Hendricks is a self-proclaimed tech, social
media and environmental addict. He has
written for many major publishers such as
National Geographic, Technorati and The
Huffington Post. He has also worked with
a variety of startups around the globe as
well as larger advertising agencies in the
United States and the UK.
The most critical factor for a remote
team to work effectively is a clear
vision. Every morning, team members
have to get out of bed and motivate
themselves to contribute to the team
effort. Without clear purpose, the team
has less motivation to move the project
forward. Ways that leaders can consis-
tently keep their team on track include:
• Allowing the team to create the team
vision statement together during
the project kickoff meeting. Be sure
all team members contribute, and
ask those who are not speaking up
to offer something. It’s imperative
every member take ownership
of the project vision.
• Adding a clear, precise vision statement on internal email signatures,
and encouraging team members
to do the same.
• Encouraging use of the vision
statement at the beginning
of all team meetings.
• During one-on-ones, asking
subordinates to apply the vision
to a personal story and make it
meaningful to their life.
Whether it’s having a daily scrum or
a weekly status meeting, consistently
working together as a team and
understanding the value of the status
meeting will allow the participants
to be more effective. James Matrell
from Due suggests that the meeting’s
objective should be making sure
the project is on track, anticipating
roadblocks, and reassigning any tasks
or due dates that aren’t working.
If the remote team is all in the same
city, they can meet in a co-working
environment. If they are hundreds
of miles apart, a virtual solution with
video is sufficient.
Tips for better status meetings include:
• Middle of the week status meetings
such as Tuesdays or Wednesdays
that allow Mondays for catch-up.
• Create an agenda template for status
meetings, and codes for your status.
Allow each member to quickly go
through their portion of the project
within 5 minutes, only focusing on
problem areas they need team help on.
• Create meeting rules at the beginning
of the project. These rules should
include staying on topic, keeping on
time, listening and not using electronic
devices so that the meeting is effective
and short. Meetings are expensive,
and your team cannot afford to have
unnecessarily long meetings.
Andrew Filev from Wrike, a remote
collaboration tool, tells us that one of
the biggest challenges for remote
teams is constant, clear communication.
Creating a detailed communication
strategy that every team member is
required to sign off on, and face
consequences if they fail, is one of the
best tools for a remote team. When to
email, call, use video conferences
and when they must be signed into
chat are requirements of an effective
• Each team member must be signed
into chat during overlapping times,
so that all team members are on
at least one hour at the same time
each day. Consider this time your
“water cooler” time where everyone
can catch up.
• Everyone must check email and
their project management tasks
twice a day: once at the beginning,
once at the end.
• If submitting assets or code, they must
also submit once a day, even if unfin-
ished, so other members can check
and keep each member accountable.
This will vary depending on project,
but creating turn-key workflows and
processes will make it simple for
employees to focus on getting work
done and knowing what to do.
• Keep workflows and processes
available in a central hub for
employees to find so they aren’t
• Weekly one-on-ones with the leader
and each team member where
feedback is given. The feedback
is direct, including how they can
improve, if projects are behind, or
discussion of how to communicate
better with the team.
• Determine where each employee
needs improvement, assign a coach
and give guidance on a person
or tools to help them improve on
Building an online team can be
incredibly successful if done correctly
Keep in mind that the people you
choose matter the most—training
can always be provided.
Republished with permission of Forbes Media
LLC © copyright 2015