Do you manage employees who work remotely — or even a team without an office? Here’s six ways to keep your business running smoothly — and your employees productive.
With the recent rise in , the typical office setup — with cubicles, swivel chairs, water cooler, instant coffee and that one conference room that’s always a little too warm — is quickly becoming a thing of the past. As more and more companies adopt a policy, running an office isn’t what it used to be.
You may be liaising between different cities, countries and time zones, but this doesn’t mean you can’t all come together to form a unified, successful team. Here are six ways you can help run an office when you don’t have one. ( to tweet this list.)
1. Hire Help
Running a remote office doesn’t mean you should take on multiple roles. Don’t spread yourself too thin and try to play three different parts at once – hire help! One way to do this is hire a “virtual receptionist” – someone to be the voice of your company and transfer incoming calls to the appropriate employee.
As this might be a potential client’s first point of contact with your business, it’s important to present a cohesive, professional front. If you’re worried about the cost of a virtual receptionist, don’t be – there are a range of so you can find one to suit your budget.
2. Foster accountability
Part of successfully delegating tasks to various workers is holding your employees accountable. Since you can’t physically stop by someone’s desk for a quick catch-up, you must trust they are completing their work.
And if they aren’t? Know where to place the blame. Make sure you have your projects clearly so you know who is responsible for what tasks. This will not only help motivate your employees to complete their tasks on time, but it can help you trace back where any problems originate.
3. Hold regular Meetings
For your scattered colleagues to feel like they belong to a unit, you need to establish consistency. This means touching base at the same time every week, every two weeks, every other day or whatever works best for everyone. Although email is a great way to keep in touch, it’s important to schedule face-to-face time as well so you can feel like you are collaborating with humans instead of machines.
If in-person meetings are simply out of the question, is a great alternative to connect with your far-flung colleagues.
4. Create one-on-one connections
In addition to scheduling consistent team meetings, make sure that you connect personally with each of your workers. Designate a regular time for you to speak one-on-one with each employee — perhaps once a month. This will give you the chance to create a stronger bond, as well as help monitor their progress in a casual, low-pressure environment.
5. Collaborate with your coworkers
For a productive office, collaboration is paramount. If you and your coworkers are constantly sending around three different versions of the same document, this not only wastes everyone’s time, but it can harm your business if outdated information is in circulation.
You need a way for multiple users to edit the same document and have access to current files, and a cloud storage provider is a great option. – where you can share, revise, and save documents online – is just one example. is another great solution. These platforms also have the bonus of being compatible with smartphones and tablets for your employees who enjoy being productive on the go.
6. Socialize as a team
Work-related issues aside, working in an office can have social benefits as well, such as sharing a laugh over a funny email or grabbing lunch at the cafe around the corner together. Camaraderie helps contribute to productivity and boosts morale, so when managing telecommuters, try to establish a healthy social atmosphere.
You don’t want to detract from production, but if you come across a silly video or a thought-provoking article, don’t hesitate to send it to the entire team! There’s no harm in breaking up the work day with a few minutes of laughter.
With your workers spread out around the globe, it may seem daunting to try to simulate an office setting. But with online collaboration, regular meetings and frequent communication, you can create a successful environment for your business to expand.
Gemma is a Senior Campaign Specialist for Citrix . She has been part of the Demand Generation team for the past five years, looking after anything from webinars to content creation. Connect with her on and Twitter .