Do you have founders in different countries, or maybe you already have several key team members stretched across several time zones? Perhaps you have visions of managing your team from some tropical location someday and joining the ranks of the “location independent”?
Polychrome’s global team is spread out and nearly everyone works remotely. Here are some of the key things that keep our business running smoothly and everyone moving toward common company goals..
Share Your Company’s Branding Identity with Employees
Keeping your team’s goals aligned with your company’s ideals is very important. Make sure your team is clear about where you’re headed and how you intend to get there. An easy way to do this is to give everyone access to a copy of your Brand Vision and refer to it when it seems people are getting off track. Use key phrases from your ideals and your mission in everyday dialogue with your team to keep everyone on the same page.
Make It Easy for Employees to Be Heard
It is essential to ensure that your team feels they are listened to and that you make it easy for them to voice concerns and to contribute new ideas. Always invite questions and feedback; make it clear that their opinion is valued. Don’t be afraid to give and receive professional criticism, but all feedback should be centered around growth of the company and the individuals on your team. When running a team remotely, it is important to establish a protocol for how different kinds of information and feedback can be shared so individuals feel comfortable speaking up. Regular touch base video chats, channels to voice sensitive issues more discreetly, and open forum areas to chat are all options to keep communication flowing.
Use a Private Facebook Group
Private Facebook groups are are an effective way to share information, announcements, and links to the entire team. The entire team can use the group to share helpful tips and updates, as well as tutorials or videos. They can also be used to celebrate achievements and promote accomplishments of members both inside and outside your organization. Since these groups are perfect for interaction, team members should be encouraged to use them to foster a spirit of open communication with the whole team – this can be that open forum to chat as mentioned above. Having new members write introductions upon joining the team is a great way to get communication started.
Cultivate an Atmosphere of Learning and Mentorship
Try to schedule webinars and online workshops with a group to encourage brainstorming. Make sure you share new techniques you’ve learned and encourage others to do the same. This ties back into the Facebook group as you can share podcasts, other blogs, books, cultural events, etc. that would be interesting and inspiring for your group.
If anyone makes a mistake, make sure to call their attention to it and offer suggestions to fix it, but trust them to fix the mistake and learn from this. Examine if this is a learning opportunity for the group or if it calls for a change in policy or procedure for your company.
Fear of being wrong can really kill creativity, so encourage open lines of communication throughout the team on various platforms so members of the group feel like they have peer support. Create an atmosphere where people feel free to share ideas and take some risks. Make sure to allow sharing of experiences that might not seem directly related to work or the product or service you’re selling – you never know where your next big insight will come from.
Apps to Share Data
You will need a reliable system of exchanging data between individual team members as well as to disburse it through the whole team. Platforms like Google Docs, and Outlook can be used to keep running to-do lists for team members, shared spreadsheets of data, and store protocol for new hires or clients.
Utilize cloud-based services such as Dropbox and Hightail. These allow you to easily share files and choose who can see, edit, and download them. They are for anything you want members to have access to updated information. Some of these platforms also allow for commenting and documents markup. They can also be a great way to share documents with clients if that is something your company needs.
Our team also relies on Pinterest to share imagery and start building our ideas on trend direction. You can invite others to contribute to pinboards and can even leave comments on what they have pinned. An additional perk is that Pinterest allows you to make some boards ‘Secret’ so they are only viewable to those you have invited.
Tools for Team Management and Managing Workflow
Managing workflow can be trickier when you are all working remotely. Luckily, there are no shortage of cloud-based services that can help. Google Docs’ calendars and task lists can help team members stay on task, set meetings, and respond to invites. Facebook groups can be used as an open call to ask people for availability to work on open projects. Asana is great project management tool with many options for managing workflow and delegating tasks.
There are several online resources for tracking time and creating timesheets that tie into accounting and invoicing. Many of these will allow more than one user to import hours, keep track of projects, and submit expenses. Resources such as Zoho, offer basic packages or trial periods that are free with restrictions and more features when you opt in for the paid plan. and project management software to help with team management.
These cloud-based platforms allow you to keep business running smoothly and also help keep your team on task.
Longtime veterans of the apparel industry; upstarts in the illustration field; visionary trend forecasters … our aim is to put this passion and experience to work providing a fresh perspective in design that reflects the direction we predict the marketplace will be headed in. We are excited to provide a convenient online marketplace for original print repeat artwork specifically for the fashion apparel and lifestyles industries. We are committed to making our client’s work easier – our print artwork is not only fresh and attractive, but also user-friendly and is designed to help cut down development time for your design team. Find out how here. Want to find out more and keep in touch with us? Follow our social profiles below:
Featured image credit: Forbes