Leading any company can be stressful and challenging; leading an online company can be particularly difficult given that staff are not usually in the same physical location.
Attention needs to be given to consistency, communication and performance, given that these are all a lot harder to manage virtually than with a physical team.
The following are key areas of consideration for leaders of online companies.
In an environment where you don't have regular interaction or oversight of staff, it is vital that you employ people you can trust.
Time and energy should be invested into recruiting the right people at all levels. These people will be representing your brand and given that they will be working independently, you need to know that they will act appropriately.
Be present where possible
Communication is one of the greatest challenges when it comes to online businesses.
While instant messengers and email make it easy to keep in contact with people, it's not the same as verbal interaction.
Take the time to have regular meetings over phone or video call to truly form a connection with your staff.
This will help you to gauge things you cannot assess through a screen, like attitudes and wellbeing.
Keep all policies and documents updated
With staff working from different locations, it is critical that all formal documents are kept up-to-date.
Should any issues arise these will be your first reference. It also helps to manage staff behaviour and performance as there are clear expectations of what is expected of them.
It also provides clarity around the way situations should be handled and what will happen if a staff member isn't performing.
Have clear progression opportunities
Development and progression opportunities can become a bit more ambiguous for online companies.
When people are working together every day at a physical location, it is easy to have conversations around aspirations and growth.
There is likely to still be development opportunities within an online business, but they aren't always communicated as clearly.
Make sure you aren't losing staff for lack of progression opportunities and communicate career paths.
Even though your team isn't working at the same physical location, you can still celebrate success.
Send out an email to the entire team when somebody deserves recognition. It's a cheap, effective way of sharing success and providing encouragement to the individual, but also the team.
I truly hope you like this article as much as I love writing it. It would be awesome if you might learn something new here to accompany your journey to freedom.
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