How to Conduct an Interview

How to Conduct an Interview

The Importance of Conducting a Good Interview

The interview process is one of the most important steps in a company’s recruitment strategy. As such, it is critical for hiring managers to develop their interviewing skills to better discover top applicants for open job positions.

Good interviews allow hiring managers to verify the credibility of the candidate’s application. Companies can learn more about the applicant, including their career goals, work ethic, and personality. These qualities are significant determinants in employee engagement and the future success of the company.

Moreover, interviews can act as an advertising tool: a positive interview experience can leave a lasting impression of a brand on the applicant’s mind. They may be motivated to either continue interaction with or positively promote the brand, even if they aren’t ultimately hired.

In this post, we take a deep dive into the importance of a structured interview, as well as tips on how you can make an interview more effective.

 

Interview Techniques for Employers

Each HR professional has their own set of preferred interview techniques that lead to more useful and productive interviews. The following are just a few examples:

Start with a detailed job description

A clear job description is king. It is the first thing applicants are exposed to and provides better insight into the company and role. Hiring managers should focus on writing a descriptive posting that can help answer many of the candidate’s potential questions. These may include:

– What responsibilities and duties fall under the role?
– Is it a permanent, part-time, or contract-based position?
– Which skills are necessary for the role?
– What is the company culture like?
– What are the pay and benefits?

An accurate and detailed job description is an opportunity to clearly describe the expectations of a job to prevent candidates from feeling blindsided in the future. Job descriptions should aim to entice, but never mislead.

Structure the interview

Ever sat in on an interview and felt the conversation wasn’t going anywhere? Did it mostly seem like a friendly chat, rather than a job interview? Lack of direction and ineffectiveness can occur when interviews are not structured. Across the HR industry, there is a unanimous agreement that structured interviews are far superior in predicting a candidate’s success compared to a non-structured interview.

So how do you structure an interview? Start by developing interview questions that are relevant to the company and the work at hand. Consistency in the questions asked will be one of the best ways to gauge candidate fit and capability. It also makes the selection process easier, as the responses can be more closely compared with one another.

“As an HR practitioner with over 15 years of recruiting experience,” says DevelopIntelligence’s Jana Tulloch, CPHR, “using a structured interview that is scored is the best way to ensure consistency and fairness during hiring, although no system is perfect. Anytime you’re evaluating someone, even with the most objective criteria, subjective assessments can creep in. This is particularly true with known or internal candidates where there may already be preconceptions of the individual.”

Ask creative interview questions

Of course, not every job will be purely mathematical or data-driven. At times, it may be insightful to ask creative questions – the type that will test your candidate’s approach to problem solving. These questions don’t necessarily have to be related to the position, they need only to spark the imagination and thought process. Here are a few examples, courtesy of Hubspot:

– What is your definition of hard work?
– What’s the biggest decision you’ve had to make in the past year?
– In five minutes, could you explain something to me that is complicated but you know so well?
– Pitch our company to me as if I were buying our product/service.
– Tell me about a time you screwed up.

Any of these questions could elicit unique responses depending on the applicant. Be sure to give them time to think about their response. It’s also best to save these questions for the end of the interview, as they tend to be more open-ended than structured questions.

 

Identifying Undesirable Behaviors in the Interview

In some scenarios, you may encounter a candidate that meets all the qualifications, but has a personality or attitude that raises several red flags. Are they having a bad day, or could their actions and words be symptoms of a much larger behavioral problem? In either case, asking the right questions to identify toxic behavior and to assess cultural fit can save your company a headache later down the line. Here are a few tips to navigate difficult candidates:

Create a panel of interviewers – Who knows, perhaps you may have a slight bias for or against certain candidates. By having a second opinion (or multiple), you can better judge the words and actions of each applicant, and truly see whether others notice any odd behavior during the interview.

Listen carefully to the topics they discuss – Does a certain applicant tend to talk poorly about others? Or perhaps they speak too highly of themselves? Words can be telling, and the words your applicants choose can say a lot about their character, even if it appears to be small talk. Check out Workable’s blog post on identifying toxic employees.

Contact their references – Verify the credibility of your candidates by reaching out to their references. Ask about their experience working with the candidate. Many will have nothing but positive things to say, but if they are reluctant to pick up or are less enthusiastic in their review, you’ll want to make note of that.

