Running a Successful Remote Team

Remote working, working from home, working out of the office, whatever you want to call it, has been a hot topic over the past few months, especially since Coronavirus has been affecting every country in the world.

Paul Azad, founder, ServiceTree
Paul Azad, founder, ServiceTree

The common trend is people working from home either because it’s being mandated or because people feel it is the right thing to do for their employees. The whole concept of working from home has a lot of value and benefits if your team is able to work from home and still deliver the same level of impact.

Many organizations, particularly larger ones, have a policy that a member can work one to two days a week from home which helps reduce office space or rent. But, we’ll be honest, some people that work in that environment take it as a day off or a very casual workday.

It’s common to see work product or commitment changes in newly remote staff members. The reason that happens is that there is no easy way to measure what your team is doing outside of the office. In the office, it’s generally easy to sense if people are being really quiet or if they are really busy, making it a little easier to tell how productive or dedicated they are being.

So, as a business owner, what can you do to avoid that downward change?

DISC profiles prove that we all have different motivating factors. For example, Disc Profiles find that people who are systems engineers, bookkeepers, dentists are not driven by metrics or results. They accept the status quo and go with the flow.

So, that being said, it's very common that as soon as there is no one watching over their metrics, their work quality or amount of work gets reduced. In an environment where your team is in front of you, it's a bit easier to keep an eye on them, but out of that environment there is a big probability that people will pad their metrics to make themselves look busier. This is not because they’re necessarily bad people, it's because they are simply not driven by metrics, meaning that working from home can impact their work quality a lot more than others.

A few days ago I (Paul Azad, Founder of ServiceTree CONNECT™) was speaking to an MSP about his team and how they were all working from home. He noticed that they were all really busy, yet despite his employees being busier than ever his ticket count was down by 34%. This meant that his team was taking 40% longer working on their tickets at home than in the office. After some probing questions I came to the conclusion that his workers, despite already working remotely before Coronavirus, were extending their tickets to look busier in fears of losing their positions. According to the numbers, he had 3 to 4 more people than he needed, which isn’t a successful way to run a company in the long run. Although it’s a hard choice to let go of staff, it wasn’t practical for this company to keep paying for more people than it needed for fear of running the company to the ground and ultimately leaving everyone unemployed.

It was a tough conversation to have, especially in this environment, but it’s not uncommon for businesses owners to not pay attention to metrics of profitability. To do that successfully, keep an eye at ticket counts, tickets created, tickets closed and then look at utilization and the total amount spent on tickets. I've had staff work in the office and remotely in other countries and I've found the best way to organize them is to have the organization be driven by metrics. This way all your employees are held to the same standards and morale isn’t affected.

I see remote work becoming the norm globally after coronavirus but we have to make sure that it can be handled by keeping balance, accountability, transparency and enjoying what we are doing from wherever we are.

If you’re interested in learning how a simple plugin can increase your MSPs team’s efficiency, book a demo with me and I’d be happy to show you. Or if you prefer to get weekly tips right to your phone or computer, check out my new podcast, MSP Power Up™, where I share secrets of success for MSPs of any size.

Author Paul Azad is founder of ServiceTree. Read more ServiceTree blogs here.