Do you know how to manage a remote team effectively? Working with virtual employees and remote staff can be challenging, but not entirely impossible. Do you know where to start? How to delegate tasks efficiently? How can you ensure that your staff is productive even if time zones and continents separate you? Most importantly, how will you be able to foster fruitful working relationships and build rapport with people you do not see in person?

The first thing you need to establish is open communication lines. It is very important that you and your remote team communicate regularly. Let your team know how you will collaborate and exchange information. With today’s technology, this should not be very hard. There are various free messaging apps you can install on your computer or your mobile phone, including Viber, Whatsapp, Skype, and WeChat. You can even schedule video calls and conference calls. Of course, due to the time difference, you and your staff must establish a specific time for calls – it should be set at a time that is convenient for both of you. It is understood, however, that both parties must be reachable via email. You must train your staff the importance of responding to email concerns in a timely manner. Giving structured communication will help you build a remote team that is innovative and results-driven.

Next, you need to be able to delegate tasks efficiently. There are various task management tools you can use. Basecamp, Trello, and Asana are three of the most widely used tools for this purpose. These tools let you input the tasks and the task description, as well as other important details. You also get to put deadlines, assign to specific people, and attach files. These tools ensure that even if you are not physically present, you can monitor how your staff works. Of course, the good old spreadsheet or google docs work as well. The main consideration is that you have a system that everyone can easily follow and update. It is important that everyone understand the expectations of their role and their team member’s roles.

You should ask your remote workers to send EOD (end of day) Report. As a client, you should be aware of how your workers spend their shift. This way, you can review their work daily and provide consistent feedback.

Figuring out how to manage a remote team involves tracking their productivity and how they spend their working hours. How strict you will be in tracking their activity is up to you – you can choose a time tracker that runs in the background as they perform their tasks, or let them add their time manually. If you choose to be extra strict with them, you will need to choose a tool that takes screenshots of their desktop, so you can see exactly what they are up to. TimeDoctor, Worksnaps, ScreenShotMonitor, and Hubstaff are good options.

In conclusion, managing a remote team is not so different from an in-person team. The clearer your expectations and communication, the better your results will be. Interested in learning more about hiring a remote team member? We can help. Book your appointment to get started.

I wanted to provide a short list of valuable tools to help with your remote staff. I have categorized them into a function so that you quickly review and pick those that you like.

Videos for Training

Camtasia – https://www.techsmith.com/store/camtasia

This is the Boss for video editing. It is a paid program, but it is worth it. It can do screen capture as well as full-blown video editing. This is the software that I personally use.

Loom - https://www.useloom.com/

I haven’t used it personally, but it has come recommended to me by others.

Screencast - https://screencast-o-matic.com

This is a fairly inexpensive option.

Organization / File Sharing

Dropbox – www.dropbox.com

Organizes files so that remote workers can access documents. With the Pro version, you can share files, set permissions and expire access after a period of time. We personally put company training documents here so that all team members can access and update items as necessary

Google Drive

If you like to use GSuite, this is a great way to integrate your files with remote workers.

Project Management

Asana - https://asana.com/

Free for small teams and limited data to track. Has a mobile app as well as a web version.

Trello - https://trello.com/

Free and a fun way to keep track of to-do lists by using cards. Has a mobile app as well as a web version.

Process Street - https://www.process.st/

This is a robust tool that may be more than some people need. Can get costly for large teams.

Time Tracking Software

While you will find that I am not a fan of time tracking software overall, there are times that it is helpful and necessary.

Time Doctor - https://www.timedoctor.com/

This is our preferred method. It allows us as well as our clients to get screenshots of the work that is being done at random intervals.

Hubstaff – https://hubstaff.com/

I have had clients who were already using this method, but I have never used it.

We hope you find these tools helpful and if you would like to know more about hiring your own virtual employee, feel free to reach out to me!

In today’s crazy world, it seems like we are forced to do more and be more. Yet, often times, we find that more is not really getting us what we want. If you are like me and a busy business owner, it is imperative that you work smarter. I make sure that I surround myself with people who challenge me and make me the best I can be and hire staff to help me do more of the things I like in my business.

With the goal of being more productive, here are 7 productivity tips to get control over your personal and professional life.

1. Understand Your “Why” and “What” You Are Doing
Everything starts with having the end in mind. You have to know why you are doing whatever it is. It is the reason you started your business. The reason you get up every day. Quite frankly, it needs to be a good and significant reason.

I have had many mentors in my career. Each one has a clear message that they have shared with me. Call it a mission statement, value proposition, or a mantra. For us at HireSmartVirtualEmployees.com our mission is simple: We help entrepreneurs leverage their time & have more fun. We do this by providing quality staff and training.

Once you understand why & what you are doing, then you can work on improving how you are doing it. This is where the productivity begins. Evaluate what you are spending your time and talent on and ask yourself, “is this task helping you get closer to what you ultimately want?” If the answer is no, then don’t spend your time on it. Next ask “does this task have to be done?” If it doesn’t have to be done, don’t have anyone spend time on it. If it is necessary, then have someone else on your team do it.

2. Manage Your Schedule by Time Blocking
In a prior post, I talked about managing your calendar and using the skills of time blocking. This one change in my routine has allowed me to effectively run 7 profitable businesses with minimal staff and yet for many – it is a challenge.

