Having Clients all around Europe and entering new markets outside of it, the decision about shifting into having a remote team was a no brainer for Magic Mondayz. The question was however, how to approach this process to make sure our efficiency and daily team dynamics won’t suffer due to the shift.
We took some time to do our research and talked to entrepreneurs who have succeeded growing their international remote teams, to find out best practices that would help us ensure a smooth transition. We got some great inspiration throughout the process and understood that managing a remote team doesn’t need to be complicated, if you follow some simple guidelines.
Today, our team is spread across 5 different countries (Malta, Estonia, Finland, Spain and Bulgaria). We keep growing and hope to add more locations in the future.
Looking at the current trends, we believe that more and more companies might decide to let go of the old-fashioned office work and look for alternatives. Is your company considering the shift? Check out the list of steps our team followed during our transition into remote work. Hopefully, you’ll be able to apply some for them to your business model.
Document your processes
Big chunk of companies considering remote working are start-ups. Being a small company, you might not necessarily have all processes in place.
We realized quite early on that process documentation is crucial for efficient business operations, especially when running a remote team. It takes time to get it in place but once you do, you’ll be thankful to yourself on a daily basis J
Update your hiring policy
Transitioning to remote work is also connected with reviewing your hiring process. When Magic Mondayz first started hiring Remote Recruiters, we were overwhelmed with the amount of applications. Everyone, wants to work from under a palm tree, right?
The question you need to ask yourself as a Hiring Manager, is what exactly are you looking for and how will you determine if the candidate has the right soft skills to thrive in a remote working environment? Many companies use pre-employment assessment tools to find the right fit. New trend that becomes more and more popular are also paid trail periods for candidates who make it to the final interview stages.
Define your tools
Making sure that your team is connected, can manage the projects remotely and has access to all information, shared docs etc. is obviously a priority. With the technology available out there, finding the right tools that enable you to manage it, shouldn’t be a problem. However, it’s important to spend some time to make sure you pick the right once that really match your business needs, the first time around. Changing a software, you’ve been using for a while is always a pain ;)
Some of our recommendations are listed below.
Project and Time Management
Sharing document and files
Plan the onboarding and further training
Onboarding of remote employees is a quite unique process J
So far, we have decided to stick to a face to face onboarding because we believe it gives our new starters the opportunity to get a better feel of the company culture and our values before moving to the remote set-up.
However, we know of many businesses that do the onboarding and training completely remotely too, using prerecorded training sessions and video calls. Having a well-documented processes and training materials, remote training is definitely doable.
Ensure a smooth communication / maintain high productivity
There are many apps out there that can help you keep in touch with your colleagues. You can of course also use video conferencing to add that personal touch when chatting with clients or other team members. Overall, the daily communication is usually not a big struggle.
But how do we make sure that the team actually delivers, while working remotely? When it comes to maintaining high productivity, technology is your best friend. Check out the PM tools listed above, some of them might help you tract how much you or your team accomplishes during the day and might help you spot the possible problems/destructions. By monitoring the data from every week, you will be able to define yourself, how to improve your efficiency while working remotely and your colleagues can do the same without having to be micro managed.
Build a fun working culture
Don’t forget about your company culture when building a remote team. It’s extremely important that the team members associate themselves with the brand and the team even though they’re not sharing one office. Go ahead and try to find ways to connect your team, not only on matters related to work.
Set up goals team goals with great awards like company trips to boost the productivity and add a fun element to accomplishing targets together.
Also, everyday fun is extremely important to build good relationships between the team members. We like our 15 minute Skype workout sessions in the afternoons where all team members are just moving from their desks and are being silly while practicing Yoga poses but honestly, anything can work. Be creative and make an extra effort to keep the fun atmosphere in the team on a daily basis.
Eliminate the “micro-management” mindset
Micro Management is incredibly hard while working remotely but also completely unnecessary. All you need instead are structured processes, clear goals and TRUST.
Trust your team, give everyone room to grow and make mistakes and your remote business will definitely do great.