It is only a matter of time before you, the business owner, will want to start your own virtual teams. Then you will want to learn how to manage them effectively. That means you will be crafting remote work guidelines for growing your teams. Telecommuting is now the norm, not the exception. Tech tools like video conferencing, smart devices and high-speed internet have made it possible for your teams to work from home.

This CNBC 2018 report said that 70% of global workers worked-from-anywhere at least once a week. Forbes also said that same year that the same thing happened to 50% of the American workforce.

Remote work is now the norm, not the exception.

No less than Google invested in a two-year study to discover how to write the best remote work guidelines for its 100,000-strong staff. It has dedicated personnel who are distributed in 150 cities located in 50 countries.

You may not have that kind of number yet on your payroll. But chances are, you have tried outsourcing some work to offshore companies to cut overhead costs. You might also have approved your own full-time employees’ request to do telecommuting. That’s why it’s best to start thinking about how to manage offshore groups this early, while their numbers are still manageable. Here are a few solid and proven work guidelines.

Guideline #1:  Set clear expectations

Remember that your virtual groups will be working from different locations and in different time zones. The challenge here in creating work guidelines is making sure that all of you are on the same page. One good beginning is to inform everyone of each other’s tasks and actual places of work. Include the deliverables from each individual. For example, a web designer from Melbourne will know the exact time he can expect the copy from the Dubai-based writer. Easy-to-use project management solutions like Basecamp, Slack,  and Trello can also act as production calendars, messaging groups, and virtual libraries that store accessible files.

Guideline #2:  Be clear about do’s and don’ts

There are bound to be cultural and professional differences among your global teams. Your  work guidelines must set an environment that respects diversity while boosting performance and collaboration. Openness can also defuse any tension very early.

Encourage your remote workers to be honest about words, online behavior, and work practices that make them feel comfortable. For example, a joke about race and gender, no matter how well-meaning, can rub other people the wrong way. Have everyone agree not to use these potentially offensive terms.

Suggestively, bind the team together with universal values that bring about professional respect. Make it a rule be sensitive to the time zone of a team member working in another continent before calling them. For instance, a US-based brand manager’s regular 9-to-5 job hours are the bedtime of his Filipino administrative assistant.

Guideline #3:  Your remote work guidelines must be goal-oriented

Your guidelines should be focused on deliverables

Resist the urge to count minutes worked like a bean counter. This particular temptation usually happens to cost-conscious CEOs. Your guidelines should be focused on deliverables, says a business leader in Forbes. It’s all about fulfilling the responsibilities and tasks on the dates agreed on. While nobody likes slacking, do see the advantage of having an agile telecommuter who can finish in 3 hours what others complete in a week. Then if he asks for a day off, just give it to him as a reward. It’s a fair exchange and will boost morale.

Guideline #4: A structure for measuring growth and performance

Delivering on deadline is not the only indicator for teleworking success. As Tech Republic points out, performance and productivity must also be monitored. How much time did the entire group spend in solving a crisis? Is the shy copywriter interacting more frequently with the client?  What is an agreeable rate for response time to a team leader’s call?

Guideline #5:  Build and implement an effective communication strategy

Communication among the team members and their respective leaders must be continuous and strategic. This part of your work guidelines keeps tabs on the work and engages everyone into becoming part of a productive, harmonious community.

We at HOPLA suggest different kinds of meetings to accomplish certain goals. Weekly teleconferences can resolve issues and move the project forward. Team members can air their need for support in ongoing virtual chat groups. If needed, coaching can be done one-on-one between a project manager and a remote staff member. Then, once every six months, having a virtual town hall meeting will give everyone an overview of what’s happening work-wise.

HOPLA has an edge over most work from home companies with our customized solutions. We have mastered the craft and business of remote working and we always make sure that global talents grow with you. Following tried-and-tested best practices, we thrive in working remotely while hitting business goals, as expected. If this is what you need, get in touch with us.