More and more companies are discovering that many of the best ideas are contrived from beyond their office doors. In fact, the number of people who regularly work-at-home (who aren’t self-employed) have increased by 140% since 2005, nearly 10 times faster than the rest of the workforce population. As a result, more creatives are enjoying the benefits from being free of conventional office spaces.
Working in the same space every day can be stifling for creatives. New ideas spurn from new environments and experiences, and working out of the office makes it easier for creatives of all kinds to find avenues of inspiration in the world around them.
Managers may find themselves intimidated by leading teams they interact with virtually on a part (or full) time basis. However, managers can also reap benefits from having a team that works remotely as long as they are able to keep their team on task. If you haven’t worked with a virtual team before, or if your company is thinking about experimenting with one, you will want to ensure that you:
- Have a way to track productivity and manage your projects
- Establish a regular meeting schedule
- Develop a bond with your team and keep the lines of communication open
Once you prepared to manage a one, here are six of the many benefits that you will enjoy by having a team work remotely:
Fewer Work Distractions
Provided that your team has the discipline to work remotely effectively, they can find themselves in an environment where co-workers aren’t be interrupting them with questions or gossip every few minutes. If someone in your team is in the middle of an intensive creative effort, working remotely can better provide them an environment where they can focus on the trial and error involved in the creative process.
If the project requires collaboration or if a question needs to be answered, communicating with the rest of the team is still possible. Video chat, email, and group messaging allow you to keep in touch with anyone you wish to talk to. Working remotely allows you and your team to stay in touch while also avoiding the distraction of unnecessary communication that’s much likelier to happen in person.
Your Team Can Improve Their Research Skills
Working remotely can inspire your team to look up answers on their own. Instead of typing a question on instant messenger and waiting for a reply, they can find the answers they need by using search engines, your company website, Wiki page, etc. Team members who work remotely should be self-motivated and results-driven if they want to remain out of the office. Learning to be self-sufficient is not only a great skill to have as a remote worker, but it’s a skill that can assist you and your team members with coming up with new ideas in the future.
You and Your Team Can Create Your Own Schedule
Not everyone is at their best during traditional office hours. Some creatives are more efficient in the evening or even in the middle of the night. Working remotely allows for your team to define a work schedule that best fits your needs.
Not everything has to work around 9-5, especially project based deliverables. Given that your remote team is likely working in multiple time zones, striving for a synchronized work day will be difficult anyway. You should ensure that your team remains productive and hold regular group meetings and one-on-ones as necessary to determine what progress has been made. Unless it’s disruptive to your ability to be an effective manager, your team should be able to work when they feel they will be the most productive. Most managers will find that their teams are more productive this way.
However, it’s important to note that when you create your own schedule, you need to stick to it. Consistency also makes for more efficient work. The less consistent you are, the less productive you will become.
Your Team Can Relocate Without Having to Relocate
Some projects can take months—even years to complete. You can’t always guarantee that the team that you start a project with will remain entirely intact by the time the project reaches completion. One of the biggest reasons for people having to leave a company is because they are moving elsewhere. If you or one of your team members are working remotely and have to move, no one has to quit their job and find a new one. This results in higher retention and less worry about having to train new employees to replace those who have left.
Just because you’re buying a new home or your spouse’s office is transferring them to another city doesn’t mean that you or a member of your team has to leave a job that they love. If you like the company you’re working at, you may be able to stay with them and pick up where you left off in a new environment.
Working remotely is a still a new concept for a lot of people, but if you are able to manage a virtual team, you may find it to be both professionally and personally rewarding.