Four Easy Steps to Building an Effective Remote Team

Andy Shedden
Creative Director

Lots of businesses are in the midst of transitioning to a work-from-home model; and whether or not the home office is here to stay...

Lots of businesses are in the midst of transitioning to a work-from-home model; and whether or not the home office is here to stay, there are some considerations that should impact how remote employees communicate.

Teams play a critical role in lots of workplaces-- but how does a brand retain a strong team when it's time to go remote? It boils down to four key steps:

Maintaining (or building) company culture in the cloud

Having a digital asset management platform in place

Prioritising different things during the recruitment process

Tweaking supervisors' managerial skills

1. Building Culture in the Cloud

It's easy to think that building culture within remote teams is difficult; but company culture is essential to a brand's longevity and industry impact. It takes a great team culture to build a great brand-- but how does a business foster culture in the cloud?

The good news is that there are plenty of easy steps companies can take to build culture amongst remote workers:

  • Communication must be made simple: Sometimes, obstacles to communicating with coworkers create challenges-- even in physical workspaces. This risk is increased tenfold in the cloud. Communication must be easy. This usually requires that brands use a host of tools (like Slack for quick chats and HIVO for automated project communication and digital asset management).
  • Don't forget to recognise and welcome employees: In a large office, it's common for well-performing employees and new hires to get a little special attention. This should still happen remotely, too. Try allowing new members of the team to send out introduction emails or give them floor space to say hello during virtual meetings
  • Emphasise company culture in the way people work: There are important questions remote teams can ask themselves to determine whether they're facilitating a company culture. How does the team talk to customers? How does the team communicate with one another? How much work does everybody do (or not do)?

2. Having a Digital Asset Management Platform in Place

Even at the best of times when working as a team from the office employees spend far too much time managing, organising, sharing and distributing digital assets. As organisations provide employees with the flexibility to work from home, cloud-based solutions are critical to ensuring collaboration remains high and teams are productive. Arguably one of the most critical cloud solutions – especially for marketing and creative teams - is a digital asset management platform (DAM).

Specifically a DAM assists a remote team in the following ways:

  • Remote access to assets: If your team is planning to work remotely, you need to ensure that everyone can access the files and assets they need. This can be a challenge when you use in-house servers or hard drives, as employees need to take the time to manually find, download and send individual assets to remote team members. This challenge can increase 10-fold if you’re working with large files that can’t be sent over email.
  • A cloud-based DAM ensures everyone has the ability to securely access, upload, download and share the assets they need to continue working efficiently – no matter where they are. Unlike other online file-storage solutions, a DAM also offers fully customised permission settings, allowing you to limit who can access, download and share any given set of assets.
  • Easy management of projects: A DAM acts as a centralised library for all file types, including Adobe Creative Cloud files and Office documents. This capability provides remote teams with an efficient way to pass-off projects from one person to another, without worrying about challenges faced when sending large files through email or delays experienced downloading design packages.
  • Advanced sharing features, like Collections and Brand Portals, allow you to share a grouping of files effortlessly, to both internal and external users. With the options to send via email or shared url links, team collaboration has never been easier.
  • Improved and automated communication: With a remote team, it’s crucial to keep communication flowing and ensure everyone is up to date on current initiatives. The HIVO platform supports communication via our Initiatives, Briefs and Task features, meaning you only ever have to login to the one platform.

Additionally, with integrations into content management systems like Wordpress and Adobe products such as InDesign, users can easily access approved content from their HIVO Library, as it’s directly embedded into these platforms. Seamless integration makes it easy for users to attach assets to specific projects, maintain version control, provide edits, approve content and more.

3. Different Recruiting Priorities

So, when it's time to hire new employees, brands need to look for certain skill sets in their ideal candidates. If somebody is going to join a team in the cloud, they should demonstrate:

  • More self-sufficiency than the average person
  • A great match to the brand's culture: Because brand culture is so tricky to build online, it's important to hire candidates who promote it at the outset
  • A great profile of personality: It's okay to have one slacker or temperamental person on a team when there's space to escape and it's easy to hold people accountable; it's much harder when a group needs to facilitate work online. Hire people who display great independent personalities to minimise issues
  • The ability to work without supervision: Some people work well with supervision-- and that's okay! But those people might not be suited to remote work for every brand. New hires should be able to work independently without somebody breathing down their necks.

4. Improving and Changing Managerial Skills

Managing a remote team is not the same as managing a group of people who work in one physical location. When it comes time to outsource work from home agents, it's essential that the person or entity managing them:

  • Highlights and rewards achievement
  • Is willing to facilitate frequent check-ins
  • Exemplifies the idealised communication skills that would benefit every team member
  • Is explicit in their expectations

In summary, remote teams can perform really well, it just takes time, commitment and effort. The key to working remotely in the cloud lies in a little flexibility and a lot of communication. When businesses build remote teams that retain company culture, offer skills that translate well to working online, and are headed by capable supervisors, they take steps to facilitate success.

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