Setting expectations

When you are managing a remote team, communication is even more important than when you are all sitting together in an office. Trust is also an important issue. There may be ways of working which you take for granted in the office. Your expectations of your remote team need to be clearly spelt out.

In particular working hours often become a difficult issue. Make sure you are clear with your team about the following:

Are there times when your team must be available to be contacted? Are they negotiable or non-negotiable?

This can be particularly important in customer service roles. If these times are non-negotiable then be clear about that upfront.

Are you measuring hours worked or outputs?

There are some time management systems around which record keystrokes per minute. Using this sort of system is not advised unless there is a crucial business need. It is better to be clear that you will measure performance according to outputs achieved and recorded. This will build trust between you and your team.

What about popping out to the supermarket?

You would not think twice if one of your team in the office, popped out to do some shopping in their lunch hour. So how do you feel about this if it happens when they are remote? Again, be clear from the start about your expectations.