Digital nomads are people who use telecommunications technologies to make their living
while traveling and carrying on their everyday life without a fixed base of operations.
How to Manage a Remote Team as a Digital Nomad
These people tend to work remotely from coffee shops, co-work spaces, public libraries, and other shared spaces. They also tend to work long hours and can make a full-time income with the right skills.
The more popular digital nomadism and remote work become, the more critical the problem
of managing remote teams emerges. Many people would prefer a flexible remote format for
working than the requirement to be in an office every day.
At the same time, this format is not yet traditional, and some organizational factors may be unclear to both workers and team leads.
How do you keep in touch with a remote team? How do you organize people in the most
effective way? How can you avoid losing control and keep your finger on the team’s pulse?
These questions are super-relevant for today’s digital nomads.
We’ve prepared the following tips on this topic to help you reconcile your lifestyle with your job. Let’s get started!
Possible Difficulties in Digital Nomadism
The challenges of a digital nomad lifestyle of working tend to revolve around the difficulties of managing expectations. For example, some people may be concerned about their families’ opinions. As we’ve already noted, digital nomadism is not yet a typical lifestyle.
There can be misunderstandings with your family if they think you are more available at home than you were at the office. This situation can cause your work to be under-appreciated by your parents, partner, or friends.
As a digital nomad, it is perfectly acceptable for you to be an independent contractor. It’s not strange to set your own hours, work when and where you choose or work at your own pace.
Of course, you might have problems sleeping at night, in which case it’s not such a good idea, as this kind of daily regimen can impact your health. It’s best to develop a routine that helps you to get up, work, and go to bed at roughly the same time every day.
The more comfortable you are with being self-employed, the more creative you’ll find you can be.
There is a great deal to be said for working with no constraints other than those you impose
Traveling can be a challenge too for some. Working away from home means you are probably going to have to do everything online. Even if you have access to the internet via your home computer, there will still likely be days when you don’t have reliable wireless or satellite internet connectivity.
Plus, when you travel, how do you make sure everyone in your team is in sync?
Remote management is another issue that some people have struggled with. Being able to leave work behind completely, even though it’s only one computer (or a handful of computers), can be a real benefit. However, this level of convenience also brings potential problems.
Is there adequate power for the amount of data being sent? Can you get help when and where you need it most? Sometimes you might even need physical access to the equipment.
These are just some of the possible difficulties you may run into working remotely. They may not all affect you, but that doesn't mean you shouldn’t be concerned about them.
Every business faces challenges – it’s only to be expected. The key is knowing how to cope with them, so here are some tips on how to manage a remote team.
Remote Team Management
Most of the problems you can expect when working as a digital nomad are going to be connected with communication, especially communication with your colleagues. Even if you do not see each other every day, you need to be confident in one another’s plans and abilities.
How do you achieve this goal?
Use All the Possibilities of the Technology
There is absolutely no one-size-fits-all formula for remote team communication. Everyone has different methods of working from home or on the road. The basic equipment for remote work includes a computer with internet access, a phone, and a good pair of headphones.
This list can also be more expansive, and you can create a checklist for you and your team to make sure you all have everything you need. The use of other tools is up to you, and it’s best to choose the primary method of communication with your team. Some people find it convenient to talk by phone; others prefer to use email or messengers like WhatsApp or Viber.
It is vital to find the approach that works best for all of you. Email is great for large documents, assignment instructions, corporate mailings, etc. Messengers like WhatsApp, Viber, or Slack are good for everyday communication and time-sensitive questions. Phone calls can cause problems if team members are located in different time zones.
So you will probably need to discuss this question. You can also use Google Hangouts, Skype, or Zoom for video calls. This approach can be more convenient than a phone call, and it can enable you to discuss complex questions faster and more effectively than via text.
Besides urgent situations, you can use video calls for weekly or monthly team meetings. Using Google Calendar to plan calls and other events is also a good idea. You may also need to create presentations for your team to illustrate business processes.
This is one more point where technologies can work great: you can use video editors to
make an explainer video or video presentation that can be both informative and exciting. For this purpose, you can use various online tools, such as multi-purpose video maker Fastreel or a more simple tool, Lumen5.
Be Realistic, Set Clear Goals
The first step to making sure that your remote team is consistently staying on task is establishing clear and unambiguous goals and expectations, both for the long term and on
an individual level. When people know what they are working towards, it is easier for them to make progress.
But if they are unsure about where they should be taking the business, it can be challenging to get them to go in a specific direction. This is where a clear-cut idea of what the company needs to do to achieve a set of aims or objectives is invaluable.
Once these goals are set, a clear understanding of the work that needs to be done and the time frame needs to be defined.
Then the actual task of getting the work done can begin. Remote teams, just like those in an office, need to have room to maneuver.
The difference is that, for a remote team, this room will be virtual. When setting goals for the entire team, the issue of task allocation needs to be addressed so that people can work productively.
However, there are a few things remote team members can do to help themselves. One way in which this can be done is by delegating some of the less important tasks so that one person does not hold up other, more critical tasks.
By removing steps that are not vital, you may be able to free up space on the team calendar, enabling workers to take on more tasks and meet more deadlines.
A further way to effectively free up space is to offer incentives to employees who are doing
well and reward them with bonuses or raises. While there is no substitute for a manager’s
insight into their workers’ actual performance, providing bonuses and raises can provide
tangible rewards to those who are performing well.