Ask the right questions – Probe your applicants about their work experience, and you may uncover a deeper story. A previous work argument may be a simple misunderstanding, or it may be a sign of a vicious habit. You won’t know until you use the right questions. Spark Hire offers a few questions worth using in screening toxic employees.

 

Interview Checklist for Employers

– What information should you give about the company?
– Can you clearly describe the job position? What are the roles and responsibilities involved?
– Where will you post the job opening? How long will you search for a candidate, and how many applicants will you accept?
– Have you read the candidate’s resume? Do their skills and qualifications meet the requirements?
– Do you have all of your questions ready? Has the legal department approved the questions?
– Does the candidate understand the post-interview process and timeline?

 

How to Assess Candidates After the Interview

After all the candidate interviews are complete, recruiters must make the difficult choice of choosing the best one. The post-interview process will be just as important as the interview itself. While the interview can help introduce the candidate, it is by no means a complete evaluation of their character.

Observe their behavior outside the interview

Usually, the interview only brings out candidates’ best, most optimistic, behavior. To truly learn about the candidate, hiring managers need to pay attention to how they behave outside of the interview. Do they treat the staff with respect? Do they change their personality in a questionable way?

Watch out for their online behavior

Don’t forget about their online etiquette as well. How do candidates conduct themselves in online public circles? How do they write their emails? Prescreening through the use of social media can be a controversial topic, so you need to define a policy on how employees are expected to present themselves. Your next hire will not only work for you, but they’ll also come to represent your brand outside of the workplace. Make certain that they do not tarnish your brand’s goodwill.

Use an evaluation form

Hiring managers may be curious about how to create a format to review candidates. With so many different values and metrics, it can be confusing to know which one to focus on for employers. Instead, focus on your company’s mission and culture. Consider referencing an evaluation form, such as the Society for Human Resources Management’s Candidate Evaluation form for inspiration in generating new ideas.

Once you and the talent acquisition management team finalize a candidate, then defining clear next steps in the process becomes the next priority. Onboarding is an important experience to nail down – new hires should feel comfortable and capable in their newly assigned responsibilities. Otherwise, they may not feel motivated to stay with the company for longer.

 

 

There are several moving parts with the interview process, but it is of the utmost importance that hiring managers focus on fine-tuning the experience – from the job opening creation to the post-interview process. Over time, your company will start noticing the results in the talent it hires.

Want to learn more about acquiring the top talent, not just someone to fill the job? Check out our last blog post.

If you’re curious about managing your talent after they’re onboarded, we’ve also written a guide on that. For an even more in-depth guide, check out our big post Talent Management: How Companies Can Attract and Retain Talent.

To learn more about finding, acquiring, and onboarding new talent, visit Novel Coworking’s blog today.

What You Need to Know About Agile Real Estate

What You Need to Know About Agile Real Estate

Agile is most commonly associated with project management, but it can also refer to a greater business philosophy. Agile, as the name implies, is about moving quickly and minimizing risk. Put in terms of the real estate industry, agile real estate is quickly replacing traditional offices as the new norm.

But what is agile real estate and what does it mean for your business? We’ll break down what you need to know about the agile real estate movement so you can better position your business for success.

 

What is agile real estate?

Agile real estate is a dynamic and flexible approach to the workplace needs and business objectives of an organization. Agile real estate isn’t new, but with the rise of incubators and coworking spaces, agile real estate has taken hold as a legitimate alternative to traditional office space.

So who benefits from agile real estate? Any business can take advantage of agile, but startups, growing businesses, and solopreneurs tend to value them the most. Not only does agile real estate provide a more cost-effective solution compared to traditional office spaces, but they also offer customizable term arrangements, allowing businesses to rent out space as needed. The importance of flexible office space cannot be ignored.

 

The advantages of agile real estate

 

Cost-effective
As office rent continues to soar, the financial benefits of agile real estate become more attractive. According to commercial real estate brokerage CBRE, the average gross asking rent in the United States rose to $34.28 per square foot. Through coworking, that cost is shared with other tenants, creating a more affordable and collaborative environment.

 

Creative and collaborative spaces
Agile real estate doesn’t only offer alternative pricing plans, they also offer alternative workspace designs. In the case of coworking, the shared office spaces and coworking areas create totally new working environments that foster teamwork and creativity. Workers can share their ideas with one another without cubicles or dividers getting in the way. Even kitchen and dining spaces are open, encouraging workers to meet other tenants.

