4 Ways You Can be a Superstar to Your Remote Team Using Cloud Collaboration

by Michael Fiorenza on May 3, 2016

The hallmarks of a well-managed remote team are soaring productivity levels, untethered creativity, and boundless motivation. The tell-tale signs of a poorly-managed remote team are unwillingness to meet deadlines, inability to act as team players, and lagging productivity levels. Of course, smart hiring is essential to build a great team with true potential. But even the best workers need to be well supervised through cloud collaboration, phone calls, and other online resources. The trick is delivering enough structure and discipline to keep them from going rogue, but not so much that it stifles their motivation or creativity. Here's how you can rock that balancing act out.

1. Provide Structure Without Stifling Creativity

You want to provide enough structure that workers don't blow off the rules, but you can't deliver so much structure that you kill their ability to remain creative and innovative.

This is a matter of setting expectations and goals, and then leaving enough flexibility in the processes to let them feel somewhat autonomous. They need to want to please you, but they also need to want to please themselves. Structure means that it's not okay to let a deadline slip by, to be disrespectful to anyone else in the organization, or to turn in poor quality work. Flexibility means that it doesn't matter whether you do the work at 8 a.m. or 3 a.m., it's fine if your cat is sitting on your laptop during the morning video meeting, and nobody cares whether you prefer to work on a Mac, a PC, or with a yellow crayon.

2. Focus on Results More Than How They Got There

Which leads directly into the next point. Remote teams need goals to achieve and expectations to meet. What is less important is how they got there. By utilizing this type of workforce, you are able to leverage the entrepreneurial spirit that is usually reserved for only small businesses. It delivers tremendous potential for innovation, even in the largest organizations. However, for that innovative spirit to soar, you have to be willing to focus on the results, not necessarily the 'how', and be sure to do lots of back-patting when good ideas or insights are delivered. Workers today are as interested in getting credit and appreciation for their efforts and talents as they are in getting just a paycheck. (Well, almost as interested.)

3. Hold Regular Pow Wows

It's easy for remote teams to start feeling like they aren't a real part of the organization. That's why, even when there isn't important business at hand to discuss, you still need regular meetings, just to touch base. Ask about projects, client communications, or the weather in Des Moines, but definitely have chat or video chat meetings regularly. Optimally, you can touch base with your remote workers once per day, but if that isn't possible, at least make a point to pow-wow once per week. Additionally, hold monthly or quarterly meetings to discuss what goals have been met, the quality of the work being performed, upcoming goals that need to be met, and other pressing matters that are of long-term importance. Annual or semi-annual reviews are as important for the remote worker as for those working in your offices.

4. Learn to Leverage Effective Long-Distance Communication via Cloud Collaboration

Cloud collaboration tools create a virtual paper trail of the ongoing work, projects, goals established, goals met, and other critical factors for managing a remote team.

How and when you communicate with remote workers is also important. It's easy to rely on a disjointed series of phone calls, text messages, video chats, and the occasional face-to-face, but these communications leave no paper trail to follow to track and evaluate progress over time. It's also quite easy for things to slip between the cracks when some of the notes are in email, others on a text message, and still more never recorded because it was while you were talking. Cloud collaboration establishes a clear and traceable trail of communications, and assures that all of the remote workers (as well as their supervisor) are always working with the most current document versions available.

To learn more about cloud collaboration and how it can work for you and your remote team, come see our customer success stories.

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