When coupled with the occasional reminder from the boss about how everyone is performing, this approach can have a positive impact on motivation levels, helping to achieve more desirable results.
Organize Team-Building Exercises
Most people would say that a well-organized team-building event, whether it’s from home or in the office is just as much fun and can be just as successful as any event that involves
If you’ve ever tried to run a structured event, you know what we mean. Trying to get everyone to connect with one another and work together when faced with a common challenge, or just enjoy each other’s company, can present problems.
That’s why many companies are turning to telework and remote team-building events for
their employees’ benefit. You can set the pace and rules, and you do not have to worry
about your employees’ professional success.
You can also choose who you want to invite to the event, as long as you accept the fact that no one is going to run a perfect operation.
You can choose who you want to run the event from the office or run the games yourself and
choose the entertainment and food and, of course, host the actual event from your home or remote location. These days, it is really an easy way to conduct effective business team-building exercises and strengthen ties between employees.
Remote-based events work best when employees are given the freedom to do what they want.
However, business owners and organizers must give people motivation to do the fun activities they love doing. It’s important to remember that, in order for your employees to be productive and enjoy themselves, they need to feel that they are part of a real team and not just working from an email or computer screen.
In a perfect world, this would mean getting together for a pre-determined time and engaging
everyone in some kind of activity that they enjoy doing together. Even with modern technology, this is easier said than done.
Find a Balance Between Total Control and Laissez-Faire
While managing a team that includes employees at different levels and with different
personalities, a successful professional needs to find a middle ground between micro-
management and laissez-faire for each person.
Control, it seems, can be a good thing in the right situations. At the same time, freedom in dealing with details is essential in enabling an employee to prove themself.
However, career-related decisions are rarely easy, and even those which seem so on paper
can be fraught with the potential for conflict. For example, at a job interview, you might be
able to manage to control the tone of the interview, the physical appearance of the
interviewer, or the subtle hints that you make to the hiring manager without being in a
position to disregard or ignore those who are not in line with your aspirations. Control is a
valuable skill and can be used to a significant effect in management.
But when you seek to manage others’ careers your way, it is essential to remember that you might be doing so at the expense of their best interests. Even career advisors can make career-related choices that may adversely affect those they are charged with helping.
Thus, while career management involves a certain amount of control and can be a vital step
towards success, it should never involve disregard for those in different situations.
After all, management is about everyone working together, with each person getting what they want for their individual career. As a result, management professionals can use various
techniques to get themselves and their employees into the best possible positions.
One good practice for handling career-related communications involves identifying how the
speaker’s tone and words affect the listener and learning how to manage that impact.
At the same time, career-related communication involves understanding the various ways in
which others see or perceive a situation and knowing how to adjust your own perception so
that you do not hurt that person’s feelings.
As a result, when managing career issues,
professional speakers practice humility by putting themselves in their audience’s shoes.
Do Not Be Afraid of Unofficial Communication
Unofficial communication is something that has taken working-from-home businesses and
other work-from-home opportunities to a whole new level. Working from home is just about
the most straightforward way anyone can earn a living without making a physical
commitment to anyone.
However, when working from home, the individual needs to ensure that they can build a
good working relationship with their team. If this is not done, then it will be tough for them to
earn a living, let alone have a successful business.
It is straightforward for you to build a team if you are a digital nomad working from home and
other places. It can be even easier if you already have a team working for you. However, if
you are working as an entrepreneur and trying to build a team, then you really do need to
ensure that you get the best results from these people.
One of the best ways in which you can do this is to ensure that you feel free to communicate with your team wherever and whenever they are.
One thing that many people do not realize is that communication is the key to any successful
business. You need to ensure that you are using every opportunity that comes your way to
communicate with your team. The best way to do it is to use messengers.
You can create an unofficial chat or channel where your team can discuss anything informally. Join these conversations, share your thoughts so that people can know you as a person as well as a boss.
Make Your Team Feel Your Presence
A sense of presence is one of the important things that attract people to work with you or
become part of your team. If you are an online marketer or entrepreneur, you know just how powerful having a sense of presence can be.
You can be sitting back in the office, thinking about all the fantastic new products you want to launch and having a sense of presence on the internet, even if you are physically on another continent!
That sense of presence can also translate into sales, customer service, and a desire to help people accomplish their goals. But how can you maintain your sense of presence and keep in touch with your team?
The most important thing is to be available when your team needs you. To be able to reply to a question or to help with a project. Remember to express interest in your team members’ well-being and congratulate them on their successes. It is essential for your colleagues to consider you part of the team and trust you.
Building your own remote team, you will undoubtedly need to draw on your experience of working with a team in an office.
Still, you have to adapt your knowledge to a new format and develop a new management strategy. Even though it can seem complicated, do not get discouraged.
Remote team management is easier than it looks. We can state definitively that the most important component of managing a remote team is communication. Different aspects of conversations play equally important roles: you need to combine a business-like tone and an informal one.
It is essential to arrange team-building events and meet up for business conferences. At the same time, it is important to choose the middle ground in a dialog with each team member so that people have enough freedom but do not feel abandoned.
In fact, the main goal of remote management is to make people feel comfortable. This is the way for a team to work effectively.
Author bio: Victoria is a content manager in Movavi. She specializes in writing user-friendly content and researching complex topics to make them easy to understand in her articles.