Getting the best from a team in different places
Having a business spread over multiple locations is a sign of growth and success. It is also empowering for a manager to work with a large team with the same goals, though the logistics are not always completely straightforward.
With your staff spread out, it is not always easy to deal with problems or monitor efficiency and productivity in the same way. There are, however, many strategies you can use to make sure your business runs smoothly. Here are some tips on how to manage a team spread out over different locations.
Employ the right people
Not being there in person makes it even more difficult to assess how productive your team are being. Make sure you have chosen staff you can trust and who are able to self motivate. Due to limited face-to-face contact, they will also need to be able to use Skype, email, and instant chat to communicate their progress.
You will need to get the sense they are open and honest. This is difficult at the interview stage, but consider whether the person will give you an accurate picture of what is going on. Will they let you know of any problems as and when they happen, or will they hide them and try and sort them out themselves? You will want to know exactly what is happening and, if there are any problems, what is being done about them.
In the age of the internet, this is much simpler to do. With email and Skype, it’s easier than ever before to keep everyone well informed. Create a virtual community with your team and encourage them to interact with each other online. Make sure your presence is felt by communicating in the same way at the same time. You might send a daily email or a newsletter so staff are getting the same information at the same frequency. Make sure they come to expect contact from you.
Always respond to questions and queries as quickly as possible to make them feel valued. This will also make them more productive and able to get on with their job. Present yourself in person as often as you can.
Although this may require travelling, they will appreciate a team member more for making the effort to see in person how things are going.
Develop problem-solving and decision-making
As part of the teams’ professional development, it’s important for them to become more involved in putting forward ideas and collaborating with other team members, regardless of locations. Encourage the team to interact with each other openly and build inter-location relationships. This will create strength and problem-solving skills so issues can be dealt with effectively without necessarily involving you.
The last thing you will want is to be travelling huge distances to sort out issues that could have been dealt with by your team. Encourage them to let you know if something goes wrong but to think creatively around problems as a team and make decisions about the best course of action.
Praise and feedback where possible
With less face-to-face time with you, it is easy for morale and productivity to suffer. It’s therefore important to praise all staff for their achievements. Noticing even the smallest detail of what someone has achieved will go a long way in motivating employees. Give feedback regularly to everyone so they know they matter and you are aware of their efforts. They will need to know how they can improve, as well as what’s been good about their practice. Make sure you treat everyone equally and reward individuals in a consistent way.
Managing a team in different locations can be challenging but if you get the right people who can work independently and you can provide the right level of input, there are many benefits.
We work with businesses to achieve maximum productivity, wherever in the world your team is based. Our enterprise solutions bring teams closer together through collaboration and communication tools, cloud-based business systems, and innovative applications. For more information about what we can do for your, contact us online.
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