Every week I sit down and evaluate what are the most important items that need to be done. If I don’t have to do it, I delegate it. If I have to do it, then I schedule it in my calendar at the time that I can best accomplish the task.

Then block out your time to accomplish those things that will move your business forward. These are the items that typically get pushed to the side because of emergencies and other “urgent” issues. What I and many other business owners have found out is that by actually putting it in the schedule, these strategic items actually get done.

3. Start Work Earlier
There is nothing better that getting to your desk before the phone rings, staff checks in, phone calls start. Getting to work before the “normal” day allows you to focus your time and energy. It sets the tone for the whole day.

Every successful business owner I have ever met starts their day before the chaos begins. Even just 30 minutes of quiet can have a significant impact.

4. Outsource Professional & Personal Tasks
Clearly we are advocates of outsourcing as that is what we do. But other than your administrative tasks that we talk about, you can also outsource other tasks. For example, your laundry, grocery shopping, meal preparation, personal bills, or other tasks that you don’t enjoy doing. Think about all the things you do and which ones you really don’t enjoy and find someone else to do it for you. You will be amazed at the energy you have and the fact that these things are done without you having to think about them.

5. Use Technology
Technology is a wonderful thing. It can enhance our communication and productivity tremendously. Things like Gotomeeting.com, Skype, Hootsuite, Camtasia, Outlook, & others all are there to help. However, remember that technology doesn’t solve a poor business process. We recommend quarterly evaluating your bottlenecks of your process and then see what technology can assist you in improving and enhancing what is already in place.

6. Streamline Your Email
Aaahhh… email. We all are obsessed with email. At meals, we check our phones for email. When we are in meetings, we check email. I know that I have been (and still am sometimes) guilty of this. Email provides us with the satisfaction that #1 – someone thinks we are important and #2 it allows us to feel like we are accomplishing tasks by responding. The true reality is that if we can become disciplined enough to check hourly and avoid the knee jerk reaction to check every 5 minutes, we will be more productive.

Next week, I will provide my top tips for email productivity.

7. Join an Accountability Group & Industry Mastermind
It is proven that what you focus on gets results. If you really want to enhance your productivity, find someone who you can share your goals and be accountable to for your actions. Our best years were when we had weekly check-ins with our accountability team. We never wanted to show up with a goose egg. After all, our egos were on the line. So, find some likeminded people, create your overall goals, break those goals down and have a weekly report and at least a monthly call. You will be amazed at the results.

I hope that you have found this material helpful. At HireSmartVirtualEmployees.com, we can certainly help you in finding staff that will immediately enhance your productivity and allow you to enjoy your business and your life. Interested in finding out more? Book a free consultation with me.

Knowing the basics to improve leadership communication skills helps good leaders balance these four managerial aspects: planning, organizing, communicating, and conducting. But the main thread that ties those functions together is communication.

In this article, we will share with you how to improve your success through proper leadership communication techniques. These 3 leadership strategies will help you build an effective communication style that will set you up for success.

Preparation

The company’s mission and vision statements are key to developing a common goal for everyone to follow. They provide clear direction and help to mold the entire business. A good leader should always serve as a clear reflector for both mission and vision as well as provide clear directives that support these statements.

A simple way to share these standards is by providing and communicating the company’s long-term goal setting while providing short-term milestones all the while measuring productivity and performance individually as well as a whole.

If your company’s directive is to achieve the highest sales goal possible within a given time frame, then you must plan, communicate, and observe the main key functions of your people that can produce the results. Proper delegation of duties, implementing rules, providing good examples to practice, and sharing the outcome whether good or bad, should always be considered as part of your plan for goal forecasting.

A lot of times we expect our staff to magically understand the expectations without communicating or equipping them for success. The preparation phase allows us to set up our teams for the biggest success possible. What resources and tools are going to be required for the success of these goals and accomplishments?

 

Procedures

After completing the list of goals, then you can create the desired outcome for each goal and ensure that your team has everything required to achieve those goals. For example, there are several procedures involved when preparing a good meal: tools, ingredients, and a method. The same is true when creating the right procedures in business. You need to consider everything to set your team up for success and then provide them with information and tools to accomplish those goals.

Although there might be ways to alter one or two of the methods applied to your given procedures, emphasizing the idea and how it impacts the production is the overarching goal. Once you have provided your team with the goal and directive and made sure that they have all the procedures and tools, you are down to the final piece – communication.

 

Communication

Down to the most important strategy which ties both your goal and procedure together. It is communication. Good leaders don’t take this step for granted. They understand that constant communication with their team is the difference between high success and mediocrity.

Communication, when done correctly, allows people to build a relationship and connect to the person, the team, and to the organization. Communication is a job that is never done well without the involvement of a relationship. It is important to build your understructure by founding a good and concrete connection to your people.

Attracting people to the goals and directives means appealing to them on a personal level. Sharing with them how their work affects the team, the brand, and the company. Providing feedback on a regular basis and involving them in the overall strategy goes a long way in building the relationship and provides a clear path for performance.

In our business, we take great care to share our Core Values with our team members, staff, & clients. This way all our workers know what we expect. It allows for us to attract those who have the same values we do and to build a solid infrastructure for our clients. We also have set policies that we make our staff adhere to so that we are all providing the very best service for those that are on our team.

Should you need to know more about how Virtual Employee Professionals can deliver good teamwork and leverage for your business, feel free to set an appointment with me today.