The way we do things has drastically changed over the last few years, including work. Just look at your inner circle and you’ll surely note a handful of individuals that are fully immersed in a work-from-home regimen.
According to data scientists at Ladders (reported by Forbes), remote working is here to stay and is projected to increase throughout 2023. It’s become a standard way of doing business because it gives companies an amazing opportunity to access top global talent while offering employees ultimate flexibility. By using remote work and outsourced Virtual Executive Assistants (VEAs), organizations can find and hire the top 0.1% of professionals, no matter where they are located. As a business owner, now is the time to take advantage of the opportunities brought along with remote work.
This article offers valuable information, best practices, and strategies for businesses looking to succeed in this relatively new environment. In this detailed guide, we’ll outline the primary advantages of hosting a remote team and teach you the ways in which it can optimize team success. And since camaraderie is so valuable, we’ll also walk you through best practices for building an online work community.
Why is Managing A Remote Team So Hard?
While being a manager is tricky to begin with, overseeing a remote team comes with its own unique set of challenges. First of all, employees are at home facing several distractions throughout the day, and on top of that, they are likely to be geographically dispersed. As a result, remote team members often face communication barriers, feel isolated, and lack access to resources and support, making it tricky to stay engaged and productive. Below are five key pillars to be aware of when assessing the difficulties and challenges brought on by managing remote work.
1. Communication barriers
Effective communication is critical to the success of any team, but it can be particularly challenging for remote teams. Traditionally, a team meets huddled around someone’s cubicle or seated around a table in a boardroom to discuss a topic, offering effortless exchanges and sparking ideas. But remote team members are separated by computer screens and some-odd thousand miles, putting extensive reliance on technology which, as you know, sometimes needs troubleshooting. Plus, they may have different schedules, time zones, and communication preferences, making it difficult as a manager to find a time and method that works for everyone.
2. Lack of visibility
When team members work remotely, it can be challenging for managers to know what they are working on and how much progress they are making. This lack of visibility can lead to micromanaging and a lack of trust between team members and managers. We’ll go into detail later on how to cope with this wrestle.
3. Isolation and lack of access to resources
Working remotely can bring on feelings of isolation and disconnect from the rest of the team (and reality), leading to feelings of disengagement and low morale. We’ve all been there. This can make it difficult for any manager to foster a sense of team spirit and a positive work culture. In turn, that places great pressure on managers to ideate ways to create meaningful connections amongst colleagues. What’s more, a lack of access to resources that would otherwise be available in-office can make it challenging to complete tasks and solve problems, increasing that alienating feeling. In order to counteract this, managers need to think of alternate ways of providing resources to remote workers.
4. Time management
When team members work remotely, they have greater control over their schedules, which can lead to a lack of structure and time management. This can make it difficult for them to stay on task and meet deadlines, which can lead to increased stress on a manager’s end.
5. Not using skilled VEAs
If you aren’t utilizing skilled virtual executive assistants (VEAs) as a remote manager or busy professional, you’re missing out on a lot of leverage. VEAs provide a range of services and support that can help remote teams function more efficiently, productively, and effectively. Without the support of one (or a few), managers may struggle to handle all of their tasks on their own, which can lead to delays, miscommunication, and reduced productivity. By leveraging the services of VEAs, managers can streamline processes and ensure that everyone is working together.
How Do You Make Managing Remote Teams Easier?
Now, it isn’t lost on us that you might already be years into directing a remote team, and even as an old-timer there surely are difficulties. Perhaps you’ve never received proper tips or guidance on how to run a remote business. Or maybe the tools that are available today didn’t exist when you were getting situated, and you didn’t seem to adapt along the way. Regardless of your reason, if you are already remote and struggling there are some simple things you can implement into your managerial regime to boost productivity and create a positive work environment.
1. Invest in the Right Remote Project Management Software
By investing in the right remote project management software, you can create a more efficient and connected remote work environment. Look for tools that facilitate collaboration, communication, and task tracking, such as Trello, Asana, or Basecamp. These platforms act as a meeting ground or virtual office and can help keep your team organized, aligned, and accountable, especially when your team isn’t working in one single time zone. You will immediately see an improvement with streamlining processes and improving overall productivity.
2. Consider outsourcing your talent
Outsourcing talent is an easy and effective way to manage because you can choose from a wider pool of skilled professionals. This will provide you with workers that you don’t have to worry all that much about, leverage your company’s workflow and in turn making managing a remote team easier. Consider hiring a virtual executive assistant (VEA) to see for yourself.
What Are The Best Practices For Remote Team Management?
