6 Tips for Managing Your Team of Digital Nomads
In an increasingly digitally interconnected world, it’s no surprise that remote work is becoming more and more popular. But while being a digital nomad offers conveniences not found in traditional employment settings, it’s not without its own challenges. Managing long-distance relationships between employers and employees can get a little tough. Without the stable benefits of a traditional workplace, managers need to go the extra mile in ensuring that their remote teams can still deliver the goods.
Hold regular meetings
It’s best to hold regular meetings through the best remote communication channels you have available to you. An article from Get In Lighthouse reports that video chats best mimic face-to-face interactions, as you can observe non-verbal cues and tone of voice to aid communication. Having these meetings gives everyone an opportunity to simply talk to each other both formally and informally, which improves relationships between team members. Also, consider checking-in over chat channels sometime during the workday to make sure that everyone is on the same page or to address any issues.
Engage your team members
Given that the traditional means of engaging with your team are unavailable to remote workers, it’s important to make extra effort to ensure that team members feel included and duly engaged. In fact,Yoss reports that remote teams are less engaged than in-office workers, leading to a higher turnover rate for remote employees — something that no business wants. Hold one-on-one talks with your employees, do what you can to help them with both work-related and non-work-related issues, and build rapport with them whenever possible. This rapport builds trust, and will aid you in working through any issues with remote employees.
Use time-tracking tools
One effective way to manage your team is by using a time-tracking tool — it keeps your employees on track, informs you about what projects are being worked on, and increases overall team productivity. Moreover, given that not everybody has the discipline needed to continuously work on their own, having a time-tracking tool will ensure focus by keeping everyone mindful of their own progress. In fact, WebWork claim that time-tracking is most beneficial for people working at home, as it helps in eliminating distractions.
Focus on goals, not activity
When managing a remote team, it’s important to set manageable and clear goals that everyone can follow. However, Donald Hatter points out that it’s important to manage your expectations – part of managing a skilled team from different parts of the world is trusting that they will get the job done when you need them to. If goals are not being met, address the situation. Otherwise, concentrate on what is getting accomplished, rather than how or when it’s being done.
To keep things running smoothly, have a centralised source of information and make sure it’s organised. Our article on ‘How to Own the Monster of Time Management’ emphasises that keeping your digital clutter organised can help with time management. Delete unnecessary files, and split data into easily identifiable folders that are available any time to anyone who needs it. By doing this, it increases both efficiency and productivity, and reduces the chances of any “missing” files hindering employee output.
Have an on-boarding strategy
Helping a new employee settle into a remote team is difficult, as traditional in-office methods such as introduction parties or ‘tea breaks’ aren’t available. If your team is spread throughout the world, consider assigning mentors to new hires, or create 30 or 60-day calendar plans that can maximise productivity and slowly integrate them into the company. For teams who are within the same city, meet in person with your new employee on their first day, or hold monthly meetings to introduce them and allow them to maintain engagement with their co-workers. Regardless of where your employees are in the world, define the work process step-by-step, and address any concerns they may have to ensure a smooth transition into your workforce. Overall, eliminating potential obstacles and roadblocks is necessary for your remote-team to remain efficient. Remember that not all remote businesses operate the same way, so finding out what works best for you is a journey to undertake as you aim for maximum productivity. While it’s a difficult path, the challenges it brings can benefit not just the business, but the relationship between you and your team of digital nomads as well.