Team Management

10 Quick Tips on Leading a Remote Team

Posted by Christin on August 25, 2019

Merely interacting with your group of remote employees isn’t enough! It’s very important to make sure you build a working relationship with them. These 10 awesome tips lay the groundwork for properly leading a remote team. 1. Use the right tools Video meetings, IMing, and emailing are all effective ways to keep in contact. Decide which ones work best, and how often you’d like to see these communications. Maintaining a group calendar is extremely helpful, so nobody is left out of group-wide announcements. Do some research to find the best tools, based on your team’s needs. Here is a list of tools that we would and already have recommended in our blog post series “The Challenges of Remote Working”: Task Management Asana Wunderlist Moo.do Todoist Notes and Documents Evernote Google Drive Time Management Time Doctor Rescue Time Email Management Mailbird (Windows) Unibox (Mac) Unroll.Me FollowUpCC Video Meetings Skype Hangouts Veeting Rooms Whereby (former AppearIn) Time Zone Scheduling Easy Clock ScheduleOnce Google Calendar Doodle Calendly Calendars Google Calendar Kin Calendar Human Resource Management People HR Podio Messaging/Chat Slack Skype HipChat WhatsApp File Storage Degoo Dropbox For any other tools you might need Product Hunt 2. Get the team on board with those tools Find the right tools for your team, and stick with them. Once you’ve found the most effective programs, make sure you hold a training session–don’t just assume people will pick them up right away. Keeping an open line of communication during the implementation of these tools is key…

5 Smart Ways to Keep your Remote Team Engaged in 2019

Posted by Guest on December 24, 2018

Employee engagement is the personal investment and emotional commitment that employees have towards their company.  Engaged employees love their jobs! They work harder, stay with the company longer and are more productive. Gallup Studies indicate that higher employee engagement has a definite impact on key business outcomes, including a company’s profitability. That’s why companies around the world are always taking several measures to boost levels of employee satisfaction and engagement. They organize training workshops, one-one coaching, offer more flexibility such as remote work options and so on. However, remote teams have their own set of challenges which dampen morale and engagement. Communication can be confusing, team coordination can be weak and lack of physical proximity can lead to dampened team spirit, low trust and feelings of isolation. All these issues have solutions. Here are five smart ways to keep your remote team engaged. 1.     Use Agile to Manage Your Remote Team It’s not easy for remote teams to coordinate with each other while working on complex projects. Ineffective communication, unclear directions, poor intra-team and inter-departmental coordination lead to confusion, misunderstandings and conflict – all of which are bad for employee engagement. Implementing an agile project management approach can minimize these roadblocks and boost engagement. The agile approach is centered around the principles of adaptability, mutual accountability, continuous improvement, frequent communication and empowerment of every single employee. That’s why it’s perfect for remote teams. For instance, the agile methodology makes people communicate openly and frequently to discuss roadblocks. Team members can…

Creating & maintaining a Relaxed Culture for Remote Teams in 2019

Posted by Christin on February 27, 2018

Hiring remote teams has many advantages. Some of these awesome benefits include the savings on cost of overhead, a larger pool of applicants to choose from, and great flexibility. It allows you to build a virtual team that you could not put together in-person. There are, however, negatives that may arise with leading distributed teams. Since you are not interacting face-to-face with the team on a daily basis, it can be easy to just do your work, and not focus on team-building. Creating a relaxed, water cooler culture with your remote employees is essential to your success. In one of our previous posts, we gave you “10 Quick Tips on Leading A Remote Team”. Now let’s look at what you can do to create that water cooler culture among all of your remote team members. On-Boarding New Employees In order to ensure every employee is on the same page, you must provide everyone with a similar starting point. When a new employee is brought on board in an office, HR leads her around, introducing her to her coworkers. She is often taken to lunch by her boss, where they chat, and get to know one another. Her boss is then able to take her personality, and assist her in forging relationships that suit all parties well. Since remote teams do not have the aforementioned in-person luxuries, it is imperative to have all current employees reach out personally, to introduce themselves to new hires. This not only provides a more welcome…

