The six strategies explained in this article can help you keep your team engaged, updated, and productive. That way, you can ensure that they continually deliver great results on time.
Table of Contents
- 1. Set Clear Goals
- 2. Break Projects Into Smaller Tasks
- 3. Foster Two-Way Communication
- 4. Motivate
- 5. Leverage Technology
- 6. Encourage Collaboration
- Wrapping Up
Having a remote team can have numerous advantages. You can be available to clients across multiple deadlines, reduce overhead costs, and take advantage of international exchange rates to hire great talent at a big discount. These all help you be more competitive in a globalized world.
However, there are also potential pitfalls to avoid. When working in a physical office together, it is easier to stay on task and meet your deadlines. Luckily, there are some proven strategies to mitigate this.
In this article, we will cover six tips that help you and your team win the game of delivering great work on time.
Without further ado, let’s get started:
Every great organization needs to have solid goals to keep them on track. If you don’t have clear goals set from the start, your team might meander through their work. This leads to missed deadlines and lost clients.
But there is an art to setting great goals. Namely, they should be SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based):
Vague goals are insufficient and even dangerous. The problem with not having a specific goal set for your team is that they can never know when they have truly finished a task or project — and neither can you.
As an example, a vague goal would be to “improve customer service.” While this is a nice mission statement, it doesn’t actually give you much to work with.
A better and more specific goal would be “maintain a satisfaction rating higher than 4.5 out of 5 stars.” This achieves the purpose of providing better customer service and gives you a specific target to aim for.
Specificity is power because it allows your team members to have closure and move onto the next task quickly, boosting productivity.
If you can’t measure something, you can’t manage it. Make sure that you have measurable criteria to determine whether you have achieved a goal or not.1
Better yet, have metrics that you can track along the way to make sure you’re moving in the right direction. With the goal mentioned above, it could be in the form of tracking how quickly your customer service agents are responding to emails.
Additionally, you could watch whether your feedback rating is going up over time. If you can’t document your progress, you don’t have a measurable goal.
It’s perfect to aim high. But you need realistic goals and milestones along the way. For instance, if you have a company doing $1MM in revenue yearly, it’s not likely that you’ll get to $10MM the next year.
The importance of attainable goals is keeping your team motivated and checked into their work. If they feel like a goal is too big to attack, they may start procrastinating.
You can learn a lot by studying other successful businesses. But, at the end of the day, any goals that you set need to be tailored to your unique business and market. This may take some deep reflection, but it will save you time in the long run.
If there is no specific deadline attached to a goal, then it isn’t SMART. If there is no timeline for completion, you can’t assign responsibility to any single person on your time, including yourself. They can just punt it down the line to next month, next quarter, or next year indefinitely. By making your goals specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based, you can grow your business faster and meet deadlines consistently.
Once you have your SMART goals defined, you still aren’t out of the woods. It will require multiple projects along the way that you will need to manage. However, you can’t “do” a project. You can only do single actions (tasks) that move the project along toward completion.
As an example, you don’t “do” a website redesign. You do the preliminary research. You create a budget. You hold a brainstorming meeting. You receive initial mockups from the designer, etc.
Break down the individual steps into smaller bite-sized chunks so your team can have exact actions defined and get more done in less time. If in doubt, always simplify the step. At first, it might seem like you are breaking it down to a ridiculous level. Eventually, you will reach a balance that suits your teams’ needs.
You want to avoid simply being a megaphone for your team. Sending out emails or updates on your project management software is all well and good. But at the end of the day, you need everyone communicating with each other to make it work. Think of ways you can engage your team in two-way communication. Perhaps you can create a protocol wherein you receive daily updates. The frequency can be whatever you choose, whether that’s monthly, weekly, or more often.
The point of this is to make sure you have a pulse on how your team is doing. Also, it helps you know if you need to jump in and help them finish a project.
Keep in mind that deadlines are not just the responsibility of the individual team member, but yours as well.
Everyone has their own internal level of motivation. For some, it is higher, while others may need that extra push at times.
Consider a personality test when hiring to feel out who may need extra help staying motivated. Then, make sure you are using best practices to inspire and motivate your team. One way to motivate people is to use appreciation and praise. When an employee knows that you value their contribution, it encourages them to work harder and longer.
You can also use gamification, which relies on psychology to make working more fun and mentally rewarding. Examples of gamification include designing your training to have a badge system or scheduling rewards for certain milestones reached within your company.
Finally, consider investing in seminars and other work-related events. Professional speakers are experts at motivating others. Every dollar you spend on such events could boost your bottom line many times over.
There is a vast array of technology available to companies today. Use project management and other software to speed up your workflow. Here are some essential tools to consider:
There are certain visual cues, such as body language and facial expressions, that make communication easier and faster than typing via text.
With the variety of free and low-cost video call software, there is no excuse not to use this for your remote team if your projects require in-depth conversations.
Project Management Software
Every remote team should use some kind of project management tool. It helps the entire team stay in communication, give updates, and chat informally to build team chemistry. You can have different boards for each project, and chat rooms for sales, customer service, and other roles.
Time Tracking Software
If you have hourly employees on your team, you can’t be there to ensure they are working when on the clock. However, with time tracking software, you can see real-time feeds of their screen or screenshots to give you an idea of their efforts.
For customer service reps, answering all the emails that you receive can be a hassle. However, you can automate your responses to common questions to free up your team for high-level tasks.
There are also many opportunities for automating your online sales system. If you rely on emails to sell additional products, you need to make sure it runs on autopilot. The beauty of this is that once you set it up, you never need to touch it again except for an occasional tweak.
Customers today want to receive help in real-time. While it might not be cost-effective to have live agents available 24/7, a chatbot will work for free. It can be trained to help customers with common issues and direct them to a live agent eventually or just a collection of helpful content to solve their problems.
If your employees feel isolated and lonely, they likely won’t keep up their productivity. Encourage collaboration whenever you can. Think of unique ways to keep our team engaged with each other. 2
Perhaps you can use a digital whiteboard, or schedule weekly meetings with key stakeholders for projects. The feeling of community is something that you’ll need to replace from the traditional office environment. Otherwise, you won’t get the same sense of friendship and loyalty between team members that other companies enjoy.
In today’s competitive global marketplace, you need to use every tool at your disposal to stay ahead. If you don’t manage your team effectively, you might find that you miss deadlines and fall behind the competition who is serving the same target market.
The six strategies above can help you keep your team engaged, updated, and productive. That way, you can serve your clients at the highest level possible and boost your revenue for faster growth.
 Forbes: Businesses Have More Data Than Ever Before, But Do They Measure What They Manage?
 HBR: Helping Remote Workers Avoid Loneliness and Burnout