 

Dynamic and flexible
Perhaps the most attractive feature of agile real estate is its flexibility. Some places will even offer an option between coworking, shared office spaces, or private offices and suites. Business leaders can then negotiate on their final rent based on their space requirements and length of stay. For startups and growing businesses, this can be an invaluable way to plan for the year ahead.

 

Strategic benefits of agile real estate

 

Promotes a more inclusive culture
If you take a look at any incubator or coworking space, you will quickly see something missing from corporate office buildings— a sense of community. Officevibe found that in one study, 91% of coworkers had better interactions after coworking. The removal of walls and rigid space arrangements provides a more welcoming and diverse space for everyone. This, in turn, increases the sense of solidarity and community within the team.

 

Empowers your freelancers and remote workers
One of the more notable shifts in the way we work involves where we work. Today, our teams consist of overseas workers, digital nomads, freelancers, and other part-time workers. The common area or coworking spaces are open for use when these workers need them, saving their business the cost of a private office that’s only seldom in use.

 

Distributes the cost between other tenants
We’ve brought up the cost benefits of agile real estate numerous times already, but the strategic implications cannot be emphasized enough. In corporate or traditional office spaces, amenities such as printers, coffee machines, fridges, and even reception services are paid for by each individual brand. In a coworking space or incubator, workers share the amenities, but also have the option to purchase their own printer or copy machine for their private office. Tactics like this help keep overhead costs low, allowing business leaders to focus on more pressing costs.

 

Industries using agile real estate

Now that you are familiar with how agile real estate works, you may be wondering about real-life examples of various industries that use agile real estate. It’s worth noting that many of the brands listed below are Novel Coworking clients.

 

Technology
By far, the tech industry holds the largest share of coworking memberships, making up 20% of all coworking members. Even within incubators and accelerators, tech startups continue to be the most common. Since much of their work is in the digital realm, agile real estate is a useful and affordable solution for their teams. Many of these brands have their own headquarters, but set up satellite locations in coworking spaces.

Take Mozilla for example. Mozilla is best known for their Internet browser, Firefox, the second most popular browser by market share. Firefox has a major emphasis on privacy and open source technology, distinguishing it from the likes of Google Chrome and Apple’s Safari. Mozilla holds private offices in a handful of Novel Coworking locations across the country.

 

Communications
Another industry that loves to use the satellite office tactic: communications. We’ve seen many PR and advertising companies that enhance their geographic reach by opening offices in major hub cities like Chicago, San Diego, Charlotte, and more. Similar to tech-based startups and services, most communication brands rely on a fast Internet connection and space for computers and printers, something that can easily be found in agile real estate locations.

KlearCut Media is a great example of a modern communications company. This digital creative company assists businesses with their branding, content, and social media. KlearCut has worked with big brands, including The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, SMU Mom’s and Dad’s Club, and Dallas Hotel Magazine. You can find KlearCut operating out of the Novel Coworking Katy Building in Dallas, Texas.

 

Media and entertainment
Agile real estate providers have been creative bastions for media and entertainment companies. The open office design and welcoming community create ample opportunity for networking and collaboration. Whether you’re a content creator or a major entertainment enterprise, agile real estate has something for you.

You may not have heard of Babaroga, but you’ve likely heard or even played one of their many games. From the Deal or No Deal iOS Game, to EA Sports’ Tiger Woods PGA Tour 09, to their upcoming Ghostbusters VR title, Babaroga has set the standard for mobile gaming. They’ve even received awards from IGN, the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences, and Pocket Gamer. Babaroga is based in Novel Coworking’s The Loop location in downtown Chicago.

 

Financial services
Don’t assume that technology and media companies hold a monopoly on agile real estate. Financial service companies can benefit tremendously from agile real estate. With low rental costs and increased exposure to networking opportunities, there are many advantages to agile real estate that serve the financial industry.

Our Novel Coworking Trinity Place location is host to Bank of Colorado, one of the oldest banks in Colorado. Bank of Colorado is completely family owned since the Great Depression, and while their name has changed over the years, they remain a popular fixture within the Colorado community. They service individuals throughout the Eastern Plains, the Front Range, the Western Slope, and the Four Corners Region.

 

Types of flexible workspaces

 

Coworking office spaces/Shared office spaces
We’ve spoken extensively about coworking, and for good reason. Coworking is the reason that agile real estate has become as ubiquitous today than ever before. If you’re looking for the utmost flexibility, coworking is the way to go. With options for a short or long-term lease, reduced costs, and access to a vibrant community, coworking remains the ideal agile real estate model.

