A virtual workforce is ideal. It costs your company less and it costs the employees less. So if you see its merits and enjoying finding self-motivated individuals, managing a virtual team may be the way to go.

Or perhaps you already have a virtual team but it sometimes feels like herding cats. Maybe Pam is logging off her computer at 6 PM just as you need her most since you’re in Los Angeles. Or maybe you just really want that person to be there in person. No matter your concerns, this article will show you how to manage a virtual team from virtually anywhere. Who knows, maybe one day you’ll buy an island like Richard Branson and enjoy managing from paradise.

Work Remote Yourself

Working remote yourself sets a good example for others. Because what often happens is employees feel like if they aren’t in the office, they get passed up for promotions. But you can crush this fear by not being in the office yourself. And after all, good managers never ask their employees to do something they wouldn’t do themselves. So figure out a new place to work and ditch the office. Or, if you already work remote, set a good example for your employees by sharing how much you enjoy the lifestyle.

Keep an Adherence to Guidelines

Working remote and working flex hours are not the same thing. Make sure that if your employees are supposed to be response from 9-5 (their time) that they are responsive. Here are some things your employees should never be doing during the work day:

  • Doing laundry
  • Babysitting the neighbor’s children
  • Playing with the dog
  • Chatting with the UPS guy
  • Watching TV (my, gosh)
  • Making pancakes

Pay to Keep Things Organized

Don’t look at the money you’ll save by having remote employees as 100% saved. Some of that money needs to go into managing a virtual team. Here’s what you need to buy to keep your team productive and happy:

  • Computers
  • Headsets
  • External peripherals such as keyboards, mice, laptop charging dock, etc.
  • Time tracking software
  • and whatever other tools are necessary for your virtual team to be productive

This is money spent that will soon find its way back into your pocket. Remember, each minute your team spends in frustration is a minute they are not advancing the mission of the company. Now that… is expensive!

Be Aware of Time Zones + Holiday’s

 

If your virtual team is located all over the planet, it’s important to keep this in mind. For starters, remember what time zones everyone resides in. Because you may ask them to turn something in by Wednesday. For you, that’s 2 days. But for someone around the globe, that may only give them a matter of hours to complete the task.

Also make sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to holiday celebrations. Respect the holiday’s of your employees. You don’t want to be the mean boss that makes them work on their country’s independence day.

Know Your Limitations to Hiring Foreign Employees

Managing a virtual team shouldn’t be hard – as long as you have a good team around you.

You may try to save money by hiring foreign employees. This is okay but it has its limitations: things like language barrier and cultural differences may not make them a good fit. What you may notice is that while you may first look for employees in the Philippines, you may soon be looking to hire back on your native soil.

Visits!

Finally, consider making visits! This keeps the human connection real. People have better relationships when they know each other in person. So get out and about and pay your employees a visit. Meet up at a coffee shop or anywhere just to say hi and talk a little shop.

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William Lipovsky owns the personal finance website First Quarter Finance. His most embarrassing moment was telling a Microsoft executive, "I'll just Google it."

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