Managing a team is challenging – managing a remote team based across Central America is even more so! Today, remote teams are the norm, and managers need to find ways to keep their cross-border colleagues connected, motivated, and working as productively as possible.
All the while taking into account issues such as multiple time zones, and the sheer logistics of overseeing a project without being in the same country – let alone room – as their team members. Luckily, there are some tips that can be used to help things run as smoothly and efficiently as possible.
Bring Collaborative Tools on Board
With your team members spread across a continent, it’s more important than ever to use business tools that promote remote and hybrid working, and that’ll allow colleagues to connect and collaborate across borders.
There are lots of options out there. For example, opt for an email client that’s designed to help teams working in different locations communicate more effectively, and consider using a platform like Google Docs that allows colleagues to work on, share, proof, edit, and comment on documents in real time remotely.
Consider all of your team’s tasks and processes with a view to whether the tools you currently deploy are working as well as they could, and think about the areas where things could be improved. Perhaps logjams in the system are a common problem, with staff working remotely from each other not working in a joined-up enough fashion to spot potential problems and take action. If this is the case, project management software with a focus on aiding better collaboration could be the answer.
Standardization is Key
If you’ve got a team working across different regions of Central America, then standardization is likely to be your best friend. Standardizing processes – everything from the way in which colleagues communicate to how customer complaints are handled – will pay dividends and avoid additional work and the sort of misunderstandings that can hamper productivity.
Create a central digital repository for this information, and ensure everyone knows of its existence and where to find it. Standardization is key to avoiding both the duplication of work and the dilution of your brand message.
Provide Team Training Opportunities
If team members are working in different geographical areas, it’s even more important to ensure that everyone is working to the same level of proficiency. Therefore, it’s a good idea to invest in upskilling, if necessary. Think outside the box: as well as training in things like new tech, why not offer training in relevant languages, and courses in intercultural communication, to help your team better connect? You could even invite team members to write about their countries and cultural backgrounds to share with their colleagues in other countries.
Be Clear on Organizational Goals
Keeping a remote team in the loop regarding organizational goals can help everyone to feel more motivated and moving in the same direction with a common aim. To this end, it’s important for team leaders and managers to explain the objectives behind any new project and clearly delineate the responsibilities of each individual or subgroup and the related interdependencies.
This enables each person to understand how their own efforts impact the task to be undertaken. Summarizing the objectives in a neat slogan that can be incorporated into newsletters, memos, etc., can be a good way of keeping the overarching goal in the foreground as the project progresses.
Recognize and Be Ready For the Challenges
A team working together across borders can face several unique challenges – but being ready for these will make all the difference. For example, there may be issues around time zones and language fluency that will be vital to take into account. Many messaging apps and other types of digital platforms allow users to set multi-time zones to easily see who is contactable and when.
Staying in close contact with your team via one-to-one video meetings and regular whole-team video conferences is a vital way to keep everyone feeling ‘in the same boat’ and supported.
Final Thoughts: Bringing Together a Team Working Across Borders
While managing a team comprising members working all across Central America comes with challenges, there can be many rewards, too. An innovative, diverse cross-border team offers a wide range of unique perspectives and voices, with colleagues each having their own ideas, solutions, and new approaches. Make the most of your remote team’s varied talents and stay as connected as possible to boost morale and drive up productivity exponentially.