Managing a remote company is different than leading a traditional organization. It requires more organizational skills, openness, transparency, and trust in your co-workers. The way you run things is also different. Let's cover here the best practices for managing a remote company or team.
Remove set working hours
Traditional companies usually have a set of working hours (traditionally from 9 am to 5 pm). Even some remote companies require at least four hours of overlap. However, those practices go against the principles of remote work. GitLab suggests getting rid of "set working hours":
So long as your company adheres — even if unofficially — to set working hours, you'll be biased towards candidates who are in your preferred time zone. The only way to remove that bias and open your company to a truly global and diverse workforce is to destroy the epicenter of power as it relates to working hours. This also enables your workforce to design their work around their life, empowering them to be managers of one. This is a more inclusive and healthier way of working.
Embrace asynchronous communication
By getting rid of fixed working hours, you can embrace asynchronous communication. It doesn't matter what timezone people are or when they're working because everything is written down and asynchronous. It gives everyone more flexibility.
Use a single source of truth
Writing everything down is an important step during the transition to remote work. By doing it, you make sure all information about your company is easily accessible by everyone.
GitLab goes even further: if it's not in the company's handbook, it doesn't exist. This forces people to avoid chats and meetings. Every discussion is done by formal means and it's accessible in their handbook:
Your goal should be to answer everything with a link. If a team member asks you a question that you can't answer with a link, you should work according to company values to generate an answer, and immediately document that answer in the appropriate place in the handbook. This ensures that anyone who has the same inquiry at any point in the future will not have to impede on anyone's time to find the answer.
Offer an office budget
Building a remote office might be expensive. Not everyone will have the budget to do it. As a manager, make sure your employees have all the tools and financial resources to get started working remotely.
It's useful to create an "office budget" to reimburse expenses with office equipment such as chairs, desks, keyboards, etc. Some people might prefer to work from a coworking space. Make sure you set up a budget for that as well. It's also important to offer guidance about ergonomics and tips for properly setting up a remote office.
- When managing a remote company, it's also important to understand what not to do.