For companies, hiring remote teams has many benefits: Organizations can match people to needed skill sets no matter where they are located, people can work at their own pace and work can often get done while others are sleeping.
There are often also a few downsides to remote work. There is a great chance for miscommunication, and community culture may not develop as easily or as strongly.
So how can entrepreneurs keep their remote team well organized and communicating openly and efficiently? Below, members of YEC share their best methods of keeping a remote team streamlined and focused, despite time zones.
1. Keep in sync.
Regardless of whether we're talking about remote employees or in-house staff, I believe it's important to have everyone participate in frequent meetings regarding productivity and goals. These days it's super easy to do with online meeting software and technologies. A frequent online meeting between remote and in-house staff helps to keep everyone communicating with free-flowing ideas and solutions. – Jared Weitz, United Capital Source
2. Use project management software.
A project management software like Asana is a great tool to keep remote teams organized and communicating. With Asana, you can create tasks, assign them to team members with due dates and organize projects by the team. You'll get a notification each time a task is completed for tasks that you're following and you can also easily keep an eye on the progress of other teams and projects as well. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms
3. Remove yourself as a bottleneck.
I have run remote teams for more than 15 years now. This is how I staff my company. The secret to getting your team to work together is to allow your team to make decisions on their own. When you begin, your team relies upon you as the owner or manager to provide direction on everything. When this happens, you find yourself in a constant state of management. Encourage your team to work on their own. – Brian Greenberg, True Blue Life Insurance
4. Focus on the company culture.
The biggest challenges that a remote workforce brings is team integration. Use of communication tools can help the team stay on the same page, but unlocking the true potential of the team and working collaboratively requires a remote work policy that focuses on mixing the remote employees into the company culture. Schedule team meetings over video at least once a week to promote team integration. – Rahul Varshneya, Benchpoint
5. Share information and insights.
Meetings keep remote teams synchronized and allow remote employees to take part in a dialogue with their colleagues. Collaboration and sharing are vital to a business's success. Without formal meetings, you can end up with a situation in which everyone works in their bubble and doesn't share information and insights with other team members. – Corey Northcutt, Northcutt Enterprise SEO
6. Use Slack and Standuply.
We use Slack at our company to keep our remote team organized and communicating. We also recently implemented a standup bot for Slack called Standuply. Standup messages each team member daily to get an update on what they're working on. The answers are all posted in a specific Slack channel and team members can keep up-to-date with what's going on across the board. – John Turner, SeedProd LLC
7. Leverage connectivity tools.
Making sure everyone is using the same connectivity tools and staying in touch with each other is ideal. We like using tools like Trello, Gmail and Skype to continually make sure we are all on the same page and that work is progressing nicely. It's great to use a platform like Trello, where everyone can comment and keep each other updated on where everyone is on a given task. – Zac Johnson, Blogger
8. Use Google Drive.
The most effective method that I've found for keeping remote team members organized is to have them update a shared document or spreadsheet on Google Drive. Comment chains, revision history and cloud storage are all features that come in handy when keeping all team members on the same page, regardless of their time zone or general hours of availability. – Bryce Welker, Crush The CPA Exam
9. Organize team retreats.
One way an employer can keep teams organized and communicating is to organize a team retreat. A team retreat can bring together remote employees, freelancers and in-house employees in a fun, relaxed environment. It's a great opportunity to brainstorm common goals together, connect and touch base. – Shu Saito, Godai Soaps
10. Keep leaders in the loop.
I always like to keep the leaders of each department aware of changes before they occur. Each person can then go to their smaller team and make changes or relay information as necessary. I also use weekly meetings with my team and sometimes multiple meetings every week with the leaders of each department so we can cover changes in real time. – Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner
11. Ask for responses.
Asking multiple outsourced teams to work together is already challenging; it is especially difficult if English is not their primary language. Asking all the team members to always respond that they have received an email as well as what they need to do (making sure that they understood the message) has helped me in the past. This prevented double work or redoing the work that has been done wrong. – Eugene Gold, WOW Payments LLC