The infrastructure needed to run a company is probably the biggest and most complex expense that a business needs to invest in. The central part of it used to be an office from which most of the work was done. Lately, there’s less of a need for it, because remote teams are becoming more prevalent. That means that smaller businesses with a much narrower budget can get their foot in the door as well.
Managing a remote team is still as difficult as running a traditional office. It will require you to develop an understanding of both the office dynamic and the tools needed to run such an unusual office.
Clear lines of communication
The biggest challenged to running such a team is that it might take some time to get in contact with particular members, there are issues in running a company when time is of the essence. Clear lines of communication will help solve this problem early on, and set up a system for dealing with in office communication in an orderly way.
At the same time, you need to consider emergencies early on, before any of them ever happen. You should be able to contact your team or members of it right away, when you need to, just like they live just around the corner.
Every now and then even a remote company needs to have some meetings and to discuss something with clients face to face. When this happens, you’ll need to present the company in a professional and mature fashion which is sometimes difficult for a business with employees scattered across the world and no real offices.
Renting a shared office space might be a solution to this problem. It’s less expensive than buying one and you get to use it only for meetings and events. It’s still, however, useful to make sure it’s an office that can support the tech infrastructure you need.
Keeping track of progress
One of the things that get a bit blurred when you’re working remotely is how to keep track of team progress. It often becomes disorganized and relies on the amount of time logged in, which is the easiest to quantify. However, anyone who has managed a company knows how unreliable that metric is.
You’ll need to set up a system of team reviews that include peer reviews. It needs to be comprehensive, and easy to go through because that’s the only way to get a more accurate image of how things are done on the ground level.
Promote from within
The easiest way to disrupt a company culture is to appoint a manager for the remote team that’s coming from without (and often from abroad). It sometimes feels as if the team is run by someone who doesn’t know anyone involved or understands the team dynamic. Where ever you can, you should designate managers from within.
At the same time, that means that those managers need to feel like a part of the home base and be in contact with your main team as an equal and integral part of it.
Managing a remote team may require a few additional tools and additional skills but for the most part the same rules apply as with any other office. It’s important however, to still have a physical space for meetings every now and then.