Implementing effective remote team management is crucial for your business to optimize productivity and ensure employee satisfaction. Best practices include setting clear boundaries with remote workers, encouraging and embracing diversity, defining expectations early and clearly, offering help when needed, improving online communication skills, and investing in the right remote project management software. Through adopting these practices, you can seamlessly create a supportive and efficient remote work environment that fosters collaboration, innovation, and growth. Below is a breakdown of how to best manage your remote team.
1. Set Boundaries with Remote Workers
Establishing clear boundaries with remote workers is essential for maintaining a healthy work-life balance and preventing burnout. Work with your teams to create a consistent work schedule, outlining when team members are expected to be available and setting aside designated break times. Encourage employees to create a dedicated workspace, even consider an allowance for full-time staff to purchase necessities that will enable them to perform better (things like desks, a proper office chair, an ergonomic mouse, etc.). Last but certainly not least, promote the importance of disconnecting from work during non-working hours to recharge and maintain overall well-being.
2. Set Expectations Early and Clearly
Effective remote team management starts with clear expectations. Managers should define goals, deadlines, and responsibilities from the outset to ensure everyone is on the same page. By providing such guidelines you end up minimizing confusion, enhancing productivity, and fostering a positive working relationship. Regular check-ins and progress updates can help keep team members accountable and provide opportunities for feedback and adjustments as needed.
3. Encourage and Embrace Diversity
A diverse workforce brings unique backgrounds, skills, and perspectives to the table, fostering innovation and creativity. As a remote team manager you should actively embrace and celebrate diversity within your team. Encourage open communication and collaboration, and provide opportunities for your team members to share their insights and experiences.
4. Embrace Asynchronous Collaboration
Asynchronous work refers to a way of working where individuals or teams are not required to be working at the same time or in the same location. Instead, each person can work on their own schedule and at their own pace, with the expectation that they will complete their assigned tasks within a certain timeframe. This approach to work is often associated with remote work, where team members may be located in different time zones and have different schedules.
For effective remote team management of this structure, online communication skills are essential. Get familiar with various communication tools and methods, including email, instant messaging, video conferencing, and project management platforms. To ensure that communication is clear, concise, and timely, it is crucial to establish communication guidelines and best practices. Don’t forget, non-verbal cues are often lost in virtual communication! So be mindful of tone and context to prevent misunderstandings. Developing these skills will not only benefit your team but also enhance your own leadership abilities.
5. Guide Them When They Need It
Remote team members may face unique challenges, such as technical difficulties, feelings of isolation, or struggles with time management. Managers should be proactive in providing assistance and resources to support their team’s success. Have regular check-ins with team members to assess their needs, offer guidance, and address any concerns. By prioritizing your attentiveness and responsiveness as a manager, you can help ensure a positive remote work experience for everyone.
What Are The Benefits Of Hiring Virtual Executive Assistants?
Switching to remote work has many advantages and benefits for both sides of the coin — the employer and the employee. Things like significant increases in productivity as a manager, cost savings for businesses, flexible and tailored work for employees, and a better work-life balance for all involved are positive gains involved with remote work. Plus, as we see the world around us rapidly change year after year, it’s clear that only the most agile of organizations will find continued, long-term success.
By effectively managing remote teams and using the skills of outsourced VEAs, organizations can stay ahead of the competition, encourage innovation, and thrive in an increasingly connected and competitive world. Ahead are eight reasons why hiring a virtual executive assistant is a step toward success.
1. Increased Productivity
Effective remote team management can significantly increase productivity by allowing team members to work in their preferred environments and during their most productive hours. Remote workers often report higher levels of focus and efficiency, as they can avoid typical office distractions and have more control over their workspaces. By setting clear goals, providing the necessary tools, and establishing a strong communication infrastructure, you can ensure that your remote teams remain productive and engaged.
2. Enhanced Collaboration
Managing remote teams can foster collaboration by connecting team members from diverse locations, backgrounds, and skill sets. By leveraging technology, such as video conferencing, file-sharing, and collaborative project management tools, teams can work together seamlessly and share ideas more effectively. Remote team management ensures that all team members are aligned with your company’s goals and have the necessary resources to work together towards its shared vision.
3. Reduced Overhead Costs
One of the main benefits of remote team management is the potential for significant cost savings. By allowing employees to work remotely, your business can save on expenses associated with office space, utilities, and maintenance. Additionally, remote work can lead to lower employee turnover rates, as workers often report higher levels of job satisfaction when they have the flexibility to work from home. This, in turn, can save your company money on recruitment and training costs.
There’s also the option to outsource tasks to VEAs. By doing so, your company can avoid the expenses associated with hiring full-time employees, such as salaries, benefits, and taxes. What’s more, VEAs typically work on a contract basis, meaning your company only pays for the services it needs, when it needs them, further reducing costs.
