AC Marketing has never had an office and we operate on a cloud solution model, with every piece of content housed on a server own by Microsoft, Google and a few other companies. As a startup, it was a decision for survival because rent can be the difference between more staff or a crippling overhead. It’s been two years since my return to self-employment, which shifted focus from business development to building the right team and finding the best environment for them to thrive.
The search for a team included ex-colleagues, referrals and LinkedIn. It’s been a learning curve to identify the best approach to attract the right people, even when they think your business is a scam. I thought my knowledge of the technology would be enough to manage a remote team. Unfortunately, time proved otherwise. Here is a list of what I’ve learnt;
Remote Working is a mindset
Transitioning from an office environment to being self-discipline is hard. From an entrepreneur perspective, it’s a matter of working or being homeless. It becomes less driven when you’re guaranteed a monthly salary. If you don’t have the right mindset to close Instagram newsfeed to finish that report, you’re going to end your days with guilt and excuses.
The Right Tool is not an option
As a manager, it’s easy to point fingers at a job not done versus asking the 'why' behind the failure. Your job is to manage the person and their environment, which means finding the best solution to make their task easier. Technology has proven to be useful in automation and lowering costs. Embrace the change.
A Manager is a Paid Parent
I hate being micro-managed, it equates to distrust and a waste of resources. If someone’s only task is to look at my every move, are we not doing the same job? I have taken this approach to my management style and allowed team members to do their jobs without my input. Unfortunately, this became an issue of missed deadlines and valid excuses for unfinished tasks. Over time I’ve learnt that we all need parenting. Someone to check-in and reinforce action because no five year wants to eat their vegetables.
The Proof is in the Data
Technology tends to be factual. It’s why most governments shy away from digital adoption; it forces transparency. When you’re working online, it’s harder to hide, and as a manager, it’s your job to identify what’s not said. I’ve recently had to confront team members on the quality of their work, and both times it exposed information that was not forthcoming.
I’ve had many persons slide into my Direct Messenger to comment on how lucky I am to travel the world while working and their desire to follow suit. There is also a narrative of change from the COVID-19 pandemic, with many organisations forced to allow remote teams to keep afloat. This wave of change comes to a new management style that moves beyond ensuring your staff member arrived at the office on time.
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