More and more businesses are realizing that the fears they had about managing a remote team were unfounded. On average, people are more productive when they work remote, not less.
That being said, managing a fully remote team is a different process that takes time to get used to. While it’s easier than you think, it offers new challenges and opportunities.
One challenge is keeping an awesome company culture and strong, cohesive teams without having an office or group activities. People can’t grab drinks after work or chat by the coffee machine if they live in different countries.
This can be good for productivity – less time spent joking around – but bad for morale and team bonding. Consider scheduling a meeting just to talk about anything, even personal topics, with your team. It may be awkward at first, but if you get the ball rolling, you may find yourself enjoying these meetings.
You can decide to have the first 10 minutes of a meeting be lighthearted and personal, then get down to business, or you can dedicate an entire meeting now and then to just chit chat. Either way, we recommend actually scheduling in some time to talk, because banter in a Slack channel just isn’t the same.
If you have a truly international team, you’ll need to decide how your team is going to overlap. You may want to make your decision based on the following considerations:
Is the overwhelming majority of your company in one time zone? If so, it makes sense for everyone else to adapt to this time zone, even if it involves them working in the middle of the night.
How much overlap do you actually need? You will need at least 1 – 2 hours a day overlap for meetings. Beyond that, it depends on the role, your company, and your team.
Can you meet in the middle? It may be a show of good faith for team members in two different continents to both have less than ideal work times, rather than force one group into a night shift.
What time zone are the majority of your customers in? An easy way to decide how to structure your scheduling is to base it on your customers’. If the majority of your customers live in California, you might want to run your company in Pacific Standard Time.
Evaluating performance while remote becomes simpler and more focused on hitting clear objectives and metrics, rather than subjective evaluations. With the recent shift to remote work, we’re seeing lay offs in middle management, since these jobs aren’t as directly tied to results.
This is an opportunity to evaluate your team fairly, based on objective metrics, and promote those who are delivering results. It’s up to you to define the metrics and key results that make sense for your team. It’s important that you pick the right metrics and you help set the right goals for your team. A remote team lives or dies by the results they produce. You don’t have a lot to go off of other than clear, objective results in determining performance.