Tech Tips for Remote Team Management
Remote work can be either the hottest buzzword or the most difficult to understand depending on the industry. Companies can use distributed teams to cross geographical boundaries in their search for top talent. However, it also means that they have to make accommodations that traditional brick-and-mortar businesses might not consider.
These are some digital daring ideas to keep your employees happy and productive, whether you are thinking of allowing them to work remotely or if you already have a distributed team.
1. Creativity is key to cultivating your community
It’s a little different to establish a central culture among employees who are geographically dispersed than just chatting around a water cooler. It’s actually better. Trello’s office manager sends a birthday cake right to each remote employee. Sometimes this means a wild goose chase to find a cheesecake bakery in remote parts of the Midwest. It’s worth it when the employee uploads a photo to Slack to share it with the rest of their team.
Remote culture is all about making sure remote coworkers get along, even if they aren’t working on the same project. Our Trello recruiting coordinator randomly matches us with another employee each week. We spend half an hour together, often via video, getting to know each other. The conversation is then summarized on a central Trello board, so that other members of the team can join in by commenting on each card. This exercise was a huge success with many remote workers reporting how connected they feel because they had the opportunity to get to know each other.
2. Get rid of email
If your team is distributed you are heavily relying on digital communication to accomplish all. Pro tip: ditch email. I know! It sounds impossible. It sounds impossible. But think about how many email chains have become convoluted and messy and made it less productive for you and your team.
Trello uses Trello to communicate, discuss and comment on ideas. Project management software can be a great alternative for email. In fact, Capterra’s Project Management User Research Report found that most project managers said that project management software improved their team communication, including final product quality, customer satisfaction, and the ability to meet deadlines.
3. Make their office an extension of your office
Remote team members require the same support as a HQ office to be successful. To create a productive work environment, it is important to provide basic office equipment such as a desk, chair, and computer equipment for your coworkers. Even if they aren’t physically present, investing in their space makes them feel invested in your company.
It is imperative to provide remote workers with IT support in troubleshooting. Their workspace is not isolated! They shouldn’t be burdened by a lack of resources to solve technical problems just because they work on their own. Trello uses an IT Support Board to handle technical requests. In fact, the IT engineer who responds to incoming tickets is remote!
4. Be flexible across the board Period.
Technology is quite advanced these days, but it doesn’t come without its pitfalls. Some project managers fear relying on the internet to meet with their team, but it’s not a problem. It’s important to keep your options open. We at Trello are well-known for conducting interviews and meetings via Google Hangout, appear.in or Skype.
Cross-team communication is important. Be aware of time zones. It is reasonable to expect that all employees from all time zones will work together at least for a portion of the time.