COVID-19 has basically changed the way businesses operate; today, more than ever, employees are working from home, and going into the office seems like a distant memory. Many industries across the spectrum are quickly discovering how to make virtual teams work, and if the coronavirus pandemic has taught employers anything about working remotely, it’s that the key to success lies beyond the latest technology platforms.
As the CEO of Harbor City Capital, an alternative investment company specializing in buying, building and monetizing digital assets, JP Maroney is no stranger to the virtual business structure. Long before the world would be forced to navigate a global pandemic, Maroney and his team at Harbor City Investments reviewed ways to effectively work from home — across nearly 15 time zones.
Here, the Harbor City Capital founder shares and reviews work from home guidelines that have proven successful for his own company.
Get over the notion that an office will make you successful
For some leaders, especially those who follow a more traditional business model, an office space in a highrise building exudes success.
However, in nearly three decades of building companies, entrepreneur JP Maroney notes: “I’ve had expensive offices filled with people, furniture and equipment, however the trappings of an office won’t make a company successful.”
In reality, 85% of businesses think they are more productive, thanks to flexible working policies.
Communication is key
Leading a virtual team requires a varied skill set, but the commonality among all successful virtual teams is always clear communication.
“I have found as a CEO, that it’s absolutely a must and a requirement to communicate with team members as a group and individually to be able to stay on the same page, to be able to know that they’re still in the game, that you’re still in the game,” JP Maroney of Harbor City Capital Investments reviews.
Since there is no office building where you can just simply stop by someone’s office or pass them in the hall, for managers, regular check ins to reach out to individual employees is the first step to fostering an open line of communication. Further, it’s best to respond right away to questions or requests and not go a day without outreach or clear instructions that will leave your team in limbo.
Foster a diverse culture
Just as inclusivity and diversity is important in a physical working environment, it is equally as important in a remote working environment. Managers should make sure there’s diversity within their team — and at every level. New hires should come from a well-rounded mix of candidates, and executive-level positions should be made available to all who qualify.
Maroney adds, “It’s all about building a team that is truly exceptional at what they do,” Maroney says, whether it is raising capital, investor relations, building marketing funnels that drive conversions or buying advertising.
Perhaps what some employees enjoyed most about going into the office was the sense of camaraderie they experienced through personal relationships with co-workers. As a remote employee, technology can be a roadblock to personal connection, but it doesn’t have to be.
“One of the things we’ve done is inside of Slack, our communication tool, we created a channel called Water Cooler,” Maroney explains. “Inside that Water Cooler channel, people can post pictures of their pets, pictures of their kids, or personal achievements, and they can talk about things that interest them personally. It’s a great way for team members to get to know each other on a personal level.”
Building a virtual team takes work, but with some thoughtful consideration and natural trial and error, company leaders can successfully drive performance with team members across the miles.