This article is sponsored by Vast Conference, which offers an award-winning, instant conference calling service.
As technology advances and the need for quality employees grows, more and more companies learn to adapt to the remote working model. After all, what's the point in having an office when you're all working on computers anyway? Widespread demand has led to softwares and apps to manage remote teams at affordable prices – with tools provided by companies like Vast Conference allowing people to work seamlessly with their team members regardless of their locations.
With the right systems in place, companies with remote teams can ensure higher accountability, more open communication, and greater productivity. But what can founders and employers do to better cultivate a successful remote team? We asked a number of entrepreneurs to give us some tips on how to make sure your work-from-home employees are still keeping their nose to the grindstone.
Set Clear Goals – Ajit Sancheti, co-founder & CEO, Preempt
“Getting the most out of a remote team requires setting clear goals and direction, not changing them often, and more importantly, continuing to articulate the goals multiple times. That ensures that the team knows that what they are working on has direct relevance to the overall direction of the company. This is probably the most important management technique that allows us to not micro-manage while getting the most out of the team.”
Communicate Often – Samuel Sternweiler, CEO and founder of JEWELv
“Communication is key with remote employees. Try your best to do weekly phone calls or video calls to give updates and get their feedback. Hearing someone's voice or seeing their excitement or passion can really be uplifting and helpful for your employee/employer relationship. Additionally, use instant messengers such as Slack to help keep in constant communication.”
Delegate Work – Lora Ivanova, CMO and co-founder of myLAB Box
“The key to working with a remote team is delegation. One of the biggest mistakes you can make as the leader of a remote team is micromanagement. I delegate specific tasks that require narrow expertise and I trust my team.”
Stop Worrying – Wayne Turmel, product line manager at Remote Leadership Institute
“A lot of managers of remote teams are hung up on the idea of ‘are they working?' and ‘how do I make sure they’re working?' The fact is, if an employee has clear expectations, honest metrics for success and the tools to get the work done, they will get it done regardless of if they’re in the office or working from home (or Starbucks, or the airport). In fact, studies show that remote workers often get more tasks completed in a given day than office workers, since they aren’t constantly interrupted. The trick is for the manager and employee to agree on what needs to be done, by when and to what standard of quality.”
Hire the Right Employees – David Blacker, co-founder of AirGigs
“You sometimes have to be willing to walk away from a resource, and still compensate them for their time and effort. It can take working with several people before you find a resource that you can work with long-term. Once you have an ideal candidate, providing unexpected bonuses and acknowledging the value of their work helps a great deal.”
Appreciate Your Team – Alexis Monson, co-founder of Punkpost
“When working remotely, you can feel like you're working in a void and that what you're doing doesn't matter. Helping people feel like they are a big part of the team and to show them how they are contributing to the bigger picture is paramount. I'm literally texting and emailing our remote team all the time.”
Cultivate Passion – Arvin Sahakian, co-founder and vice president of BeSmartee
“For us, the key to a successful remote employee is the same as someone who is not working remotely. Everyone at our company is thoroughly passionate about the products we have created, they fully understand the product, the need in the market for it and are self-starters who don't sit idle and wait for instruction at any given moment about what to do next.”
Separate Work from Play – Brandon Schroth, digital analyst at Gillware Data Recovery
“One suggestion I can offer for those who work from home is that you have to be able to disconnect at the end of the work day. If you can close the door to your home office and walk away, it can be a really great experience. Separation of work and home is key.“
Get Personal – Michelle Ellis, co-owner of Orapin Marketing + Public Relations
“For motivating your team from afar, I still feel like a personal approach is best. I like get to know each person on my team and connect with them on the phone and in text messages on a regular basis. We also have a private Facebook Group set-up that allows us to motivate and connect with one another on a daily basis. Sometimes all we need in order to get motivated to work from home is the ability to turn to others to inspire us.”
Use Tools – David Waring, co-founder of Fit Small Business
“We use collaboration tools that allow us to interact with our workers and create a seamless process… Our goal is to make remote working feel as in-house as possible while not actually being in-house.”
If you are looking for a simple, easy way to put these tips to work, Conference Calling from Vast Conference is the way to do. Not only does it provide you with screen sharing, call recording, custom greeting technology, you can also get a free 14-day trial to give your startup a chance to try it before you buy it. You don't even have to wait when you use their special instant conference calling feature. Check out the prices when you have a chance to make sure you get enough bang for your buck.