The Double-edged Sword of Remote Teams
June 19th, 2017
The bottom line? Yes, in the throes of the beginning stages of business start up, you will likely cave to the whim of the remote employee option. And yes, it will be because it is more cost effective, but how will it affect your team management skills?
The truth: it’s a challenge. But with proper management, the utilization of remote workers is most definitely a recommended tactic for small businesses just getting their feet on the ground.
The same way an online store cuts down on brick and mortar overhead costs, remote workers are usually contract based, are hourly or retainer based, and best of all, are specialists in their hired area.
One of the most difficult challenges of the start up phase is that pivotal point in which the owner realizes they just simply cannot take on any more responsibility, yet, the need for those responsibilities is becoming more and more demanding.
Let’s use copy writing as an example, as most small businesses start to see the need for copy in the earlier stages of business plan, marketing plan and website development.
Okay, yes, you can develop the copy. But as it is likely one of 100 other tasks on your daily agenda, its non-urgent nature will usually cause it to be placed on the back burner more than one day in a row.
Hiring a remote employee, who’s purpose is to complete specific and time- designated, deadline-related tasks is a great way to hand off work that will otherwise fall to the bottom of the pile.
The challenge when you have several remote employees on at once is certainly communication related, as well as what is seen as the lack of “community”.
Remote workers often need to feel included more so than those on-site. They may like weekly check ins, though brief, they will be worthwhile. It’s important not to forget they are out there, consider having remote employees work in the office one or two days a month to encourage the feeling of being part of a team.
With the multitude of web-based options for communication, a simple Skype meeting may be sufficient or the utilization of a product such as Constant Contact, which keeps regular information circulating through a group via email. Utilize instant messaging systems and chat groups to communicate as well.
All in all, it will take some getting used to- but the value of remote working capabilities is being validated more and more these days.