By Rich Kahn, CEO of eZanga.com
Delegating is never an easy task, even more so when you must delegate remotely. Managing a virtual team requires approaching task management differently, particularly when tackling large projects.
Coordinating meetings and tasks virtually can be cumbersome, but distance and time zones don’t have to be obstacles. To manage your remote team more effectively, employ these tips.
1. Assign Roles and Tasks.
Streamline your workflow by assigning roles to your team. Be specific when explaining the responsibilities for each role and what will be required to complete all assigned tasks.
When assigning a project, delegate the result, not the process. Unless you want something done a certain way, let the person do it their way. As long as the end result is the same (and they stay within company guidelines), there’s no need to micromanage.
And don’t hesitate to reassign roles and tweak processes if needed.
2. Use a Project Management Tool.
Keep everyone organized and on the same page with a shared project management tool. Depending on your needs, choose from a variety of apps like Basecamp or Teambox to make virtual management more efficient.
These tools are great for organizing data, sharing files, posting updates, staying on schedule, and more.
3. Keep the Flow of Communication Open.
Without face-to-face meetings, it’s more important than ever to have consistent communication. Schedule a time each day, preferably at the beginning, to check in with your team and answer any questions. This can be done via IM or email. Also plan for a conference call at least once a week to address any in-depth issues.
For daily interaction, consider using a tool like Slack, a team chat program. You can create custom chat channels for different projects. And should you need to do a quick virtual conference or presentation, try a video app like Sqwiggle to connect you to your team via video on demand. But while open communication is great, don’t forget to institute “quiet times,” so people don’t feel the need to constantly check email or IM.
4. Get to Know Your Team.
Your remote employees are more than just avatars. Get to know them and build a rapport. During your weekly conference calls, ask how everyone’s weekend was, or if they have plans for the coming weekend. Perhaps your team loves coffee, send them a virtual Starbucks gift card to thank them for a job well done.
On a serious note, learn where your team members are located. Their location could potentially have an impact on your team’s workflow (e.g. natural disasters, events, etc.). Knowing where your employees are will help you better prepare to circumvent disruptions.
5. Trust Your Remote Employees.
When you can’t physically see someone working, it’s only natural to wonder if they’re playing on Facebook all day. But you’ve built a great team, so trust them. As long as they’re meeting their deadlines and producing top notch work, there’s no need to micromanage.
Richard K. Kahn, CEO of eZanga.com, has been a leader in the online advertising industry since 1993. Kahn became a published software programmer by age 12, and founded SEM and search engine eZanga in 2003. Over the past 15 years, he has specialized in all areas of the industry.