5 Myths About Remote Working Teams

Posted by Christin on January 21, 2017

Are Remote Working Teams The Future? Hiring teams to work remotely may appear to be a risk you are unwilling to take. Questions surrounding productivity, skill, and effort come to the forefront of a hiring person’s mind. There are many things that can seemingly go wrong!  This notion, however, is completely incorrect. Here are five common myths regarding remote working totally busted. 1. Remote Workers Dictate Their Schedule While this is true in some regard, all remote workers need to be up and working when their clients and coworkers are doing the same. Sure, they may be able to sleep in longer and cut out the commute, but that doesn’t mean they are their own masters of work-related time. A successful remote worker will have a set schedule that coordinates perfectly with the rest of the teams’ schedules. 2. Work Simply Doesn’t Get Done The inverse is actually true. By removing the distractions of the office environment, such as coworkers stopping in to say “hi”, or a few minutes of gossip at the water cooler, remote workers focus on the work, rather than other people in the office. With fewer reasons not to pay attention to the task at hand, they can crank out more work each day. Productivity rises when people work remotely.  3. Remote Workers Are Lazy Nope, quite the opposite is true. Since many members of a remote team work in their physical house–although many do not–they often set aside a “working area”. Remote employees are not…

Email Management for Remote Work: How Mailbird can Help

Posted by Alexis Dolle on October 25, 2016

If you run a virtual business (or if you’re self-employed), you know all too well how easy it is to become overwhelmed by the countless emails you receive each day. Waking up to a huge pile of emails is no fun, but staying on top of it is crucial to keeping your business running and effectively processing the work at hand. You can’t cut down on the mountain of emails… it just can’t be helped. But what you can do is optimize the productivity of your communication with strategic solutions. Mailbird is an effective email management solution for virtual businesses and self-employed workers because it fosters work relationships. Below are some of Mailbird’s best features that can be applied to this context. Integration with other apps Email management software should go beyond the inbox. If you need to coordinate work with a group of people who are not physically present, two things are crucial: the ease of sharing and accessing information and effective communication. Mailbird makes this possible by allowing you to integrate useful apps into your email interface. How does it work? Let’s say you want to conduct an online meeting. With Mailbird, you can use video calling apps like Whereby and Veeting Room to set up a call or message thread with your workers or your clients. Mailbird also lets you send and retrieve large files with its cloud storage app integrations like Dropbox, Degoo or Google Docs – the most popular platforms for sharing and accessing information…

How to Supercharge Your Remote Team’s Communications

Posted by Guest on May 16, 2016

The way we imagine the workplace is an office with desks, a water cooler, a conference room and probably a sad little area for ‘fun’. As much as that might’ve been true in the 90s, we’ve come a long way since. There’s no more resentment from the early morning commute, or terrible small talk in the elevator. Now — in the age of remote work — we’ve never been in a better position. I’ve worked remotely almost all of my life. I’ve found good communication is the only thing that makes remote teams anything different to a bunch of disconnected people, alone on their laptops in silence. Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about quality communication, email productivity, feedback loops and using the right tools. In this article, I’ll share some of that with you.   Don’t scatter your communication all over the place With so many shiny apps out there, it can be tempting to spread your work out between all of them, but it’s also horribly unproductive for you and your team. Imagine if I wanted to check the status of an article in progress, and had to first check Trello for the link, then Google Docs for the comments, then go onto my emails to send my reply. That’s 3 apps for one job. I don’t know the workflows and processes that are best for you, but I found that integrating my apps together did the trick. For example, I have my Trello activity feeding into…

