The 21 Rules for Managing Remote Teams – YouTube

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hi everybody this is Liam Martin and in today’s video we’re going to be talking about the 21 essential rules for managing a remote team as defined by me Liam from time dr. let’s get into it tip number one you really have to compensate for the fact that you’re not bumping into each other on a daily basis if you’re running a remote team so time doctor has 80 plus employees in 27 different countries all over the world from Canada to Nigeria we have employees everywhere all over the planet and it’s a huge advantage in some capacities but it’s also huge a huge disadvantage in other capacities and one of the biggest ones is that you’re really not just bumping into people that inside of your organization like you would if everyone was locally located so inside of virtual teams you have to really compensate for that natural bumping into people which

is what produces a lot of magic inside of tech startups as an example and very fast-moving companies where you’ll have that intermingling of people that will be able to produce interesting new ideas and insights that you wouldn’t have otherwise had so with that said I’m going to go on to tip number two which is I suggest that you have a chat room open constantly we call it the water cooler inside of our chat so we have one in Skype and we have one inside of the slack and can that basically is a room that you can you can talk about anything that you want to talk about if you want to talk about your kids graduation if you want to talk about a different coding system if you want to talk about the latest episode of Game of Thrones you can do that in that water-cooler chatroom and it really creates that sort of bump naturalized bumping into that you would

have had inside of a local organization it just gives you that little small talk that people need to get that bump those bumps and then also more importantly to be able to give them deeper insights into people that you wouldn’t have otherwise had if you were if you just didn’t have access to that type of chat in the first place tip number three you have to be really wary of email and chat overload particularly in remote businesses so this is a problem inside of brick-and-mortar businesses but it’s even worse inside of remote businesses because you get a lot more email and you get a lot more chat messages so you have to be wary of that you have to understand and encourage your employees to turn off their chat and turn off their email when they’re finished with their workday as an example so they’re not answering emails at 3 o’clock in the morning like I was today unfortunately good morning good morning you need to really make sure that that stuff is

controlled because otherwise that works into every aspect of their lives and makes them more unhappy and at the end of the day less productive employees tip number four I talked about the levels of importance as it applies to communication so video is the most important level of communication then it is audio then it is chat then it is email in that order so if you can always have video chats with people you can tell video chat have an audio call with somebody you can’t have an audio call have a live chat with them and if you can’t do that then go to email that’s the way you should be basically orienting yourself inside of the organization it’s really important to make sure that you have those levels because email is very slow video is very fast so if you need something done quickly and efficiently video is probably the best way to do it tip number five if you can’t do a video chat with somebody one of the best ways

to communicate exactly what you need done is through video or visualization communication tools so I use a tool called Jing and what innocence allows you to do is you can draw a box on your computer screen and people give you five minutes for free it gives you unlimited data if you’re if you pay the five dollars a month or something like that for Jing and you’ll be able to record a screen capture of exactly what you want done inside of your company so let’s say that you want some edits done to a particular website well you can do a video outlining exactly what you want done and why something wasn’t done correctly or was done correctly and the old adage of pictures worth a thousand words while the video is worth like a hundred thousand words that’s why we’re doing video right now as well to be able to communicate to you like this you need to make sure that your as information

rich is humanly possible and you communicate so if you can’t do a video call use one of these video tools like Jing to be able to really get more richness into an email or a chat message that you’re going to send tip number six video conferencing technology is printable because as I said before video is the most information rich form of communication that you can have inside of your little team so what I suggest you do is if your budget is quite low get on skype skype is free if you have a little bit more of a budget zoom is more expensive but much better as a tool to be able to work and collaborate through video with coworkers that are remote and even if you want to get started very quickly and easily something like Google Apps will have a Google Hangouts feature inside of Google Apps that you can use like a zoom or a Skype so any of

those three options are absolutely fantastic if you’re looking at increasing your video communication or you haven’t made that decision yet and you really want to actually deploy one of these tools inside of your organization tip number nine what you need to do is set up a meeting rhythm what doesn’t get measured doesn’t get managed and if you’re not meeting with people on a set time to a set rhythm then people can get very distracted and they’re not focused on executing on their work so what I would suggest that you do is you either set up a daily meeting with people a weekly meeting with people or a biweekly meeting with people I think that you should not be meeting with people less than once a week if you end up meeting with people monthly you just won’t get anything done and they may go in a completely separate direction that you didn’t really intend them to go in so make sure that it’s

