3 Ways to Ensure Your Distributed Team Moves Your Business ForwardJulie Morris, guest blogger
Because of technological development, working remotely is not only possible now, it’s becoming more common by the day. Companies of all kinds are seeing the benefits of putting together a distributed team, and more and more workers are opting to pursue telecommuting or freelance opportunities.
While hiring remote workers can save your company money and increase efficiency in your business operations, it’s not as simple as hiring the first candidate you come across and giving them work. If you want to build a great team of remote workers (and who doesn’t?), you have to make sure you find the best candidates, take your communication to the next level, and keep the team motivated across time zones. For the business owners out there, here are some tips for assembling a distributed team that can help your company thrive:
Look At a Temp Agency
When you start building your team, consider hiring freelancers rather than full-time employees. A good freelancer will be able to provide the expertise you need for specific projects, and you don’t have to pay them to work on projects they may not be knowledgeable in.
Nowadays, there are freelancers who specialize in pretty much any task you can think of, and going through a temp agency will make it easier to find top-notch candidates. Plus, a lot of temp agencies handle skills training, reference screening, background checks and drug testing for each candidate. Therefore, you can focus your time and energy on running your business while your candidates are vetted. Once you’ve found qualified candidates, you can interview them, give them a test project, and determine whether they’re a good fit for your team.
The more your distributed team grows, the more communication will become an irreplaceable skill among all team members. Wherever your workers are, they will need to stay up to date on important work matters such as projects, team calls and company policy. One way to get your freelancers the information they need is to use an automated speech-to-text transcription service for calls, which will provide you with call notes in just a few minutes. Look for a service that provides an editable version of transcripts so you can easily make and share edits.
It’s also critical to make sure each team member is clear on expectations. Early on—perhaps even in interviews—lay out guidelines for each worker, such as what hours they should be available during the day, which medium they should primarily use to communicate, and how quickly they should respond to emails. Also, it can help to hold regular team meetings (e.g., weekly, monthly) to keep everyone on the same page. Furthermore, consider asking your team members to use a collaboration app to chat and work on projects together.
Keep Your Workers Motivated
Distance can make it challenging for teams to build morale. Since it’s so important to productivity, you will need to prioritize morale and take steps to keep everyone motivated. For example, genuine praise can go a long way toward encouraging workers to continue to work hard and contribute to the company culture. Constructive criticism is sometimes necessary, but since it carries more weight than compliments, always be looking for ways to give positive feedback and reward achievements.
Lastly, be the worker you are asking your team members to be. Most of your workers probably won’t see a lot of your work in action, but you can stay available to help with any questions or problems they have or jump in on a project—both of which can show your value and expertise. Also, make sure you are well versed in online communication, and be the first one to sign on for virtual meetings.
Building a distributed team can help your company grow like you want it to, but you need to approach it the right way. Consider hiring freelancers, and use a temp agency to find the best candidates. Be sure to prioritize communication, and take steps to keep a strong morale among the team. Implementing these tips can help ensure that your team of remote workers moves your business forward.