The founder of FlexJobs runs her startup team entirely remotely. Here’s what she’s learned about making it work without a shared office. 

By Sara Sutton Fell (Founder & CEO, FlexJobs)

You’ve assembled the best thinkers in the industry for your team.  The thing is, your team is all over the map—literally—from Bangladesh to Boise. Despite the distance, it’s easy to make your telecommuting team work—and work well. Here’s how.

Maintain Clear Communication

Since everyone is working from a home office, you can’t run down the hall every time you have a question for one of your colleagues. Similar to face-to-face contact, your team must possess excellent communication skills. This can range from clarifying questions to being detail-specific when assigning tasks. That way, everyone is on the same page—all the time.

Hire Passionate People

When you’re working remotely, you need a staff that feels as strongly about the company as you do. Having this passion helps motivate them to stay invested in the work that they’re doing. Hiring like-minded individuals who believe in the core of your company is essential for success.

Have Regularly Scheduled Meetings

While in-office board meetings might have made you groan, having meetings with your telecommuting team is a must. Not only will it allow for interaction (and the sparking of ideas) among the team members, but it will also help reinforce the feeling of camaraderie and foster a more social setting for your staff.

Have the Right Tools

With your staff working off of home computers, tablets and iPads from their home offices and coffee shops around the globe, you’ll need to have great file-sharing programs in place—like SugarSync, Google Calendar or Dropbox—so that all team members have access to the files and information they need just as though you are all in an office together.

Check In Individually

It’s easy to lose track of your coworkers’ progress when you don’t see them. Make it a point to schedule one-on-one meetings with your colleagues. This will help you stay in touch with your staff and find out if there are any issues that need to be resolved.

As more and more companies welcome flex schedules and telecommuting into their corporate culture, it’s essential to understand how to make it all work. Luckily, a telecommuting team can have virtual success—working from virtually anywhere. And, without all the in-office distractions, the productivity to prove how successful hiring remote workers can be.

About the guest blogger: Sara Sutton Fell is the founder and CEO of FlexJobs, an award-winning service that helps job-seekers find professional opportunities that also offer work flexibility. Sara is a specialist in the online job market, particularly on the topics of online job searching, telecommuting, flexible work arrangements, and work-life balance. Sara won a “Game Changer” award from Workforce Management in 2011, and the website has won numerous awards.

Photo credit: puresolitude via Flickr