Managing a team is complicated and time-consuming, even when your subordinates are situated in a single centralised location. As companies expand across multiple countries or continents, the problem grows ever complex.
The demand for a virtual workforce remains on the rise due to the increasing number of businesses going global. People are no longer limited to their area when looking for jobs as recruiters search for talents regardless of location. However, these changes bring a mire of logistical issues.
We mentioned in a previous post that trust is hard-won in an environment where individuals don’t see each other. Building a culture is trickier as well, among other challenges of managing a remote team. When these problems aren’t handled well, productivity takes a dive as employee turnover rises.
Nothing can be done about the world’s reliance on technology but something can be done about managing your staff. Have a look at ways to get the best out of your workers when they’re working across different time zones below.
Touch base on a regular basis
As well-organised and perceptive your members may be, real-time communication remains invaluable. To ensure all are in agreement with company goals, take a proactive approach in scheduling regular meetings for reviewing progress and workloads.
Catch-ups help colleagues build rapport with each other and boost the team dynamic. However, finding a time that suits everyone might be difficult depending on where each person is located. Consider rotating it so there’s an equal amount of sacrifice to make it happen.
Ease the flow of information
You want to be available to all of your virtual employees. Since it’s not humanly possible to be present 24 hours a day, see to it that you are clear about what you’re expecting from them. Establishing goals and outlining activities for each week are necessary for this purpose.
To ensure everyone knows the deliverables and deadlines, create a centralised information hub. It should provide access to all key information related to their work. The solution that best suits your business, be it an internal blog or task management tool, depends on your needs and preferences.
Be mindful of presence disparity
When you’re using different channels to conduct meetings, you’ll eventually encounter a situation where some team members seem to be ignored because they’re on the phone while others are on video. This is what’s called the phenomenon of ‘presence disparity’.
To prevent individuals from feeling undervalued, make sure that everyone is included in the conversation. Small groups may conduct roll calls at every end of a meeting, for instance. A survey form might be sent out after when there are too many participants as well.
Show your appreciation often
Regardless of the time zone they are working in, your staff need to know they’re appreciated at the end of the day. It’s easy to forget to highlight achievements when you don’t see someone regularly. Remote engagement takes extra time and effort but it’s essential to keeping the team happy.
As for how to voice your appreciation, it can be as simple as an email of thanks or as grand as offering them a reward. Bring up their accomplishments on the group chat or in a company-wide newsletter. This boosts morale and encourages others to perform better too.
Develop a community culture
The current generation of workers are paying attention to more than just the salary and benefits. They’re also looking at the company community, values, and culture. They prefer to work with those who are in line with their personal thoughts and opinions.
While you’re unable to hold charity campaigns and other events to physically bring your members together under the same cause, provide them with opportunities to give their support online. For example: you can work with UNICEF and your staff can voluntarily donate a portion of their earnings as they wish.
Give them the resources they need
Don’t just give employees a list of the programs they need. As much as possible, provide access to the tools yourself. Share the link where they can download the software or access it through cloud. Sign them up for the service and tell them their access details later and so on.
Consider training a resource you must provide for your employees as well. There are plenty of websites that offer courses or certifications relevant to their field. They’re worth investing on as stronger members make for a better team, after all.
Make things light sometimes
Work is something that people should take seriously. However, it shouldn’t be mandatory to maintain an air of professionalism at all times. Remote work already feels isolating and lonely without you adding to it. You must give them a chance to develop friendships too.
Allow them to create a channel where they can talk about their personal experiences, jokes they heard, struggles with work, or even a cute cat video. Everyone needs a time to relax and take their mind off their assignments for a few minutes so they can recharge their batteries.
All Things Said
Thanks to the various tools and solutions at your disposal, managing a remote team in different time zones is far less complicated than it appears. You can see that there’s really no reason to hesitate to build a virtual workforce instead of an office-based one.
If you’re in need of help in recruiting top talent to add to your team, allow us at Remote Workmate to be of service. Unlike freelancing marketplaces where you do everything yourself, we handle the heavy lifting for you, including recruitment and payroll.
Let’s talk about your requirements for a virtual worker.