NextStep has been functioning as a remote team since its relaunch in January 2016. Greg Prudhommeaux and Joe Constanty serves as its heads and a team of creatives located in Shanghai and Manila is behind its content. Despite differences in time zones and our nomadic lifestyles, we still get the work done.
Five Tips on Managing Remote Teams

Here are some of our tips on how we make it work.

1. Clarify your purpose.

Each project must have SMART goals. Once that is set, it is important to make sure everyone in the team is on the same page. That way it is easier for the team to move towards the goals and even exceed expectations. It’s also important to measure the performance of the team to see what needs improvement.

2. Select the right people for the job

Choosing the right people is the key to your projects’ success. On top of the skills, one thing to consider when hiring team members is their attitude about work. Get people who are self-starters, flexible and are results-driven. So how do you find the right people? Hire people based on their specialties. Find people who love what they do, and pay them well to do their work. It also helps to do a test run of the tasks and see how they will fare.

3. Choose your tools

Online tools and mobile apps make it easier for remote teams to be on the same page. It’s now easier for teams to create, share and track a project’s progress through these tools. These tools help teams to build camaraderie through regular communication. It is also easier to choose tools for your needs based on online reviews and recommendations. Here’s a list of the top tools for remote workers and mobile teams as curated by Fast Company.

4. Choose the right communication style for your team.

Working remotely increases the risk of missing instructions, so it’s vital for you and your team to agree on how you are to communicate. This is where apps like WeChat, Slack, and Trello come in handy. Managers can leave voice messages or texts and even create chat rooms for instructions. Team members can also collaborate on ideas here. You can attach files, give feedback, and follow-up on tasks all in one place. This will help make sure that the tasks get done by the right people right on schedule.

5. Encourage ownership of the tasks at hand.

It pays to build a culture of ownership among your team, especially if some of them are working remotely. This empowers your team to take charge of their own work and increase their efficiency. It helps grow your team’s loyalty and the desire to achieve the targets you set. It allows your team members to grow their skills and resolve issues on their own. This gives you more time as a manager to tackle the tasks that matter most.

Though some are contesting how effective remote teams are, its efficiency cannot be denied. Remote teams are disrupting the way we do business. It also brings changes in the traditional workforce. More companies are now experimenting with shorter work hours for increased productivity. Some are even promoting flexible hours to their team members, especially for parents. In the end, it all comes down to trust between the employer and employee in working towards their goals.

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Herlene Somook is a creative entrepreneur and freelance writer based in Manila, Philippines. A graduate of AB Psychology, she was a Kumon Reading teacher for five years before jumping ship to the Business Process Outsourcing Industry, where she gained experience in Inbound Sales, Technical Support, Outbound Services, Lead Generation and Marketing. Today, she spends her time as the Head Writer and Content Strategist for NextStep Hub. She loves reading bedtime stories to her toddler son.