Remote team leader can perform better than an on-site team leader
Posted on April 10th, 2018
- You are always available, but in better control of your timeFor old office clerks it’s still natural to run full eight hours from meeting room to another, but times are changing. Last year I was serving a large corporation customer in Helsinki. There people had decided to sit down at their office desk and join to meetings via Skype rather than walk three floors upstairs. This approach allowed them to control their time better. Same happens when you work remote: You are clearly available for your team when online, but you are not disturbed by constant commuting or dead time slots between tightly scheduled meetings.
- Work across time zones is natural when not tied to an officePeople are expected to be at the office somewhen between 8am and 4pm local time. This is mainly because of the historical reasons, not because it would be the most effective way of working. Some people are productive in the morning, some in the evening. The bigger question is when should you commute to the office? That depends where your team is and how they are available - often across the world, across different time zones. When working remote without a need to commute, you can easier adapt the daily routines to support different time zones. This adaptation can also support your personal family life with for example flexibility to enjoy a proper breakfast with your kids.
- Remote work is built on clear processes and collaborationA small local team can perform fairly easily without a process. That’s because constant face-to-face communication allows them to compensate the lack of workflows. It's often ineffective, but functional. When working online, things get naturally driven by tools and processes. A developer cannot shout loud “Done". Instead he or she moves the activity in collaboration tool from state In Progress to Done. This small gesture sends a notification via Slack or other communication channels to all teammates. At the office this would have looked a bit silly; Slack giving the “tap-tap" sound on each laptop at the same time. But for remote team it’s a positive necessity and a great benefit for the team leader, who can focus on improving these well-defined workflows.
- Productivity is improved when you have a quiet spot to performIn office there’s always someone disturbing the quiet moments. For many of us it’s possible at least to close the office door, but even that does not guarantee the peace - sooner or later someone will knock the door and ask a question. Same of course can happen online, but there you are in control. You don’t have to answer a Slack message instantly and you don’t have to answer a phone when it’s ringing. Timing is everything, also when answering to questions. It makes everyone more productive if you can give proper answers in the right timing instead of rushing too fast to conclusions.
- Remote team members are easier to engage when also their leader is working remoteCompanies are using global talent pools to find the best people to do the work. This naturally forms global remote teams for all projects. The challenge is that if the team leader is constantly at the office with handful of people, these office clerks become the main contributors just because they are locally available at the office. If team leader is also remote, the team members are treated equally with the same approaches, tools and processes. Remote team leader can fully understand what their remote workers are facing and how to make the work better together.