The booming technology sector continues to improve the ways employees can efficiently work from home. As companies outsource work to contract employees and utilize virtual assistants, managing your employees is no longer as simple as walking down the hall to their cubicle.
So how do you keep your team moving in the same direction seamlessly no matter their location? This month we give you some of the dos and don’ts of cyber management.
1. Do set up a regular formal or informal pow-wow.
Even in a business without walls, regular communication is vital. Depending on your industry and timetables, schedule weekly or biweekly chat sessions. You can meet via Skype, phone conference or in a live chat session. Some of our favorite project management sites, that include live meeting space, are wiggio.com, basecamp.com and podio.com. Create an agenda with department reports so all employees are on the same page and can have an opportunity to give updates and/or provide feedback. It’s a great time to allow employees to chat about what’s new with them, their family and friends. Adding light conversation allows your team to still feel like a family – even if it’s away from home. Check-in sessions also act as an accountability tool so you can have peace of mind that they are not home just sitting around catching up on the latest episodes of Orange is the New Black.
2. Don’t have them store their own files.
There is a reason cloud storage space is so popular. It’s convenient and it works. If there are crucial documents that multiple employees need access to, and if your company does not have storage space on your website or a remote server to access them, cloud space is a good option. New cloud space sites are entering the market every day: Google Drive, Dropbox, Amazon Cloud Drive, icloud and Microsoft Sky Drive are just a few. Find one that works best with your needs.
3. Do have an employee directory.
What’s the name of the lady handling the press in Utah? What is the best way to reach Darryl in Florida? When everyone is not in the same building, keeping track of who does what and when can be confusing. Establish a company directory that includes the name, title, department and contact information for all of your employees. If each also works on various deadlines, include that in the directory as well. Make sure your directory is accessible to all who may need it and you can put it in that brand new cloud space you created.
4. Don’t look like you have a bunch of people all over the place doing their own thing. You’re still one brand.
Just because you run a virtual company does not mean your credibility is any less than a brick and mortar. Your brand should still be recognizable and uniform. Have company standards, best practices and protocol. For example, all email signatures, customer service methods and public messaging should be identical. You may not all be in one place, but you should be operating as one voice.
5. Do still have fun.
While Dress Down Fridays don’t apply in the virtual company scenario, Fun Fridays still do. Organize quarterly fun. There are a variety of cool things you can do to have fun as a team. Purchase tickets to the latest summer blockbuster and schedule a Friday for all of you to go view it at the same time. Have employees text or email over photos of them heading to the cinema or buying their snacks and Tweet out your Friday Fun from your company Twitter account.