In an effort to avoid claiming bankruptcy (like the 25,227 companies who did in the second quarter of 2016), businesses are continuing to adapt to modernized trends that help them save. A prime example of this involves telecommuting: companies of all sizes report significant decreases in operating costs, remote work stats show. For example, American Express reported annual savings of $10 million to $15 million thanks to its remote work options.
Even though these advances have gained serious momentum, some employers hesitate to transition to remote work due to the sheer nature of the job. Event planning, for example, may sound like something that requires a high level of face-to-face communication. But the U.S. party and event planning industry employs roughly 134,000 people, and there are actually a large number of event planning firms whose employees operate primarily or solely through remote communications. Here’s what event planning firms should know about properly managing their remote teams.
Prioritize accountability by setting clear goals and expectations.
This is true with any type of remote team, but it’s especially important in the event planning industry. There are a wide variety of ways to measure employee success on an individual basis, so whether it’s client satisfaction, total profits, or any other metric, it’s critical to make sure employees know how their level of success will be measured. Keep this advice in mind in the broader context of coworker communication as well:
“Nothing muddles a project like an unclear event timeline. While you don’t need to have all the details figured out, it’s important that each person knows what their responsibilities and deadlines are. Make sure that recaps with deadlines and action items are sent after each phone call, and communicate any changes to the schedule or event plan as soon as possible to keep everyone’s priorities aligned. The more organized you are, the more likely your team is to follow suit,” writes David Becker on Zkipster.
Give employees frequent feedback, and encourage them to do the same.
In a remote environment that’s so dependent on client satisfaction and communication across multiple channels, there’s really no such thing as being ‘overconnected.’ Encourage your employees to give frequent feedback about virtually any aspect of their work. It’s important to make employees feel as though their voices are being heard, and there’s no denying that this can be more challenging amongst a remote-based team. Ideally, you can have multiple channels for employees to communicate their thoughts and concerns, with or without identification.
Plan a corporate gathering at least once a year.
This may not be feasible for all budgets, but if possible, try to plan some type of company gathering at least once per year. The holidays are a great time for this. Meeting face-to-face reminds employees of the bigger picture and who they’re helping by working hard on a daily basis. If you truly want to reward employees for a job well done, consider chartering a private jet for an evening — in fact, respondents to a 2009 survey stated that they are 20% more productive on a company aircraft than in the office. If planning a gathering is simply impossible, make a habit of engaging with employees remotely and outside of office hours — nobody said you can’t hold a remote happy hour on a Friday evening after a long week. Anything that makes employees feel more appreciated will go a long way.
Ultimately, managing a remote event planning team requires ongoing flexibility, persistence, and communication. But as long as your employees feel like they have a manageable work-life balance, they’ll continue to strive for success.