 

Serviced offices
Agile real estate isn’t limited to coworking spaces or incubators. Some coworking providers (such as Novel Coworking) offer private offices available for rent, that include perks such as printing, mailing, and management services. In most cases, these offices are usually long-term leases, ranging from several months to a few years. Serviced offices provide the same benefits as a traditional office, offered at a similar cost structure as coworking.

 

Enterprise solutions
For much larger businesses, agile real estate offers a myriad of solutions, from spacious office suites to multiple private offices. In addition to more space, they often have their own kitchen area or lounge. Most providers ask for long-term leases for larger suites.

 

Incubators
Distinct from the other agile real estate options mentioned, incubators are specifically geared towards assisting startups. They typically provide low rent and services for ensuring the development and growth of a startup. Incubators are not for everyone- some incubators require a complex application process or only offer services for a few months.

 

Agile real estate is part of a much greater movement towards safer, more affordable, and more inclusive workspaces. Why should a young, growing business have to worry about being able to pay office space rent? In reality, they should be able to have a space to conduct their work and meet others at a reasonable rate, so they can allocate more spend toward paying employees or improving their product or service.

Fortunately, the agile real estate model is here to stay. As rent continues to increase and people continue to develop startups, flexible and dynamic workspace will be in high demand. Take a look at your own office solution. Is it meeting the needs of your business? Perhaps an agile approach is just what you need to keep your business nimble.

Agile real estate is part of a bigger strategy around managing your talent. Read Novel Coworking’s comprehensive guide on talent management here.

For more content on running your business and setting yourself up for success, read Novel Coworking’s blog each week.

Setting up SMART goals for employees

Setting up SMART goals for employees

What are SMART goals?

If you’ve ever taken a business management class for school, you have likely heard about the SMART mnemonic device. If this sounds unfamiliar or you need a refresher course on how SMART works, then read on.

SMART refers to a mnemonic device used for setting goals in project management or personal development. While many variations exist, most commonly, SMART stands for:

  • Specific – The goal refers to a singular idea, concept, or task.
  • Measurable – The goal is quantifiable or tracks a metric of progress.
  • Achievable – The goal is attainable.
  • Relevant – The goal is related to the overall project mission.
  • Time-bound – The goal should define when the result can be achieved.

Bottom line: the objective is to use SMART to write clearer goals that produce stronger results.

 

What are the benefits of SMART goals?

Easy to communicate – SMART goals are designed to be easily communicated to other team members with little room for confusion. Instead of arguing over the scope of any given project, everyone can be on the same page just by using SMART criteria. By establishing clear goals, we cut down on wasted time and miscommunication.

Trackable – The most frustrating aspect of any project is not knowing how much progress has been made, and how much is left until completion. SMART circumvents this issue by forcing leaders to make achievable and measurable goals.

Clear vision of success – SMART goals clearly define success as it relates to the project, while also identifying the possible pitfalls and obstacles of the goal. It’s easy for team members to make mistakes or focus on less relevant priorities. SMART goals help keep the team in check and on track.

Attainable, bite-sized goals – If you set the ambitious goal of making $1 million in one year, your team would likely balk at the suggestion. However, setting a SMARTgoal of $250,000 each quarter feels much more realistic.

Facilitates prioritization – Your daily to-do list probably contains a dozen or more items at any given time, and it can be difficult to understand which tasks deserve the most attention. With SMART, the scope, relevance, and pertinence of every objective is clearly defined, allowing you to make educated decisions on which objectives to prioritize.

 

What does a SMART goal look like?

Below are several examples of SMART goals in action. Notice that each goal is clear, time-sensitive, and highlights a specific metric to track.

1. “Reduce overtime in the department from 150 hours per month to 50 hours per month by the end of the fiscal year with no increase in incident reports.”

2. “Acquire 45,000 new online customers this financial year at an average cost per acquisition (CPA) of $30 with an average profitability of $5.”

3. “Review all customer accounts above $20K/year revenue and schedule a strategic review with the top five with the greatest opportunity for upsell.”

4. “Present at two or more internal employee per quarter to improve confidence and presenting skills. Improve industry knowledge by attending 3+ industry events and provide a write-up to the rest of the team on key learnings afterward.”

5. “Spend two days per month building my customer understanding by shadowing teammates in operations and sales; deliver a write-up at the end on key learnings to the rest of the team.”

