How to build and work with a distributed team
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We’ve created a quick guide for you to get started with transforming your company into a remote one. We all know that the secret behind every good CEO is delegation. So, before you jump in with this content, please read our article “How CEOs Can Help Their Newly Remote Teams Survive the Next Few Months” where we’ll explain how to organize the team that will implement the changes required for this digital transformation.
If you already have a team of allies and a system of committed middle management ready, let’s get started!
Sit Down and Think
You’re the visionary. You convey the company’s values and are the reason why the core team is there with you. This won’t take long and it will save everybody a lot of time.
Lead the change by:
- Writing down your core values. They’ll be your compass for the following steps. Even if they’re just a single word, rewrite them.
Asking yourself, “What do I want from the team?” Try to include the following topics:
- Attendance: Are people expected to go to the office at all? If so, write down the exact times when this is going to happen. For example, some companies might decide that certain meetings will take place in the office. Others might decide to turn their office into hot desks. Ask yourself why to evaluate your own answers given the health recommendations in your area.
- Working Hours: Will you work better as a team if you set clear working hours? We recommend including a certain amount of flexibility. One idea is to set 6 working hours where the full team works at the same time. For the other 2 hours, let team members decide when they work, according to their preferences and obligations. This will help them maintain a good work-life balance.
- Specifics: Think about the specifics of your company. Is 80% of your team customer service? How can they adapt to the situation? Are 70% of your team developers? Think about what they’ll need for the transformation to remote. At this point, don’t think about those teams that don’t make up the majority. We’ll think about their specific needs later. Just focus on the big picture.
Going to your trusted team of allies for this operation and using them as a sounding board – once you’ve finished steps 1 and 2, of course. For this, you’ll need to do the following:
- Create a safe space and explain that what you’re going to present is open for discussion. They know the team’s needs and reactions better, so listen to them.
- Start the meeting by presenting your value compass. This is the only part of the meeting that can’t be discussed, the rest is all a work in progress. Make sure that you leave this very clear as the following steps will require their engagement.
- Finish the meeting to finish with a clear idea of what you’ll want from the team. This will be the goal.
- Present your ideas and ask for feedback on every point. Collect this feedback and leave the meeting with a clear map of what remote work will mean for you.
How to build and work with a virtual team from Managing Virtual Teams
Help Team Members
Now you know what you want from team members. But how will the company help them do what you’ve decided? It’s time to get together with your allies and think about your team.
- What physical objects does my team need to do the work that is required? Do you need to send comfortable chairs to those that don’t have them? Do you need to send white backdrops to your sales team so they can have meetings with the proper background? Do you need to pay for the team’s internet? This might be required based on the country you’re in, so make sure to check the law, too.
- What processes do we need to put in place so they can achieve those goals and make sure your company has a successful remote transformation? You’ll definitely need to increase the number of check-ins that middle management does with the team. Not to monitor them, but to check on how they’re doing. You’ll also need more meetings between teams. Think about all the previous in-office meetings you had as well as the ones you’ll need to put in place now.
- What tools do the different departments need to work remotely? Think about how tools are going to support the processes that you want to see happen. We’re experts in remote work tools. Contact us for help.
- How will we help the team stay physically healthy? Besides chairs, monitors, and so on, create an ergonomic guide and daily stretching groups so that people can maintain a minimum level of fitness.
- How will we help the team stay mentally healthy? W4H and remote work aren’t easy. We all know that when we’re not mentally well, we can’t perform at work. At MVT, we have a network of psychologists that specialize in remote work and can help you with this point by creating strategies or by offering a direct hotline for your team. Read more about it here.
Create a Special Budget
- Yes, these are exceptional times and you’ll need to create a special budget for them, making sure to include office material transport, tools, new meetings you didn’t account for previously, etc.
Train Your Team
- Team Members and Team Leaders: More than likely, you’ll see your team leaders, coordinators, project managers, etc., taking on a lot of protagonism. They’ll be your real allies, so think about them. They’re facing a very sharp turn. Help them adapt safely by providing training for the new situation in the shape of webinars, workshops, and/or daily tips. They need your help. We’re experts in making these kinds of transitions, talk to us and we’ll provide the necessary training for your team to perform well while working remotely.
- Human Resources: There’s a new way of hiring, a new way of working, a new idea of what employee retention means, and a new jungle to acquire talent from. Your human resources team needs to shift their mindset and the sooner they do it, the better. They’ll need training for that, so help them with this remote transformation by putting them in contact with experts that have more than 10 years of experience.
- Setting clear expectations is going to be key. Communicate all the work that you’ve done to your team and set clear, objective, and numerical expectations. Remember that expectations go two ways: from the company to the team members and from the team members to the company. Your team leaders are the ambassadors for the change, so make sure they’re the ones who are doing a good job at communicating your expectations and offering a living example of what you want to achieve as a remote company.
Create KPIs and Monitor Them
- Create a set of KPIs to measure if the changes you have implemented are enough or if you need to increase some aspects of it. Maybe you’ll see a decrease in performance or an increase in stress. You need to feel the pulse of your company so that you can tweak the different aspects and have a company that runs perfectly; a company where people work comfortably and happily.
We know this is a lot. Work with us and save time and frustrations. Your company is going to save money and minimize the risk of making mistakes that can have a negative effect on your team. Walk this new path with us. We’re experts in remote work. Contact us here.