Archive for the ‘Accommodate Them’ Category
“How do you manage someone you’ve never met in person? And how do you gain loyalty from somebody who works for you 10 hours a week?”
These are two of the intriguing questions Justin Crawford asks in his article 4 Tips For Leading Teams Of Freelancers. The article is aimed at leaders and managers who outsource work, but it applies equally if you have telecommuters and other Out of Office workers in your team.
It only offers four pieces of advice, but they are valuable to any manager faced with this situation for the first time.
If you’re working in a distributed team, you might already know about some of the more common tools and apps, such as Dropbox, Evernote, iCloud, GoToMeeting, Google Hangouts, Skype, Buffer, and Hootsuite. These are all wonderful tools, but there are also a whole host of other tools available. We’re going to share some of them today, so you know about them and can consider whether it’s worth integrating them into your workplace.
Listen to the episode here:
- HiTask: A task management tool
- Trello: A workflow management tool
- Gmail Streak: A basic CRM integrated with Gmail
- HipChat: A chatroom application designed to help teams collaborate
- Slack: Competitor to HipChat, with many of the same features
- Sqwiggle: A simple chatroom aimed at distributed teams
- IDoneThis: A simple tool for teams to share what they’ve achieved each day
Connecting with the world:
Often, people in distributed teams don’t have the same personal connections with remote team members as they have with people in the same office. This is natural, of course, but can be overcome. Creating better personal connections leads to more rewarding work, better collaboration, and higher productivity.
Listen to the episode here:
- Read the Harvard Business Review article How Virtual Teams Can Create Human Connections Despite Distance
Can the manager of a team work Out of Office?
The answer seems obvious: if team members can be managed effectively when they work Out of Office then their manager ought to be able to lead her team from Out of Office too.
Natalya Sabga lists the traits needed to manage effectively from Out of Office:
- Know Your Team: different team members will require different management styles
- Be Consistent: establish clear communication channels, so your team members know when and how to contact you (see the Cooperate With Them chapter of Out Of Office)
- Be Patient: accommodate team members who might not have the same flexibility as you (see the Accommodate Them chapter of Out Of Office)
- Maintain the Standard: out of sight, does not mean out of mind; a buddy system can help
- Be Present: schedule some face time, especially for office-bound colleagues
- Celebrate Success: reward your team when goals are achieved
Read Natalya’s article in full on the Work Shifting blog.
In the Accommodate Them chapter of Out Of Office we describe how a Digital Nomad can take responsibility for accommodating their less-mobile colleagues. One particular area where this is so is in managing differences in time zones. WorkShifting.com has published an interesting blog article by guest author Erran Carmel on precisely this topic. Carmel coins the term “Zoner” for someone who is adept at accommodating colleagues in different time zones . Carmel also describes some of the tools and tricks Zoners use to deal with time zones.
If you regularly need to accommodate different time zones as part of your work then read Carmel’s article in full.
In the book, we’ve talked about the three big benefits of an Out of Office work style: convenience, comfort and freedom. However, that’s not all, and might not even be the biggest benefit, according to a recent study of telecommuting workers. That study suggests the biggest benefit of telecommuting is … avoiding pesky colleagues!
This isn’t just about “bad” people, although most offices have their fair share of them. Colleagues aren’t necessarily pesky by nature; it’s just that they tend to interrupt, gossip, involve you in office politics, and waste time in meetings. All of these things can increase stress and frustration in your work environment.
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