Want more examples of SMART goals in business? Check out this useful list from Notejoy.

 

Tips for implementing SMART goals

Forming a SMART goal might seem intimidating, but all it requires is critical thinking and engaged insight from the whole team. We recommend following the tips below for a successful SMART goal implementation.

Consult from your team. SMART goals are most effective when they are collaborative. Make sure to get different perspectives from people of all backgrounds and disciplines. By involving others in the process, you can ensure that the goals you’ve set have the input and support of the entire team.

Use SMART for strategic and tactical decisions. SMART isn’t reserved for daily or monthly goals. It can also apply to a longer time scale and bigger projects. Be sure to implement SMART on all levels for maximum effect.

Schedule check-ins to track progress. Just because SMART goals are measurable and attainable doesn’t mean certain tasks won’t slip through the cracks.. Sometimes tasks are forgotten, or others take precedence. Checking in to refocus work periodically can drastically improve the progression of your SMART goals.

 

The SMART mnemonic isn’t a silver bullet— companies will still need to train employees to ensure they follow SMART procedures and criteria. Nevertheless, SMART can help demystify and deconstruct the concept of goal setting in a way that is more digestible and actionable. Try it out for yourself— it might take some time to adjust, but ultimately it will help you complete projects and set direction for your company more successfully than ever before.

Open vs. Closed Office Layout: Which One is Better For Your Business?

Open vs. Closed Office Layout: Which One is Better For Your Business?

Open offices are becoming a new standard for office buildings around the world. No longer are workers tied to cubicles and stuffy offices. For many businesses, open layouts foster greater creativity and collaboration, at a fraction of the average office expense.

But closed office layouts are not without their benefits. While open spaces are great for networking, some may prefer to work in private or to have their own personal space.

The office layout you choose matters. We’ll compare the two popular office options, weigh their costs and benefits, and suggest which type of office your business should choose.

 

What is an open office layout?

An open office layout (also known as an open-plan office) refers to an office space design that removes boundaries between two workers, such as cubicles or walls. While there may still be private offices and conference rooms, the goal of an open office layout is to cultivate a greater sense of collaboration and creativity within a team.

Over the past decade, the open office design has become a worldwide movement. From budding startups to major companies such as Facebook and Google, open office layouts have come to define the modern business. Business software and services company, Sage, estimates that 80% of US businesses use open offices as their preferred arrangement.

 

What is a closed office layout?

In contrast, a closed office layout is a type of office that is secluded from other offices by a wall or cubicle. Employees in a closed office have more privacy and greater control over their work environment.

While closed office layouts were popular before the 2000s, they have gradually been replaced by open office layouts. This is because of a number of factors, including rising monthly rates and changing mentalities in the office.

 

Pros and Cons of an Open Office

 

Pros

  • Quicker communication – Open office layouts make it easy to ask simple questions or hold impromptu meetings. Some companies will even have its employees share the same table.
  • Greater collaboration – With quicker communication comes more collaboration. The design of the space empowers employees to work together on projects.
  • Cost-effective – Compared to a traditional office space lease, open office plans manage to save on space as well as money. Businesses can then use those savings towards marketing or operations.

 

Cons

  • Background noise – Open offices can occasionally be frantic environments (particularly during the morning and afternoon). For those that need silence, the background noise can be a source of distraction.
  • Lack of privacy – If you need to talk about sensitive or confidential information, an open office is not the place to do so. Nearby workers may overhear your conversations or see your laptop screen if it’s left unlocked and unattended.

 

Pros and Cons of a Closed Office

 

Pros

  • Privacy – One of the main reasons for renting a close office is to protect your valuable belongings and information. Particularly for businesses in the financial, law, or healthcare industries, security is vital.
  • Personalization – Private offices allow companies to brand the walls, doors, and desks with their own colors and imagery. Customizing the look of an office can have a major impact on an employee’s creativity and work ethic.
  • ProductivityAlthough not true for everyone, many workers are more productive when they have a controlled, private environment. Private offices cut out environmental distractions (except the ones on a computer screen, or outside a window).

 

Cons

  • Lack of interaction – Closed offices can cut people off from other companies or team members. Employees tend to stay and work in their offices for most of the day, and can lead to isolating experiences.
  • Financial commitment – Private office companies can charge steeper prices, or demand yearly contracts (but Novel Coworking does not). For startups and small businesses, this can be a setback in the day-to-day operations.

