Working remotely was once a nice dream for many, but in recent years it has become a reality. In fact, during the COVID-19 pandemic, remote work has become the norm in many industries. For some companies, the pandemic was the push they needed to embrace a more efficient and productive business model. For other companies, it was the only way to maintain productivity and output, and stay afloat in a volatile business landscape.

No matter the reason why your company embraced remote work, though, there’s no denying that this is a golden opportunity to take your brand forward. To thrive on the remote work business model, you need to focus heavily on building and managing a thriving employee collective. 

Of course, managing distributed and decentralized teams is easier said than done, but there are some concrete steps you can take to optimize this process across the board. Here are the top tips that will help you and your distributed teams thrive in the new normal.

Hire and onboard the right people

To start, your first order of business should be to optimize your hiring process and streamline onboarding to create a seamless experience for everyone involved. When it comes to hiring for remote job positions, you have to be very meticulous in your search, you have to know your exact needs, and you have to have a set of goals in mind. 

To that end, make sure to:

  • Identify the positions you want filled.
  • Set goals for every position and team.
  • Identify the online places where you can find the best talent.
  • Analyze your target demographic to create an appealing offer.
  • Be transparent and provide all the information a potential applicant needs.
  • Be as detailed as possible in describing the requirements and job position.
  • Rethink your interviews and aim to streamline the process. 

Once you have set up an efficient hiring process, you optimize your onboarding. This requires, in part, automation, but also smart leadership.

Be sure to:

  • Automate onboarding with tutorials, videos, and a personalized welcome pack.
  • Use the buddy system to pair a newcomer to a veteran in your company for faster onboarding.
  • Provide continuous support and guidance during that crucial period.

Build and optimize your communication strategy

Efficient and effective communication is the basis of a productive team, and a productive organization. In the new normal, however, where remote work has become the norm, good communication can mean the difference between success and failure. Your top priority should be to build a communication strategy for your remote teams, and continuously optimize your communication processes.

To do this, it’s important to integrate a unified communication system like VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) to allow for seamless national and international communication between teams. You should also integrate a project management tool that allows everyone to work seamlessly in the cloud. 

That said, it’s not just about the tech – you also need a good communication hierarchy. A communication hierarchy dictates how people in your organization communicate vertically and horizontally, and it will allow you to keep data flowing efficiently without delays or bottlenecks.

Engage with and monitor your teams

It should go without saying that managing distributed teams demands continuous oversight, engagement, and communication. You can’t expect your remote teams to operate at their best without your direct input, so you need to implement a tool that will give you real-time oversight of your entire operation.

Some of the top employee engagement tools in the online world provide real-time visibility for all employees and allow you to stay connected through a number of channels. The tool you choose should also allow you to connect with employees quickly but also post team-wide announcements through virtual notice boards. In essence, make sure to use a tool that allows you and your team leaders to stay in the know and interact with your employees no matter where they are.

Generate reports and act on employee feedback

To run your business like a well-oiled machine through a remote workforce, it’s important that you collect relevant data, generate detailed reports, and use them to optimize your processes. Remember, it’s about continuous improvement and optimization, so you need to leverage the data from your employee engagement tool, but also ask for regular and honest feedback from your team members.

Inspire the people in your company to voice their concerns and provide any positive or negative feedback they might have. After all, it’s never a critique of your leadership and management – it’s an opportunity to improve and take your company to the next level.

Nurture a performance-driven culture

One of the biggest challenges leaders face nowadays is building a positive company culture on a remote work model. Whether you’re building a new employee collective remotely or if you were forced to embrace remote work when the pandemic struck, there’s no denying that the culture is the first thing to take a hit when people start working from home.

Culture is also the foundation of a happy and productive business, and it will make your job much easier in the long run. To that end, be sure to:

  • Communicate with employees daily.
  • Open one-on-one communication channels to devote your time to the individual.
  • Connect with employees to talk about them, their well-being, and their needs.
  • Nurture the right values in your business.
  • Put your employees first in these trying times and give them a sense of security.

Wrapping up

Managing distributed teams can be a nightmare, but it can also be a rewarding process – it depends on your approach and the solutions you use. Take these tips to heart in order to create a better management plan and boost productivity and happiness in your company. 

Posted by Elaine Bennett

Elaine Bennett is an Australian-based digital marketing specialist focused on helping startups and small businesses grow. She writes hands-on articles about business and marketing, as it allows her to reach even more people and help them on their business journey.