either daily bi-weekly or weekly and make sure that that meeting you have very clear identifiable goals that everyone needs to meet we call them KPIs and you then need for them to give you a report on where their current KPIs are basically what they did last week what they’re planning on doing next week and any blockers or issues that they need to report back to you so that you can help solve that problem for them and if you can execute on that you’ll have a beautiful meeting rhythm you just need to be able to keep that reliability inside of you zatia tip number 10 you need effective collaboration on documents and spreadsheets and I would suggest that you use Google Apps it’s really easy there are virtual documents but whatever documents you’re trying to use make sure that they are in the cloud so that you can edit them live so all of these different employees can go into a single document and then you can add and delete information you can edit information you

can see the different versions you can see what people have added and what people have taken away as an example Google Apps does this beautifully it’s very cheap but there are plenty of other products on the market like Apple also has a version of this and then Microsoft also has a version of this type of these types of applications that you can use so whatever you’re using it doesn’t really matter as long as they are in the cloud and collaborative it’s absolutely critical if you’re going to run a remote team tip number 11 set up a project management system and actually use it and blown away with people who constantly do not use their project management systems and for us it’s so important in a remote organization to make sure that everything is documented because when stuff is in your head it unfortunately can’t be communicated to the rest of the organization and you need to keep even comparison to a local organization where you’ll have a lot of just the general communication that happens saying oh yeah I put out that memo or yeah I solve that problem isn’t

communicated inside of a remote organization because you’re not having those natural bumps and communication sort of happenstance that you would have in a local organization so you need a project management system you need to use it religiously and everything needs to go into that project management system I would suggest something like asana Basecamp there’s a couple other JIRA as an example is another one that’s really great for development and there’s a ton of other project management tools on the market you just have to choose one and actually execute on putting stuff into it and making sure that your team is answerable to putting stuff inside of that project management tool if they’re not doing it you’re losing millions of dollars not by doing it tip number 12 you’ve got to implement systems this is one of the biggest problems that I see when people are working remotely you must have processes inside of your organization if you have a remote business so I’ll give you a perfect

example we’re making these videos right now there’s a process for how the video is edited how the video is exported do we have an Instagram story 15-second snippet that we also pull outside of that initial edit inside a final cut do we use a multicam or do we use a single camera system how does the audio look have you checked for audio are we gonna promote it in the right way what are the tags underneath that video what do we write underneath that video is this integrated inside of a blog post or not we have these checklists in these processes and it’s really important that you have these processes inside of your organization because if you’re making one video not that big of a deal if you’re making a hundred videos it’s a big deal you need to have those processes in place otherwise just systems breakdown and people don’t actually know what the heck they’re supposed to be doing so implementing systems is super easy I got a video about systems that I’m gonna link right up here that you can check out and again systems get them up and running guys

it’s just you’re you’re literally losing millions and millions of dollars by not implementing stuff like this tip number 13 it’s really important to deploy flexible work hours as long as there is consistency so our mission statement as a company is we want to empower workers to work wherever they want whenever they don’t so we don’t really care where you worked or how long you worked as long as you got the job done we’ll focus on efficiency not necessarily how long somebody worked that’s not a very good measure of productivity so a part of that is having people to basically gain access to flexible work agreements inside of our company and we highly suggest that you also engage in that as well but you need to be able to make sure that there is some consistency and we usually put this around our meetings so you must show up for meetings at a particular time and if

you’re not showing up for those meetings it’s a big issue other than that you do what you want if you want to work from three o’clock in the morning till six o’clock in the morning every day go ahead and do it as long as you’re productive and you’re putting out good results so make sure that you’re giving people that freedom to have their own flexible work hours but we keep some consistency keep those touch points of those meetings every single day or every week as an example so that they understand that they have to show up and they have a report that they have to submit saying and if they did and what they plan on doing next day or next week tip number I think I’m on number 1617 something like I’m just gonna forget about it there’s 21 tips so you gotta track work hours attendants and other basic basic measures of productivity so we allow people to work wherever they want whenever they want and it’s really important that they’re measuring how much time they’re putting inside of the business and what the results what

results they are getting when they do that particular type of work so if you have a customer support agent that’s much more productive than another support agent and they’re doing exactly the same amount of work they need to figure out why was that support agent more productive than that other support agent and the only way that you can do that is by tracking the amount of time that you worked when you attended work and other basic measures of productivity so as an example we use time doctor for that obviously because that’s our company I measure all of the websites applications most movements and keyboard movements that I do inside of our company I got a laptop right here it’s currently tracking this particular task which is shooting a video and at the end of this I’ll be able to figure out how efficiently I executed on doing that particular task inside of the organization and whether my time that I spent was actually productive to the company centrally important when you’re building remote

