How To Build A Remote Team That Stays With You

I started The Offline Assistant back on the 9th January 2012. I had three staff at the time and four core services that we offered. I was excited and nervous as I didn’t know exactly how the whole system would hold up when my customers offloaded their unlimited task requests.

What was more worrying for me was if one or more of my three staff up and left I would be in trouble… big trouble. I mean, how was I going to handle these customer requests and find new staff at the same time?

The Biggest Hurdle

But work flow wasn’t the biggest problem. The biggest pain for me was finding and keeping reliable staff who will turn up for work on a 100% night shift basis. That means that in order for me to offer USA based office hours my team in The Philippines needed to be coming to work at their night time. After all, who wants to work night shift at the best of times?

You may have noticed I said “come to work”. This is because we are 100% office based. I needed total control over work flow and teamwork and for me, work from home staff just wouldn’t cut it. After all, work from home staff each with their own internet connection to deal with, too many headaches for me to manage. I would rather have one central base where everything gets coordinated from, just like how DHL, Fedex, etc work where all packages come to one distribution hub.

So how exactly do I keep my staff motivated and happy? Look, there are info-graphics and hundreds of books written on team building but for me I see first hand what’s working for us and it’s this: a good salary, assigned responsibility to tasks, staff live nearby to the office, fresh new projects coming in daily as well as the team contributing to tasks in a team based fashion. For example, if there’s a web design project required, tech would set up the site and frameworks while the designers would look after the graphics.

You Need A Conductor

In my mind there’s absolutely no doubt that a highly trained manager is required. This person needs experience in handling many different projects the same time and have a finger on the pulse of workload. In my office I have an Operations Manager who handles all task assignments and understands the work flow, work load and staffing capabilities in detail. I am 100% convinced this has improved our output and quality by having a walking Operations Manager who can speak directly with the staff and get a real-time update on open projects.

I like to think of Candice (my Operations Manager) as a conductor and the staff as the ones creating the music. It’s a great way to have things flowing smoothly in the business and since bringing in my OM my time has become ever more creative with working on other aspects of my business.

Finding, Training and Managing Staff

This isn’t as difficult as it may seem, although many people go about it the wrong way. From a 30,000 perspective here’s how you might go about it: target people with the right credentials and experience using Facebook ads, interview them (at least twice). To train them create videos of you doing the tasks (keep them short, too, no more than 5 minutes in length) and share the videos with them in a “Training Folder” on Dropbox. For management, if you’re not using an Operations Manager and it’s just you and the employee I recommend self-management.

Pulling It All Together

I can tell you from experience, the best way to have your business running like clock work is to implement systems and an Operations Manager to conduct your orchestra. The money spent on an Operations Manager (who knows what he or she is doing) will save you hours and undoubtedly increase customer satisfaction, because ultimately it’s all about serving your customer to the highest standard and they will feel that with the way you deliver your work.