It's commonplace to see digital nomads working on their laptops while they're traveling to beaches and exotic places. It's easier for them now because of mobile computing and the accessibility of WiFi.
You may be one of these nomads or you may be someone who manages a remote team from your office. Either way, you'll be collaborating with others who are in another country, and the only way you all communicate is through a VoIP client like Skype and chat apps on your smartphone.
It's fun and exciting to make a living while you're traveling from one place to another. You enjoy meeting new people as well as see different sights and taste different cuisines around the world. But, how do you manage your team remotely and how do you successfully collaborate with a global workforce? Well, you can do that and more when you follow these tips.
Choose the Right People
The first step is choose the right people to hire. As part of your team, these people will serve as an extension of you. They'll need to be as skilled and smart as you, or even better than the people who work with you stateside.
They must be self-motivated. People who are self-motivated will find the reason and strength to complete a task, even when it's challenging. They don't give up or need another person to encourage them. You want people who can be trained without much hand-holding. They may like to work alone, but it's much better if they can work with a geographically dispersed team.
They must have good communications skills. Don't just look for people who can write and speak fluently in English, or any language you prefer. Communication is not only about conversations; it's about being open to new ideas and communicating one's thoughts and feelings with the rest of the team. Encourage your team to engage with you on a first-name basis, and share their insights during meetings or morning huddles.
They must be results-oriented. When you have people on your team who are focused on producing results, you'll never have to worry about failure. You know that they'll reach the goals you've set out to do in your business strategy. Choose people who know how to plan, set their work schedule, and pace themselves without working their minds and bodies to the ground.
They have to be open and honest. It's difficult to measure a person's honesty, so you'll have to select your team members by gut feel. You can sense how trustworthy a person is when you talk to him or her face-to-face or through a video call. Ask probing questions that require the other person to reveal parts of themselves, such as personal experiences and their opinions on current events.
It's also important that you choose people who are straightforward when communicating with you. You may see some of them toe the line between being rude and being candid. But, these are the kind of people who don't need prodding to share with you the challenges they may be facing in their work, their suggestions for making their work easier and more efficient, and other feedback.
Get the Right Gear
When we say gear, we mean the technology you may need to use to improve productivity and make communication easier between you and your team. Ask any digital nomad you know and they will tell you their favorite tools to use for online meetings, screen sharing, collaboration, document sharing, etc.
But, setting up a system for communicating and collaborating with your team before you start working with team is important. It's part of your workflow. The smoother the process, the more efficient and productive you and your team will be. An example of applying this idea is the use of Google Docs and Spreadsheets, Evernote, Skype and Hangouts to create and edit documents, share feedback in real-time, and send the final output on the same day.
Partner with a Reputable Outsourcing Company
You may prefer to outsource, which does not require a huge investment. You don't need to pay for a new office or add more people to your people. All you pay for is the work produced by outsourced staff.
To make outsourcing work in your favor, lay down a strategic plan before you even start hiring a remote team. Lay out the tasks you want to outsource. Differentiate between tasks that require your attention and tasks that can be done by your staff.
Set a work schedule that revolves around the times you'll need to meet with your team regularly. Make sure you have at least one hour of overlap between your time zone and theirs. And, include the risks and threats that you may encounter, the ways you can mitigate those risks, how you'll evaluate the overall performance of your team, and the key performance indicators (KPIs) that will tell you whether you've reached your goals or not.
Being in an outsourcing partnership means you're in a mutually beneficial relationship. You collaborate with your outsourcing provider. And, as the leader of your team you nurture a spirit of cooperation and trust among the members.