When I began building PeKu Publications six years ago, I knew that I would need writers. As a company that is focused on delivering original content, I would not be able to supply all the content on my own. In the early stages, when the budget was tight, I found talented, local high school students who were willing to write for me at a frugal rate.
Having founded PeKu on a bootstrap model, as revenue increased so did the size of my team. Keeping my high school writers (and offering rate increases), I also needed to add more writers and, eventually, editors. Rather than just seeking local scribes, I cast my net across the globe.
As PeKu is wholly online, there was no reason that my team had to be based in Manchester, or New Hampshire for that matter. With this thought in mind, I posted my openings on a handful of industry-specific websites.
Over the past six years I have had team members in a variety of locations — Japan, Canada, Sweden, and numerous U.S. states, among others. Managing a team that covers over a dozen time zones, a few different languages, and never is assembled all at once isn’t nearly as hard as it seems. There are five central tenets, which simplify the management of a team spread over the globe.
1. Be organized. This should go without saying. Regardless to whether your team is centrally or remotely based, as the leader you need to be organized. However, with this model your team organization is even more vital. When some members of your team have a workday that ends before yours starts, you need to be proactive and on schedule.
2. Create a central, online base. Your team is comprised of humans, all of whom have many things to remember. Rather than hoping that everyone will remember how to complete certain tasks, when deadlines are, etc., you need to create a central repository where all of this information can be stored. We use workspaces in which team members can find all pertinent PeKu information.
3. Develop and implement guidelines. Your expectations need to be stated clearly and posted for review. (See item #2) For example, most PeKu articles are due by noon ET on Sunday. The editors check for completion every Sunday at this time. If writers aren’t able to complete work by then, they need to notify the appropriate editor. Those who don’t complete work in a timely fashion can expect to have their work reassigned.
4. Don’t overdo team emails. No one wants to receive daily, rambling emails from their boss. However, occasional/monthly emails with important updates are worth reading. As long as you email only with notes vital to the team, they will read these emails.Things of lesser importance can be saved for a future email or just added to the team workspace.
5. Be available to your team. While you shouldn’t be sending emails too frequently to your team, you also should let them know that there are open channels for communication. Whether you prefer email, instant messaging, or a phone call is your choice. Just be sure that your team knows that although they don’t see you, you are available for questions and concerns.
While managing a team from a distance may not seem ideal, it can be done successfully.
I look forward to hearing from you at www.unionleader.com/expert or http://abihub.org/ask-the-expert/ or please contact me directly at email@example.com.
Michele Pesula Kuegler is the CEO and editor-in-chief of PeKu Publications, which she founded in 2008. Prior to this, Michele was the editor of Tasty Thoughts, an independent food and restaurant website that she started in 2007. Ms. Pesula Kuegler entered the world of publishing with a unique background and fresh perspective. Having built a small audience in her initial niche property, Tasty Thoughts, she combined her management and editing skills from her teaching career with her newly developed publishing skills by expanding from one property to a network of 24 publications. Since the launch of PeKu Publications, she has overseen the continued growth of content and readers. You can learn more about Peku Publications at: Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more at pekupublications.com; facebook.com/pekupublications; twitter.com/pekupub or pinterest.com/pekupub/.