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9 Strategies for Building a Strong Remote Team

Position your out-of-office employees for success

Businesses are hiring remote employees at an increasing rate to keep up with new demands, as job applicants seek remote positions for the flexible schedule, decreased commute time and opportunity for a stronger work-life balance. 

As remote teams continue to rise in popularity, however, some businesses are still resisting the movement. Why? The idea of remote employees is a relatively new concept that often requires a different type of management style. However, creating and building a strong remote team requires similar skills that most managers already utilize with on-site employees.

Consider these nine tips to build a strong remote employee team:

1. Conduct proper interviews
It is vital to hold multiple interviews during the initial hiring process to identify the candidates’ communication capabilities. Well-rounded communication skills are essential strengths for remote employees. These interviews can be via telephone, video and email. After completing each portion, identify and hire candidates that are capable of communicating effectively in all three areas.

2. Create a training schedule
Set a training schedule at the beginning of employment and share it with every team member. A schedule provides the new employee opportunity to learn from a variety of people and the chance to meet multiple members of the team. It also provides the on-site team insight into what their new colleague is learning.

Worker On A Phone Call

3. Hold daily or weekly meetings
Consistent communication should be a top priority when managing remote employees. Meet daily or weekly, depending on the type of tasks your employees do. These meetings can be held via video or teleconferencing, and give you and the remote employee a chance to discuss projects, struggles and goals.

4. Trust your remote teams
Trust remote employees in the same way you do on-site employees. Little or no trust leads to micromanagement. When a manager has little trust, other team members will become skeptical of the productivity and value of the remote employee. This skepticism can cause a rift in the team atmosphere and lead to decreased productivity and collaboration.

5. Set expectations
Remote employees need to know what is expected of them. An outline of expectations will address appropriate work hours, meeting attendance requirements, project deadlines and expected daily communication.

6. Measure results
Once your remote employee sets goals, make an effort to track and measure the results. If a remote employee is not meeting their objectives, they should provide you with an explanation and plan to fix the problem.

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7. Be responsive
It’s important to respond quickly to emails and phone calls. Since your remote employees are off-site and cannot actively see what is happening in the office, the delayed response times can make them feel ignored or unimportant.

8. Acknowledge their accomplishments
It is easier to pass praise and give compliments to employees in the office than to those you’re not seeing in-person every day. Make it a priority to acknowledge the accomplishments of your remote employees to make them feel valued.

9. Promote team building
Building relationships among colleagues is an essential part of a positive and motivated work environment. Make efforts to build a rapport with remote employees and encourage other team members to do the same. Ask remote employees to join a conference call early or create a common place for team members to share life updates (i.e. a Facebook group page or group messaging) to build these relationships.

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