If you’re on our website and looking for flexspace, we’re guessing you either have a small business, or work remote. You may even work remotely and manage your own remote team. If so, this article is for you.
Keeping a remote team on track is not that different from keeping a local team focused and moving in the same direction. You need trust, communication, clear guidelines, and focused feedback. To this list, add flexibility, a healthy sense of humor, and your favorite messaging app, and you have the basic building blocks of a successful remote work experience.
When you built your team, you likely knew exactly what role you expected each member to fill. Trust and communication flow naturally when each team member knows what is expected from them, and what they can count on each other to do. This means job descriptions and guidelines are essential, and they must be thorough. In other words, start by making sure your team knows what to do, then step back and trust them to do it.
It shouldn’t surprise you to learn that once you have trust and communication down, feedback comes naturally. Even negative feedback will be well received, and in fact, will be more effective than if you have to nag someone who has no respect for, and trust in, you. A good way to deliver negative feedback is to “sandwich” it. Start with something good before you hit them with the bad. Then, once that’s done, slide in another positive attribute before you adjourn. This way you assure your team members that not only are they important and valued, but also that you can be counted on to come alongside them to assist with whatever growth and change is needed to keep the team moving forward.
Finally, to implement all this, you need to choose a messaging platform. Some of the most widely known are Slack, Discord, and Asana. Each has its own attributes, and you might pick more than one.
For basic communication and link sharing, it’s hard to beat Slack. Once you load the app on your phone, you can join numerous teams, including work, nonprofit groups, study groups, even families use Slack to stay connected and on top of everyone’s schedules. Not only can you instant message an entire group at once, you can also send private messages, share links, and upload GIFS and memes to keep things fun and engaging.
If you have multiple projects with multiple moving parts and far-flung team members, Asana is the way to go. Here you can upload completed content, create calendars, and set up reminders with due-dates. It’s endlessly flexible and customizable, and as long as you remember to tag everyone who needs to be included, you’ll never miss another deadline again.
Lastly, if you like to talk and share screens while you work, try setting up a Discord server. (It’s not as scary as you may have been led to believe, and no, your server cannot be accessed by random strangers.) Once you log on and create your space, you're ready to send invitations to your team, pop on your headphones, and get down to work.
It doesn’t matter if you found yourself leading a remote team by accident, or by design, the same tools and techniques are used no matter why you are working apart. As with any team, it will take time to get comfortable with each other, but once you get your routines and processes down, you’ll find productivity is at its peak when you trust your team, communicate clearly, stay flexible and fun, and use the right tools.