move their work hours, or introduce other forms of flexibility into the mix, employers need to find a way to balance everyone’s needs. While there are no cookie-cutter solutions that will suit everyone, it’s important to try out a few different solutions until you find what works best for your team. Here’s how you can successfully manage your remote teams and make the most of those collaborations for years to come!


Enhance communication with the right tech

Your remote teams are equally in charge of representing your business properly and in the spirit of your essential values as the ones that are physically present at the office. Unlike your on-site teams that get the right training and guidance, your remote crew cannot enjoy the same level of education when it comes to getting to know the brand. So, if they aren’t immersed in your company culture, how can they represent it properly when doing their jobs?


Enter: communication tools that help you erase those boundaries. Simple chat tools such as Slack, or video conferencing software the likes of Skype are all wonderful ways to meet and greet your remote digital teams. This is also a great way to give them a chance to attend in-office meetings, learn about the brand, and make sure they can communicate your values properly.




Make use of diversification when hiring

The same borders that no longer exist for your remote employees have been erased for you, too. In fact, the more you allow yourself to think outside the box when hiring remotely, the greater your chances are to find the best match for your company culture and help them integrate successfully with your local employees. It turns out that diversification such as regularly employing people with disabilities helps you find exceptionally talented people who will thrive by working from home, and who can be true assets to your business.


Such practices open doors for businesses to improve their reputation, but much more importantly, to make the right hiring decisions. Why limit yourself to what’s considered conventional, when you can actually find people who can enrich your culture remotely, including the ones who may be struggling with a disability? Your business needs their voice, too, and allowing your brand to become more inclusive is one of the best ways to ensure long-term success with your remote employees.


Project management tools for improving productivity

Back to tech, and we should discuss the relevance of using PM tools to make sure that your remote employees are able to work successfully with your in-office teams. Delegating tasks, assigning projects, exchanging ideas, and making sure everyone delivers their work on time, these are all essential elements of a successful collaboration. They also benefit your employees in terms of increasing engagement, since transparency and clarity in communication enable them to connect better with every single member of their team – no matter where they are.


This is especially relevant for companies that count hundreds of employees and it can become very difficult to retain a consistent brand voice without streamlined communication and ongoing workflow management.




Make an offer they cannot refuse

Perks and benefits are not reserved for your local employees. On the contrary, you are now obligated to make sure that your employees are happy and taken care of, no matter where they reside in the world. While freelancers and subcontractors do retain some of the responsibilities when it comes to their healthcare and other perks, if you do intend to hire remotely and make them a part of your team, then offering them specific benefits can increase your chances of inspiring them to work with you.


Increasing your retention rate shouldn’t be limited only to your local workers. Make sure that you can offer benefits to your remote teams, as well, and you’ll find that their dedication to your brand will skyrocket. Inclusiveness paired with equality in the form of perks and benefits means the world to people who aren’t able to actually spend time in your office every day to immerse themselves into your culture.


Team-building with remote employees

Finally, although you can indeed go your entire life without ever meeting your remote crew in person, making the effort to do so can truly bring you closer. Set aside a specific budget for an annual get-together so that your in-house teams and your remote digital employees can finally get to know each other outside of Slack or Asana and have conversations that aren’t work-related.


Do some of your remote employees have disabilities? Go the extra mile and make it convenient for them to attend your team-building sessions, too.


Everything from hiring the right remote people all the way to making sure they’re happy under your wing comes with a set of challenges unique to your business. Do your best to keep an open mind, and you’ll learn what makes your remote teams tick and how you can help all of your employees work successfully for years to come.

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