 

How to choose an office layout for your business

Each company has a different culture and function. What may work well for one company is not guaranteed to work for another. With that said, some office layouts are more suitable for certain work processes.

Choose an open office layout if your company needs to communicate clearly and save money. This is especially crucial for freelancers, entrepreneurs, and startups. Open offices encourage greater teamwork and more creative solutions.

Choose a closed office layout if your company deals in sensitive information or your employees need privacy. Closed offices are also important for C-level executives and entrepreneurs that want to impress a professional image on their clients.

 

For a more in-depth comparison of the benefits of both closed and open office layouts, visit Novel Coworking’s plans page.

Workspace Design and Productivity

Workspace Design and Productivity

How physical environment impacts productivity

Our environment influences our mood and actions. For this reason, the design of our work environment greatly impacts our productivity and performance. Since so much of our time is spent working, our office space ought to be healthy, positive, and comfortable enough to spur creativity.

The most well-designed office spaces are effective at driving performance and encouraging collaboration. Workplace management solutions Serraview even found that innovative companies are “5 times more likely to have workplaces that prioritize individual and group workspace”. If your company’s work is dependent on teamwork and collaboration, this post will explain how a collaborative workspace can help.

 

What is a collaborative workspace?

A collaborative workspace is a type of office design that fosters efficient communication and feedback between two or more people. Some examples include shared office spaces, open coworking spaces, and even conference rooms. These collaborative spaces often feature close seating with clear lines of sight. The goal is to get people to have quick, impromptu conversations, which inevitably help solve problems faster.

 

What are the benefits of creating a collaborative workspace?

Clear communication – Relying on email and text can frequently result in miscommunication. Sometimes instructions or context can be unclear. Other times, noise can disrupt a message’s intent- such as internet lag, time difference, or difference in typing habits.

Encourage collaboration – As the name implies, these types of workspaces are great for teams and group work. By breaking down barriers like walls and computers, you promote healthier, more productive discussions.

Greater sense of community – Remote workers are on the rise, but nothing says community like working together in person. Having coworkers and teammates to talk to in between projects and meetings can be the best way to break the monotony of the daily grind.

Long-term wellness – Collaborating in an open workspace does wonders for the team’s spirit and morale. With clearer communication and stronger camaraderie, going to work doesn’t feel like such a chore.

 

Tips on creating a more collaborative and productive workspace

There’s no such thing as the “best office layout”, but there are a few ways you can improve an existing workspace to give your productivity a boost.

Create more flexibility and mobility. Ditch the cubicles and rigid office layouts and embrace the open space. Let your team move around if they want to by creating space to work side by side, opposite each other, or in private nooks.

Reduce the noise level. If you can, take out anything that contributes to a noisy environment. Seal windows and doors, and replace loud computers and fans. With fewer sound distractions, your team will be more comfortable while speaking to each other.

Use humidifiers and scents to improve the air quality. Make sure air is able to circulate through the room, so no one feels stuffy. Keep an eye on the thermostat as well, as temperature can have similar effects on productivity.

Maximize your natural light. For many computer users, the light from lamps and monitors is enough to brighten the whole room, but it doesn’t have the same effect as sunlight. Whenever possible, open up blinds to let in more light, or encourage walks outside. Daylight can have a major impact on one’s mood.

Team up on decorations, but inject some personality. Your workspace is essentially your second home. It may even seem like you spend less time at your actual residence. Decorate it the way you would want to decorate your personal space. While different decors are proven to be more effective, it’s up to you to design your personal workspace in a way that boosts your productivity and reflects your values as an entrepreneur. Everything from the color palette around you to the type of chair you sit in has a measurable effect. Personalize your workspace the way you see fit.

Don’t forget, clients will also see your workspace—and they’ll certainly judge it. It’s no secret that people prefer pleasant aesthetics. Clients are no different. The less legitimate your office appears to them, the less likely you’re going to win their business. Legitimacy comes in many forms, too – your office should reflect values that line up with the values of your clients. Your workspace doesn’t exist to merely ignite purpose in yourself; it also serves to reassure clients that they are in good hands.

 

Care about the place you spend so much of your time working in, as it is ultimately a reflection on you. Various aesthetic choices speak volumes – are you a modern business? Your office should reflect as much.

Explore creative solutions to a collaborative workspace through Novel Coworking.

Best Practices for Managing Remote Teams

Best Practices for Managing Remote Teams

Twenty years ago, all the employees of a company had to work in the same offices at the same time. Today, businesses rely on remote individuals, often from different continents and time zones.