On that note, outsourced VEAs offer a high degree of flexibility, as they can be hired on an as-needed basis and can quickly adapt to changing business needs. This flexibility allows companies to scale their support up or down depending on workload, project requirements, or budget constraints. By working with VEAs, your business can ensure it has the right level of support at all times without committing to long-term employment contracts.
5. Access to a Wider Talent Pool
Hiring remote VEAs allows businesses to access a global pool of talent, as they are not restricted by geographical limitations. Companies can really find VEAs that are best suited for their needs. Plus, think about what happens when you bring together diverse perspectives. A global team can lead to increased innovation with better problem solving skills and the capacity to develop stronger ideas. We’d say the ultimate bonus to having VEAs in different time zones is ensuring round-the-clock support, as it’s a huge competitive advantage in today’s fast-paced business environment.
6. Expertise in Various Fields
Outsourced VEAs often possess specialized skills and expertise in a variety of fields, making them a valuable asset to businesses. By hiring VEAs with specific expertise, your company can access specialized support without investing in additional full-time employees. This expertise can be leveraged to enhance business operations, drive innovation, and help you stay ahead of your competitors.
As businesses grow and evolve, their needs may change, and the ability to scale operations becomes essential. Outsourced VEAs can help your company scale its operations more efficiently, as you can quickly add or remove support as needed. This scalability will allow you to manage your company’s growth effectively, ensuring you have the necessary resources and support to meet its changing needs.
8. Promote a Better Work-Life Balance for Employees
Remote team management can help promote a better work-life balance for employees by offering them the flexibility to work from home or other locations that suit their personal needs. It cuts back on commute time as well. This flexibility allows employees to better manage their personal and professional responsibilities, reducing stress and burnout. This can lead to higher levels of employee satisfaction, engagement, and loyalty, benefiting the overall success and well-being of your organization.
How to Find and Hire the Best Outsourced Virtual Executive Assistants
When structuring your business as remote, finding and hiring the best outsourced Virtual Executive Assistants (VEAs) is essential — but embarking on the recruitment process yourself is quite the time sucker. Consider consulting with objective third party recruitment services who know the ins and outs of hiring virtual workers. Not only will it save you countless hours, but a virtual talent recruitment agency is expertly skilled at vetting individuals that you can trust to get the job done. For example, at Persona we measure hard skills as well as soft skills, and we know how to detect keen problem solvers. Every single person we work with is truly special, just check out these testimonials from our clients.
Ahead are some key pillars to concentrate on when searching for VEAs.
1. Define Your Needs
Before hiring an outsourced VEA, it’s essential to identify the tasks that need to get done and the level of expertise they require. Make a list of responsibilities and skills you expect your VEA to have, such as administrative support, project management, or social media management. By clearly defining your needs, you can better assess potential candidates and find the right fit for your business. Once you’ve hired a VEA, you’ll be able to set them up for success effortlessly because their role has already been established.
2. Research Different VA Providers
There are numerous VA providers available, each offering different services, pricing, and levels of expertise. Conduct thorough research and compare providers based on factors such as their reputation, client reviews, range of services, and pricing structure. This research will help you make an informed decision when selecting a provider that best aligns with your business needs and budget.
At Persona, we’re particularly known for housing the finest talent. Our method of vetting and recruiting VAs is streamlined to the point of only hiring the top 0.1% of talent, which means that we end up hiring one out of every 1000 candidates. Plus, getting started with us is simple and straightforward. Here’s how it works:
Step 1: Complete our form to let us know your needs.
Step 2: If you’re a good fit, we’ll set up a call to discuss our service and pricing with you.
Step 3: Our team will hand pick a superb assistant who we think will be a great fit for you based on your preferences and business needs.
Step 4: Our talent team will guide you through the onboarding process.
Step 5: For a flat monthly rate, you get a full-time, world-class assistant (no long-term commitment needed).
If we feel like a fit for you, click here to get started on the process of hiring a virtual assistant.
3. Don’t Settle
When managing a remote team, it’s important to work with top-quality professionals who can help you achieve your business goals. This includes virtual executive assistants who can provide valuable support and expertise to help you streamline your workload and improve efficiency. If you feel like you still haven’t found the most ideal employee(s) for your company, don’t settle. Taking extra time to select the perfect fit will pay off in the long run.
Effective Remote Team Management Starts Today
By following these tips and tricks, you can effectively manage remote teams and leverage the talents of outsourced VEAs to achieve your business goals. Keep in mind that the workforce is ever-changing. Just the same way the world rapidly converted to remote work in 2020, new developments and methods will continue to unfold. If you remain agile in the way you manage teams and constantly revise your methods, there’s no doubt you’ll be a force to reckon with. And as you work toward building out your remote business, don’t forget to enjoy the process. After all, there’s nothing quite as rewarding as hand selecting a team of individuals that you feel grateful working with and managing every day.
Here’s to building thriving, connected teams!