Challenges of Remote Working / Maintaining Productivity

Posted by Andrea Loubier on December 16, 2015

How Does One Maintain High Productivity With A Distributed Team? No one wants to micro-manage and no one likes to be micro-managed. So how do you ensure that your team is working productively, that they are all on the same page, all with the same hard-working expectations and are delivering upon their responsibilities? There’s no easy answer to this however first let’s address the challenges you might encounter if you are part of a distributed team, then we can share how we do it at Mailbird.     Challenges: When working remotely, team members are unable to manage their productivity without a manager constantly overlooking their shoulder, reminding them to stay focused and deliver great results. Some team members are not able to prioritize and manage their own tasks in order to focus on completing one task at a time, rather than doing a little with several different tasks. When working alone and online, there are lots of distractions and team members can struggle with policing those distractions.   No Worries! You know that distributed team culture is something that the world continues to move towards. A technology centered world is peeling away the boundaries of work from a single office to get things done! It’s awesome. Because of innovation and working culture shifts, today, it is much more possible to have the freedom to work anytime and from just about anywhere in the world. That is quite an amazing feat we, as society, have come to realize.    …

Challenges of Remote Working / Maintaining Great Communication

Posted by Andrea Loubier on December 9, 2015

What It Means to Maintain Great Communication If you are working with a distributed team across the globe, if any given team member does not maintain effective and tight communication, then that team member is likely not going to work out so well for your team and business. Communication is the core of how we move things forward and get things done, especially when your business is spread out throughout the world. If you try to run a business with a team and never communicated with each other, things are likely not going to get done, everyone will be working towards different goals and the direction of the business will be completely disjointed. Of course this is the extreme, however even just one person who is not easily within reach during working hours can throw a huge wrench into your machine, aka your business. We are so obsessed with having the best tools to help us communicate these days, so not only do you need the right tools but also the means to overcome challenges of being part of a distributed team.   Challenges: Time zone differences It takes longer for things to get done Sometimes it’s easier to communicate when the person is right next to you   That’s Absolutely Fine! Yes, when you have a team member in the U.S. and another in Europe and the other in Asia, coordinating meetings can be, well…slightly inconvenient. Use time zone apps and tools to ensure you find the best possible…

The Challenges of Remote Working: “The Importance of Cultural Fit”

Posted by Andrea Loubier on December 7, 2015

Why is cultural fit so important for companies starting up? Well for one, these are people that you’ll be spending more time with than you ever have with family and friends. When you are still early stages of building your company, you have to like these people whether you are working with them side by side or from opposite hemispheres. You have to trust them, you should have an inkling of shared interests and a level of respect that encourages collaboration and productivity. Let’s look at the challenges of finding the right cultural fit for distributed teams and how to overcome them.   Challenges: They don’t work as hard as the rest of your team. They don’t really get along with other team members. Other team members complain about them a lot.   No problem-O! This is something that I don’t take lightly when it comes to finding the great people that just click with Mailbird. It starts on the first interaction you have with the person, whether it be an intro from someone or an email or application cover letter. If they pass that initial screening, then we proceed to the next step, and then the next. The true test is once they start working during the probationary period, when they start communicating with the rest of the team, with individuals on the team and with me.     The next part of this is how does the rest of the team respond to that person, if there is synergy…

Challenges of Remote Working / Hiring the Right People

Posted by Andrea Loubier on November 25, 2015

Last week we looked at how distributed teams are the future of how we work today in the face of globalization and agility. This is part 2 in this 5 part series on the challenges of distributed teams. One of the biggest challenges to overcome is being able to learn and understand how to hire the right people for your company.   “If you can hire people whose passion intersects with the job, they won’t require any supervision at all. They will manage themselves better than anyone could ever manage them. Their fire comes from within, not from without. Their motivation is internal, not external.” – Stephen Covey, author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People Challenges: Hard to tell character and work ethic through a series of video interviews, phone interviews and skills tests. Hiring becomes a longer process. Hard to monitor productivity when a new hire is so far away from you.   Not a problem! The best way to learn how to hire the right people for your company, is to rush the process and actually end up hiring the wrong people for your company. It sucks as you quickly learn when someone is not a good fit and you eventually have to let them go. So hopefully this helps you save yourself the time and heartache of hiring the wrong people. Yes, it’s tough to judge someone’s character and work ethic through a series of interviews and skills tests where they might excel and really look great on…