Consider this hypothetical scenario, which by the way is not uncommon in today’s outsourcing economy:
“I own an apparel retail e-Commerce start-up and to launch my website, I engaged web developers from India and Singapore, designers from Croatia, and SEO professionals from Los Angeles, USA. The whole process involved a fair degree of remote team management and I pulled through with Skype calls, chats, Face Time, and a few other tools“.
Sounds familiar? Well, you are not alone.
According to the Workforce 2020 global survey, 83% of businesses plan to increase their use of consultants or intermittent employees by 2020. The gig economy trend is giving way to a border less workforce as companies increasingly hire contractual employees with specialized skills in their bid to expand globally. But remote team management comes with its own pressing challenges, especially because companies lack clear policies to manage and evaluate virtual workers. Here are three tips to help you get it right:
#1 Make collaboration your differentiator, not problem: When physical communication is out of question, how do you still compensate for that to ensure your workers have a team sense and shared goals/experiences? Thanks to technology, you can leverage and experiment with a variety of workplace collaboration tools, some of which are free for small teams. Some good examples include Slack, Trello, Zoom and Skype (for video conferencing), and many others. Encourage team members to chat – personally as well professionally by scheduling ‘team calls’ (these could be at any common time for a geographically dispersed team) where people just share not only work-related discussions but also just about anything – from weather, festivals, cultures, to day-to-day peeves. It is worth the investment as a strong team is the foundation for any business.
#2 Go beyond goals and roles – clearly define deliverables, processes, and timelines
In a virtual work setting, simply sharing goals and job roles and expecting team members to share your vision or understand expectations is like asking for too much. The success of any outsourcing exercise depends on perfecting the art of delegation – simplifying tasks to a granular level so each worker has a crystal clear understanding of who does what, when, and why. Remember, micro-managing your team can have its pitfalls but the significance of periodic reviews cannot be overstated in the case of virtual teams – these help track performance, fine-tune processes, and identify training needs for on-job skills.
#3 Hire people with a ‘virtual work philosophy’: Not everyone is fit to work in a virtual setup or even has the space and basic equipment to do so. Leverage professional personality tests to identify the right team leaders and members. Once you have a good team in place, focus on retaining talent – the Workforce 2020 survey revealed that 84% of U.S. employees seek competitive compensation, 75% want retirement plans, and 62% would be happier with more vacation time. Merit-based and relevant rewards make for sticky magnets to keep employees focussed and glues to their jobs longer.
Having a virtual team with experts from various parts of the world has its own benefits if you do it right, but today we have outsourcing firms that provide virtual corporate assistants as Full Time Employees (FTEs) so the recruitment, training, employee programs, setting / following processes, performance reviews, rewards and benefits, etc. are taken care of by them. Collaborating with and managing the virtual team becomes much easier this way too.
If you are looking to work with a professional remote team for your administrative, hiring Habiliss’ corporate administrative virtual assistants would be well worth your money and time. What’s more – you can also avail a 5% to 10% corporate discount on bulk subscriptions. Creating more time and resources for your organization by outsourcing administration was never this easy!