There are many perks to working from home and hiring remote employees, but it’s not always easy to set up your remote team for success. Throughout seven years of B Squared, we’ve learned about what it takes to keep a successful virtual team running.
Read on for tips on how you can set up your remote team for success.
Encourage Questions, Lots Of Them
Asking questions plays an important role in any job, but when working with a remote team, the importance of asking for clarification reaches a whole new level.
When I train a new team member, I stress the importance of reaching out to the team with questions. I’d much rather be fielding questions you think are silly than dealing with blow-back from a client because of a misunderstanding. We want our team members to feel confident in the decisions they are making for our clients. The more questions they ask, the more confident they will be in their actions moving forward.
Keep in mind that not everyone feels comfortable asking questions on phone calls or in group chats. Communicate that you are always available for questions, whether in a private message, phone call or video chat.
Our Enterprise Team Managers Carrie Keenan and Candi Anklin both agree, overcommunication is key!
Set Up Your Remote Team For Success
Going off the need for over-communication, it’s important to make your expectations clear. Provide examples of the level of work you expect to be done and always provide a turnaround time for a project. The more prepared your team members are, the more likely they are to meet and exceed your expectations.
If someone on your team is not meeting expectations, reach out to them privately. Provide concrete examples of what you would like to see from them. It’s possible that they are not clear on directions or have misunderstood deliverables.
Take The Time To Layout Processes
B Squared CEO and Founder Brooke Sellas has been working on processes since she was a solopreneur, outlining the standard operating procedures for every new client. These step-by-step guidelines have served as a starting point for onboarding, managing, and offboarding clients.
These same processes serve as an encyclopedia for new team members, providing a place where the client’s expectations and our obligations are clearly stated.
We also create processes for how certain situations are dealt with on client accounts. These include fielding complaints over social media, negative reviews, content management and the like. When followed correctly, these processes keep our team operating as a well oiled machine.
Evaluate Those Processes Regularly
The processes Brooke set-up in 2012 are not identical to the processes we use today. Over the last seven years, we’ve learned what works and what doesn’t, and updated our processes to reflect that.
Sometimes our account managers identify issues that call for new processes. If you’re finding that multiple team members are making the same mistake, or certain tasks are being overlooked, ask your team what changes they think should be made to avoid those errors. We also make a conscious effort to evaluate what is and isn’t working quarterly and annually.
This constant state of evaluation and attention to detail ensures that we catch issues before they become large problems and result in the loss of a client.
Find The Right Tools
We use Basecamp to manage internal groups of team members, schedules, client accounts and projects, client communication and feedback. Without it, we’d be lost!
Go To Meeting is what we use for both internal and external meetings, which allows us to loop in multiple people and supports video calls and screen sharing.
Build A Community
When you don’t have the option to walk over to someone’s desk to chat it can be difficult to create bonds with your team. That’s why we love the campfire chat in Basecamp, where we share GIFs, memes, personal news and more with each other. We also take time at the beginning of our weekly Level 10 meetings to share any good news we may have with the rest of the team.
Ready To Set Up Your Remote Team For Success?
You can’t set up your remote team for success without open communication. Follow the tips above and you and your team will be well on your way to virtual team stardom.
Do you have any tips for working with a remote team? Share them in the comments below!