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Remote Culture 4 min read

Building Remote Teams: Six Things You Need to Know

Dallin Porter photo

Written by Dallin Porter

Marketing Director @ Galactic Fed

Dallin Porter photo

Expert reviewed by Dallin Porter

Marketing Director @ Galactic Fed

Published 02 Dec 2020

As Jason Fried said in the highly-regarded book, Rework, “Workaholics aren’t heroes. They don’t save the day; they just use it up. The real hero is home because she figured out a faster way.” This concept really stands out when you build a remote marketing team, much more in starting a whole marketing company online.

 Recently we spoke with Irina Papuc, one of the co-founders of Galactic Fed about how to grow and manage a remote team, since Galactic Fed is a completely remote digital marketing agency with an international team spread over 5 time zones. 

“In the past two years, we have faced many challenges and successes as we grew from a staff of five in our origin to over 100 today. During each phase as executives, we often had to re-learn management skills all over again! We’ve compiled our top lessons learned while building our teams at every scale.” Read on to find out these need-to-know strategies to managing and growing remote teams.

1. Envision your final form, and plan towards it.

Hypergrowth companies don’t happen by chance. It’s extremely rare for people to organically scale a business in a chaotic, random way, hiring employees just in time to do jobs that were made up yesterday. Far better is the architect who creates a vision for how his or her company will look at 5x, 10x, 20x, 100x, and carefully scales according to that plan. Be the architect, not the juggler.

2. Become an effective over-communicator.

Building and managing marketing teams in an office is challenging enough. Now swap the office for a remote work environment, the cubicle for a Slack channel, and real human beings for online avatars and emojis. The opportunities for miscommunication can be endless, and we found it extremely important to establish clear communication protocols from the very beginning. 

We learned quickly how important it was to set up clear online availability and response standards across all the team members and to include that as a standard part of Galactic Fed’s work culture. Like traditional brick and mortar businesses, we also made sure that all of our staff have the tools and tech they need to do a great job, training tips for online business communication into training from the beginning, and tweaking as we grew more used to day to day work.

3. Organize your org from day 1.

From assigning names and Slack channels, and Google doc formats, to building standardized internal and client-facing documents, to building project delivery schedules and specs, nailing down a tight organizational structure for your remote company is absolutely crucial, more than ever when coordinating with teams spread on other continents and time zones. Running a tight ship often means that we can ask a team member something just once and get a response without the need for back and forth clarification.

4. Resolve problems as they arise.

When you see a small problem, it’s easy to just resolve it quickly yourself and move on with your day. However, we quickly learned that by taking the extra steps to permanently resolve problems as they arise, we created a much more sustainable organization and built into our team the tools to resolve further related problems themselves, making everyone more independent.

5. Transform issues into learning opportunities.

Even the best people make mistakes. And more often than not, “mistakes” are not an issue of the individual - they’re an issue of the system. When you make a habit of calling out mistakes productively and offering solutions for the future, your employees will be more likely to surface issues instead of hiding them. Create a positive culture where people are rewarded for surfacing and solving problems. 

6. Bake continuous learning into your everyday.

Digital marketing changes by the day sometimes, and it’s vital to a marketing agency’s survival to stay up-to-date on the latest news and Google updates. Instead of encouraging the team to “read up on the latest news,” we include this step in our ongoing, monthly training, running in-house growth experiments and honing our knowledge of SEO and paid media every day. We also make sure to share our growth learnings with the org to all grow together as a team. Sometimes we do post-mortems on failed experiments so we can tweak our performance over time.

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Dallin Porter photo

Dallin Porter

Marketing Director @ Galactic Fed