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How to Build a Remote Team for Your Cannabis Business

Remote work is becoming more and more popular every day. Since the COVID-19 pandemic forced many companies to allow remote working, many employees have realized they don’t want to return to work outside of home. At the same time, many employers have realized that having a remote team is more cost effective and productive than they thought before the pandemic.

It’s a trend we see in a wide variety of industries, including the cannabis industry. Today, more and more cannabis companies are giving workers what they want by creating remote teams when possible. Some successful cannabis businesses are made up of entirely remote teams while others have only a few employees working from home depending on their roles and responsibilities.

A long list of ancillary cannabis technology companies, marketing vendors, consultants and more have already transitioned to fully remote teams. For example, did you know all the CannabizMedia has the team always worked remotely? From the Pacific Northwest to sunny Florida, our team is spread across the country!

At the same time, many growers, manufacturers, dispensaries and other plant-related businesses are now allowing specific employees to work from home who do not need to be onsite to do their jobs.

One of the most important things to keep in mind when moving to a fully or partially remote team is that hiring and managing remote workers is a little different than in-house teams. With distance comes autonomy, and trust is paramount – both trust that your team members will do their jobs and trust that you will provide them with the tools, communications and benefits they need to be successful and happy. .

That said, here are some of the key things to keep in mind when building a remote team for your cannabis business.

1. Define what can be done remotely

The first step to building a remote team is determining what tasks can be done remotely. In the cannabis industry, this will depend on the type of business you have and the roles workers have to fill.

For example, many ancillary cannabis businesses can operate seamlessly with a fully remote team. A point-of-sale (POS) software company or accounting firm is unlikely to need physical office space. On the other hand, growers and trimmers need to be on hand to play their part in a growing business, but sales, marketing and other support teams probably don’t need to be there. on site – at least not 40 hours a week.

Take the time to define each role while looking for opportunities to enable remote work. How many tasks and projects really need to be done in a traditional work environment? If you are flexible in your thinking, you may find that much of the workspace you paid for is not needed at all!

2. Prioritize work ethic and self-motivation when recruiting

When hiring remote team members, your focus should be on hiring people based on their work ethic, not just their skills, knowledge, and experience. Remote workers must work independently, which means they must be independent thinkers, proactive, and problem solvers.

Some people find it difficult to stay motivated and focused when working from home without colleagues or supervisors around them. Therefore, it may be a good idea to hire people who have worked remotely in the past, if possible.

However, don’t exclude people who haven’t tried remote work yet (although that number has certainly gone down since the quarantines the world experienced at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic). They just might thrive in a virtual environment!

3. Revamp your interview process

Hiring remote workers requires a different interview process than hiring physical workers. The first step is to make sure you have the tools you need to conduct video interviews. Body language can tell you a lot about a candidate (and vice versa), so it’s important that interviewers and interviewees can see each other. Zoom is a great option for video interviews.

In addition to asking questions to verify each candidate’s experience, knowledge, and skills, you should include questions that lead to conversations about work ethic and self-motivation, as outlined in point 2 below. -above.

With that in mind, here are some interview questions you can ask to assess work ethic, motivation, and commitment — all of which are essential to being a successful and productive remote worker:

  • When you have extra time available while you work, how do you spend the time? What are some of the things you did in your previous jobs during slow times?
  • If you have a lot of things to do at once, how do you prioritize them? What are you doing to hold on?
  • If you encounter an issue that prevents you from completing a task or project, what do you do? Can you describe an example?
  • Can you describe one or more examples of actions you have taken to make your job easier or more efficient in your job?
  • Describe a time when you went above and beyond to do your job.
  • Describe a problem you encountered while completing a task or project and the steps you took to resolve it.
  • How to stay motivated on a daily basis? What if you encounter obstacles that make it difficult to perform your work?
  • What motivates you to go to work every day?
  • If you can’t meet a deadline, what do you do? How does that make you feel?
  • If you don’t know the answer to a question or how to do something, what do you do?

4. Provide the right tools and onboarding from day one

You wouldn’t want a new employee to show up at your office on the first day and find they don’t have a desk, computer, phone, or software to do their job, and you don’t want that happens to your remote team members either. Therefore, ensure that new recruits have the equipment, tools, credentials and software they will need to dive immediately.

The onboarding should also include an introduction to all other team members. Provide new remote workers with a list of all other team members with their roles and responsibilities, and explain who they should contact for different types of questions, issues, or assistance.

For those co-workers, the new hire will need to check in early and often, send a one-on-one introductory email, or message through your collaboration tool (like Slack – see #5 below) to break the ice. You can even pre-schedule introductory calls with each new hire and key team members to get things going as soon as they come on board.

5. Encourage open and frequent communications

When building and managing a remote team, open and frequent communication is key to everyone’s success. Use a collaboration tool like Soft to allow people to connect with each other as needed for quick one-on-one chats or group conversations.

You can also use Slack to encourage conversations that aren’t work-related. This is especially important for building relationships and fostering a corporate culture. You can also create Slack channels for projects, departments, and fun stuff. For example, consider creating Slack channels to talk about fun or entertaining topics, vacation plans, family, etc.

Use Zoom or a similar tool to allow your employees to quickly and easily organize audio and video meetings, scheduled or on the fly. The more you facilitate communication between remote workers, the stronger your team will be.

Keep in mind that for communications between remote workers to be effective, your company’s leaders need to set the tone and model behaviors by being the first to start and join the conversations.

6. Set tone and expectations from top to bottom

During the onboarding process, it’s essential that you teach remote workers which communication tools to use for different types of conversations. This way the whole team can stay on the same page and they will know what to expect.

For example, you can train your remote workers to use Slack for all internal conversations, email for external conversations, and your project management tool (e.g., Asana Where Trello) for conversations related to a specific project tracked with milestones, goals, and performance metrics.

Regardless of the communication directions, the leadership team should role model and actively use these tools in the same way they expect employees to use them.

7. Don’t micromanage

Nobody likes to be micromanaged, and experienced remote workers certainly don’t like to be micromanaged. For remote teams to be successful, you need to allow them to work independently.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you won’t know what they’re up to. You’ll get all the updates you need if you encourage open and frequent communications (see #3 above) and set specific goals with milestones and deadlines for each project.

Remember, to build a strong remote team for your cannabis business, you need to hire for work ethic, not just knowledge and skills (see #1). If you hire well, your problem won’t be whether your employees work a full 40-hour week. Instead, you’ll need to keep them from burning out by discouraging them from working too many hours.

To that end, don’t celebrate long working hours and never encourage remote workers to work on their days off. Telecommuters should know that you expect them to log off outside of working hours. Lead by example!

Key takeaways for building a remote team for your cannabis business

To build a remote team for your cannabis business, you must first hire strategically. Additionally, proper onboarding, open communications, leadership models, and trust are key to building a group of teleworkers who can become a successful team.

Originally published 06/07/21. Updated 01/21/22.

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