Of course, this strategy does require some degree of management to ensure that tasks are being completed on time and to a satisfactory standard. The following tips can help to make sure that remote working becomes a valuable benefit to both the company and their remote employees.

 

Difference Between On-site vs. Remote Team Management

 

Cost-effectiveness

Remote work makes economic sense. Staffing costs are not as expensive in certain regions. Businesses can take advantage of this to outsource certain tasks and projects overseas, helping reduce the upkeep of the company.

 

Productivity and work-life balance

Before the day ends, teams in one timezone can pass on their work to another team in a different timezone. This means that a business can have 24-hour work cycles while ensuring everyone gets the rest they need. For software or web development, this helps teams save valuable time while keeping morale high.

 

Culture and communication challenges

Remote teams will ultimately face challenges in communication and culture building. Since the remote workers may log on from their own home office, there isn’t the same sense of solidarity that may be found through face to face interaction. Slow internet connections or limited technology may also result in unclear communication between the two teams.

 

1. Ensure that Everyone Understands the Expectations

At the start of any project or task, give clear verbal and written instructions, while setting deadlines and checkpoints along the way. Ensure that your employees understand what is expected of them. In the initial phases of employment contact should be frequent. This does not mean micromanaging, but you need to be certain that your employees are completing the tasks to a satisfactory standard. Good software can be the key here, try using a project management tool such as Wrike.

 

2. Be Available and Encourage an Open Communication Policy

Consider some method of secure communication such as Skype, and encourage all managers to communicate regularly. If there is a query, it is important that the remote workers have the confidence to ask questions to clarify that question, rather than waste hours completing the task incorrectly.

 

3. Make an Effort to Get to Know Your Staff on an Individual Basis

If you employ staff in an office, there are office meals, parties, and other social events, which enable everyone to form a more personal relationship. This encourages teamwork and gives a sense of belonging to all members of the team. When you are hiring remote workers, this is likely not an option, so it is important to put additional effort into building a relationship. By showing an interest in their personal lives, you will build up a good working rapport, and increase the loyalty of the employee to the company. This will pay dividends many times over, and its value cannot be underestimated.

 

4. Make All of Your Employees Feel Like Part of the Team

It can be very difficult to fully embrace all of your team if 50 percent of them are halfway around the world. Do everything in your power to empower and embrace all members of your team. Little things such as asking for their opinion on a topic can go a long way towards making them feel valued and included. And it is entirely possible that they will have some excellent ideas that will benefit the project.

Want to learn more about finding the best candidates for your team? Read our previous blog post on recruiting top talent.

5. Make Use of Video Communication When Possible

While text and instant messages can be excellent communication tools, it is entirely possible to misinterpret a message in text form. Wherever possible embrace video technology such as Skype or Facebook Messenger to fully interact with and communicate with your staff. This way you will build rapport and, just as importantly, build a relationship with your staff.

 

6. Remember and Celebrate Birthdays

Just as you might celebrate a birthday in the office, log all of your employee’s birthdays in Outlook, or some other calendar software. Then you will automatically be reminded of team birthdays to celebrate. While this may seem a small thing, it will demonstrate to your staff that you are taking an interest in them and make them feel special. This, in turn, will ensure they feel valued and an important part of the team. It might only take a few minutes, but it can have a huge impact on your business.

 

Successful Companies with Remote Teams

Remote teams are nothing new. In fact, some of the world’s biggest brands were built with remote teams. Trello, the free project management tool, was built with a “remote first” mentality, meaning the team should always default to accommodate remote workers. You never want them to feel left out. Basecamp is famous for being one of the earliest remote teams back in 1999. Their reputation became so noteworthy that they even wrote the book, REMOTE: Office Not Required, an Amazon bestseller.

The most successful companies understand the key factors that go into growing a remote team. They see the challenges in communication and teamwork, but rise above through the offering of unique perks and incentives, just like Trello and Basecamp. If you want your digital nomads to work effectively, you need to learn to listen and act on their feedback.

Managing a team of workers remotely doesn’t have to be any more difficult than managing a local team. It may require utilizing different skills and make more effort to connect with the remote workers, but the benefits can far outweigh any minor issues. Provided you complete your due diligence and employ a great team of people, hiring remote workers can be a huge boon to your company.

Visit Novel Coworking today to learn how coworking spaces can provide a neutral ground for remote workers.