teams to be able to have that type of documentation next tip is you’ve got to have overlapping hot zones of communication time when it applies to time zones so I’ll give you an example we usually have meetings on Thursdays and on Mondays which we call our all prints meetings so we have to do two of them we used to do one but we just have too many people and too many different time zones so we have one on Thursdays for everyone who is on the Manila time zone and then we have one on Mondays for people that are on the New York Times own and we do those every single week and someone has to report to one of those two meetings every single week it is a requirement and that allows people to have that single touch point to know that hey there are other people inside of the company here’s what they’re doing here’s what their lives are about and it really does give you that sense of community that usually you’re lacking

inside of remote organizations that you want to take advantage of next tip do a quarterly review of how your teammates are doing a lot of people call these 360 reviews you can just google that the 360 review is going to give you a lot of great information like what are your co-workers think of this particular worker what does your manager think of that particular worker what is that worker think of their manager stuff 360 review it’s giving you a whole bunch of different variables to that particular worker and it’s critically important we do them quarterly and it’s a really great way for us to figure out okay what are you good at what are you not good at how can you improve and then measure that for over to make sure that those employees are gonna be a lot more productive in the long term so in combination with something very granular like measuring how hard they’re working and how efficiently they’re working we also measure things like a 360 quarterly review so that we know ok how do people perceive at this employee inside of the organization and what are their

advantages or disadvantages next tip you got a test employees with short term work before hiring them full time so my perspective is I got to work with you before I can work with you so we’ll usually hire people on very short projects we’re gonna hire somebody brand-new we’ll usually hire two people for that position and we’ll hire them on part-time and they’ll basically give them both the same tasks over a one-month period and you can very quickly and easily understand who is really great versus who isn’t so good so a lot of the times we’ll have someone that will have a fantastic resume but then when we end up actually working with them in person they can’t actually execute and that happens a lot so you need to be able to hire those two people hire them on part-time if you can and really understand where they’re at because having that small little project can completely change your perspective of those initial resumes that you had

come in next tip is pay virtual team members very well if you’re hiring in developing countries you can usually get a absolutely fantastic labor at very cost-effective prices and it’s a huge advantage to you to be able to just pay that person 10 20 30 % higher than the market rate in their particular country you’re still getting a fantastic deal and they are getting a much higher salary they’re gonna be more loyal and they’re gonna be a lot more relaxed about what they’re doing with with their work and the organization’s work so I’m blown away by people that are just gonna penny pinch someone who’s making a thousand dollars a month as an example and in comparison to San Francisco you’d be paying $10,000 a month for the same type of work pay them 1200 make them very happy and they’ll be very successful long-term workers with you over the next couple years next if it’s really important that you hire people that are the right fit

for virtual work so instead of time doctor we actually have a virtual work fit kind of test that we deploy and that’s deployed before we actually look at they’re a real resume so a couple things that you can kind of just pull off the top usually remote workers are on the introverted side of the spectrum they’re okay with working alone if they constantly have to be working with other people virtual work environments are probably not the best environment for them they need to be people that are very detail-oriented and also people that need to take that can take independent action on particular tasks without really feeling intimidated that they’re making the wrong decision from their manager so taking that in consideration really look for those types of people inside of your organization and if you’ve got them then it’s it’s a really easy way for you to say okay this is the model that we already have we know that

there are people that are fit that are a really great fit inside of our organization and then try to have those people interview the other employees inside of your company that you want to hire or are looking to hire and ask them hey you know are those people like you are they the same type of people and if they aren’t then you’re probably gonna run into a problem last tip I’m going to give you is it’s really important to meet in person so we have team retreats for our entire organization at least once per year and then we have smaller meetings that we do throughout the year and it’s so important for a virtual team to meet in person at least once number one it’s a great employee perk to have everybody fly into Thailand or fly into Bali or tight fly into Bulgaria or somewhere like that they all love it secondarily the context that you’ll get from those two to three days of everyone being in the same place is huge people

will now know the nonverbal cues that different co-workers have they’ll be able to understand what kind of food they like what kind of movies they like what kind of TV shows they’re like what type of beer they’d like to drink and those extra little details are huge when you look at the long-term ROI of building a successful remote business so meet in person I meet in person with my team every single year I actually meet in person with my team more than once per year and the team loves it I highly suggest you take advantage of it so that was my 21 tips on how to manage virtual teams I think I think I had 21 tips in there if you have a tip please put it down in the comments below so that I know what the heck you guys want to talk about and maybe I’ll add back into this particular video or maybe I’ll make another one in the future and if you hitted this video give it a thumbs down if you really like this video give it a thumbs up and other than that I will see you in the next video


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