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The world is becoming more connected every single day with the mass adoption of the internet over the past 20 years. And it’s leading to more companies hiring remotely. According to the fifth annual “Freelancing in America 2018” report put together by Upwork, the freelance workforce in the U.S. has grown from 53 to 56.7 million Americans in the past five years. Those 56.7 million people make up 35% of the American workforce.
As a business owner, the idea of running your company 100% remote is no longer a pie in the sky. Rather, it is a reality for millions of digital businesses around the world that are tapping into the growing freelance workforce and using technology to creatively communicate with the people they hire.
While running a remote company has become a possibility in the past 10 years for the reasons mentioned above, it is still not an easy undertaking and it requires the right tools and policies to properly implement and scale.
Since 2009, I’ve been at the forefront of building remote companies and workforces by experimenting with the new technologies and platforms available for finding talent online, communicating with remote hires and managing tasks in the digital world. Below, I’ll outline the four unique communication methods that can help you build a completely remote organization from anywhere in the world.
1. Daily Check-Ins
Running a remote company raises the challenge of staying on the same page with the people you’ve hired, some of whom could be halfway across the world. If you were operating out of an office, you could easily walk over to their desk to ask them a question and receive updates on their work. When running a company where your entire staff is remote, you still need that ability to check in and stay on the same page. To overcome the barrier of distance, use tools like Skype, Slack, WhatsApp and Viber for real-time communication.
As your remote team continues to grow, set clear expectations on how you’d like to receive daily updates from everyone. I personally recommend asking each person on your team to check in with you using one of the real-time communication apps mentioned above when they start working and when they finish working. As they start, you ask that they let you know what they’ll be working on for the day. Then when they finish, they send a short report of what they were able to achieve, any issues they ran into and any questions they have for you.
By setting up a clear channel of real-time communication, you gain the ability to stay in close touch with your remote team, even if you’re thousands of miles away.
2. Weekly All-Hands Meetings
As your organization grows, it’s critical that you build and maintain a company culture that inspires and motivates the people you’ve hired. One of the best ways to bring everyone together from your remote company is to schedule a weekly all-hands meeting where you share updates, set goals for the week, brainstorm new solutions and learn more about one another.
I personally recommend using Skype or Slack chat for your all-hands meeting, as it will be the simplest way for everyone to get together in one place without having to deal with potential audio and video issues.
3. Weekly Team Or Individual Meetings
On top of the weekly all-hands meeting, which is meant for company culture and team motivation, it’s important that you personally keep in close touch with the people and teams that you’re managing.
Each week or every other week, depending on the size of your company, schedule a team meeting or 1-on-1 meeting where you dive deeper into the goals for that specific person or team. Provide a vision of where the team is headed and keep pushing them forward.
For these types of meetings, a phone call or video chat may be better than an instant message chat. It will give you the opportunity to get to know your team better on a personal level and build a stronger bond that is hard to create without the existence of an office where you can have regular physical interactions.
4. Quarterly 1-1 Evaluation Meetings
Whether you’re running your company out of an office or completely remote, people like to receive feedback and they like the ability to have their voices heard. Make sure that you schedule quarterly 1-on-1 meetings with each person on your remote team with the goal of letting them know what they’re doing well, where they can improve and what the vision of the company is at that point in time.
By giving your personal attention to each person on a quarterly basis, you further build a relationship of trust with them that will motivate them to work harder, learn more and stay with your company longer. The quarterly evaluations can also be an amazing opportunity to learn about the specifics of the company — specifics around which you can then create new plans for improvement.
To start and scale a 100% remote company today, you need sound communication methods. You need proper systems in place so that you can easily manage and lead the people that you’ve hired to build your remote company.
If you’re a business owner already running a remote company, evaluate your current communication methods and incorporate any of the four mentioned in this article if you don’t utilize them already.
If you’re a business owner who is starting to think about hiring remotely, take these four remote communication methods into account as you build out your management philosophy for running a remote company.
At the end of the day, the tools are now available to make remote companies possible — it’s up to you to utilize them and prioritize communication within your remote culture.
December 28, 2018 at 09:08AM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs