Hiring remote workers and freelancers has its advantages. You will lower overhead costs and gain more productivity for your business.
But it's not as perfect as it seems. Well, nothing is.
Here is the shocking truth, managing your remote working team has problems as well. But before you forget hiring freelancers all together, we are here to help. These are the most prevalent remote management problems (and how to solve them).
The first challenge to any remote working team is communications. A properly coordinated team is essential for any business. But without the face-to-face interactions and physical meetings, how can you cope up?
The fine line between remote working and physical presence is blurring with these apps. Why not do Skype video calls so that you get to see their demeanor and hear your remote worker's voices?
The challenge is being alert if there seems a problem based on the words they type or the voice they project. If you spot possible dilemmas, try asking open-ended questions. Dig deep if you may.
After applying the use of these programs, you have to foster communication yourself. Are you approachable? Are you open to new ideas? Are you amenable to joyful banter once in a while?
Make yourself available for the team. Support them. Encourage them. Let them feel that they are part of the team. And when you allow this harmonious relationship to prosper, you can have lesser communication problems in the future.
The world of freelancing opens a plethora of talents around the world. You can now find the best of the best within your price range. You can even check out Filipino freelancers and 5 reasons why you should hire them.
But the problem with globally located employees is the global schedule. The end of your day might be the beginning for others, especially if most of you are in different time zones.
If you are waiting for a crucial task from your teammates, it may lead to delays in your timeline.
As a manager or owner, it's your job to convene your remote workers. Find a time where everyone can be online. It may be the start for someone's schedule and towards the end of another.
These routinary meetings are important so that the team can get acquainted with everybody. Also, it allows the team to be in the know as to where the project is going and what can we do to let it move further.
If some team members absolutely can't be present, you can record the meeting for them to watch later on. Get their feedbacks and use later if applicable.
Alongside the scheduling, you have to be aware of the language and cultural barriers in your team. Some topics may be difficult to portray or borderline sensitive for some.
For example, saying something simple like "I am wearing thongs to the market after work" might be offensive for other cultures. But for our Aussie brethren, it just means s/he'll be wearing flip-flops to the market.
Something as simple as this can be a cause of ruckus. What more for other delicate stuff ingrained in their culture? How to combat it, you say? Well, just ask.
Ask your remote workers for the things that are unique in their culture. Ask for their insights. After this, you will have a whole new understanding and hopefully will bridge what you want to get done without demeaning their cultural identity.
Most of the time, you don't need to track their performance when you're just interested in the end product. But if your remote workers need to work a certain number of hours, tracking their performance for the said hours can be troublesome.
Good news though! You don't have to micromanage every one to productivity oblivion. Again, just use technology to your advantage. Install a time tracking tool to know what they are doing for those number of hours.
You can also employ task management programs (we even just use Google sheets) for the tasks in place.
But what's really important is managing their expectations. You should tell them exactly what you expect them to do and to finish at these hours.
If it goes well, you get more productivity and accountability without the headache of missed deadlines and expectations.
If you are transitioning from a traditional workforce to a completely remote team, trusting your employees to do what they're told might be harder for you.
I mean, if you adhere to "the mouse will play when the cat is away" mantra, how can you be certain that they are really working?
But this can be a reality check. If you did your due diligence in hiring independent and responsible people; and you have placed controls like time trackers and task management mechanisms, you can forego your paranoia.
Let your remote workers enjoy their inherent freedom. Learn to trust them to do the things they are required to do. After all, you have programs to monitor them.
And because of this inherent freedom, they are actually more productive than their office-going counterparts. It's even in multiple studies across the board. So trust them. It goes a long way.
These solutions may not be one-size-fits-all. It's your job to tweak the system in your liking to produce the desired results. With that, I hope you manage your remote working team exceptionally well. Good luck!