Managing a remote team can seem daunting at first. You're not in the same office as your staff, and the distance presents the question, "Will this work out?"
We have plenty of clients who will answer with an emphatic "Yes!" It will work out. But planning and thoughtfulness are needed to get the most out of the arrangement.
For instance, I'm not a fan of software that tracks remote employees' computer activity because such setups are adversarial and easily tricked. I want team members to feel valued, trusted, and motivated to help the company thrive. This requires healthy communication.
Daily close-of-business reports from staff offer accountability and enhanced collaboration. I ask for this from all employees, not just my remote team. I want to know an employee's goals for the day, whether they accomplished them, what obstacles they faced, and what assistance they need from me. I also ask employees to rate their day on a scale of one to five.
Here are some tips on implementing close-of-business (COB) reports with your staff:
- Set Clear Expectations: Ensure everyone understands the purpose of the COB report. This form of journaling benefits individuals, not just the business. It helps employees stay on track. It's also a way for individuals to showcase their work and reflect on their progress.
- Define the Format: Choose a consistent format everyone can follow. Whether it's a specific document template, a form on a project management tool, or a structured email, make sure it's accessible and straightforward.
- Promote Brevity: Use bullet points, numbered lists, and concise language to keep reports short and to the point. This will save time for both the writer and the reader.
- Incorporate Feedback Loops: Use the COB reports as a foundation for feedback and continuous improvement. Allow team members to suggest changes to the reporting process to meet their needs better.
- Recognize the Two-Way Street: You still need to meet regularly face-to-face with your employees to discuss their work and reports. Praise your employees when they've met their goals, and ask what help they need when they face struggles. Share some of your goals and obstacles and how you've failed and succeeded in overcoming them. I like to meet weekly with team members.
- Don't Let Reports Slide: The reports lose any benefit if you don't commit to them as a fundamental part of your team's communication process. Look at this as an ongoing conversation. If you let communication drift into silence with one person, another employee will find out and test whether they can stop offering feedback. Before long, you'll be operating in the dark. The job is to make sure the conversation continues. The best way to do that is to be an attentive and empathetic communicator with everyone. I'll have more on that later.
I hope these tips help. If you wish to talk shop about business management, I'd love that. My husband and I run six successful businesses and take great pleasure in sharing what we know. Want to know more? Click here to set up a meeting at your convenience.