Many workers don’t consider working in remote a standard practice, but they’d be surprised to learn the number of companies that hire external consultants or manage teams that are dispersed all over the globe. Using services like Gumtree, companies are able to search remote contract workers who possess specific skills and qualifications. If you’re a manager, it’s very likely that you’ll happen to manage such professionals in the future – here are 6 things you should know about managing a team of professionals located in different time zones.
1. Be aware of cultural differences
When working with people from different corners of the world, you simply need to put yourself in the perspective of your employees and practice cultural awareness. In order to work with those differences and manage them to get the most from this clash, a manager should have a firm grasp on both cultures, as well as personal and professional viewpoints held by different team members.
2. Communicate project goals
As a manager working with a dispersed team, one of the most important things you should do is ensure that the whole team is on the same page when the primary objectives and goals of the project are concerned.
With everyone on board with you, you’ll guide your team to achieve everything that is expected. Remember to clearly articulate your goals when all workers are present. You can hold a video-conference, for instance. Encourage workers to ask questions and leave your communication channels open in case they need to improve their understanding of the project.
3. Use the right communication tools
When working on a complex project, it’s a good idea to have a chatroom open at all times to allow team members to leave messages for you or others. Make sure all your team members know how to exchange important notices or information in a smart and non-distracting way. You should have a purpose mapped out for every single communication tool used at your organization. Your employees should know that sometimes writing a quick message is way easier than communicating back and forth using e-mail.
4. Go for Screen sharing
Screen sharing is an interesting option – it can be vital for quick and fruitful collaboration. Try Jing for capturing screen shots and inserting notes, labels and arrows to make your point.
Other interesting tools for live screen sharing are Join.me or teamviewer.com – you might also find tools that will allow you to remotely control another computer, which is just perfect once you’d like to address a specific aspect of the project.
5. Be flexible
It’s clear that any kind of remote project management will involve a degree of flexibility. Once you know what you want from each team member and trust them to deliver their promises, you can grant your team freedom without a second thought. Maintain the project development process stable and streamlined, but always aim for a degree of individual autonomy.
6. Channel positive team spirit
Team spirit is key to successful project development and in dispersed teams it can be easily lost. Assign a specific amount of time every day to talk about topics that aren’t related to work – this will humanize your communications and help you build positive team spirit. Use tools for video chats – seeing faces helps to build strong team relationships.
With these essentials in mind, you’ll be ready to face the challenges of managing a dispersed team working in completely different time zones.