By Martina Selvagi
Photo by Kevin Bhagat
Planning weddings can be stressful and overwhelming as it is without the added complexity of running a team – let alone across 3 countries. Yet that is exactly the challenge my destination wedding planning group has. To stay productive while operating in different locations, I’ve developed a collaborative workflow and style of leadership that ensures my team is always on the same page and feeling valued every step of the way.
Here are a few ways I manage to keep my remote wedding planning team productive across 3 different countries:
Weekly Online Meetings
With scheduled weddings or not, I see to it that I meet my remote team on a weekly basis. During those virtual online meetings, each team member is allowed to choose whatever subject/s he or she wishes to discuss. We also pick out next week’s topics in the meeting.
Because I know my team inside and out, I believe that they are much more productive when they are involved in decision making. Hence, I see to it that I create a working environment that makes everyone feel important and involved. In that way, they are more keen to practice procedures or suggest new solutions, even if sometimes we don’t end up going with their ideas.
I believe it is also important for my team to develop a certain closeness – to a point where they can get support and inspiration from one another. And so, we have chat rooms and groups where we can share inspiring and encouraging reads – time management, marketing, and even sometimes things they could also use in their personal lives. It’s really amazing how this strengthens their passion and helps them be more creative.
Flexible Holiday Time
In the event planning business, schedules are simply unpredictable. That is why I see to it that my team gets plenty of time off to rest and re-energize. Giving them at least 6 weeks per year of paid leave really makes my team more happy and very productive at work. Plus, I notice that they rarely take sick leaves because of this – so this one really works like a charm.
Shorter Working Days
After my years of experience, I realized that working less hours in the office makes everyone in my team more productive. I have also learned that understanding them and giving them flexibility is a very desirable leadership quality. From doing so, my team is more inspired and dedicated; and it’s a lot easier to for me to push them to always do better.
Word-of-mouth is still the best way to market and grow your wedding planning business; that’s why ensuring your quality of service is always key. Because of that, I train my team to follow a certain set of standard procedures and protocols on everything that we do – meeting, planning, talking to clients, coordinating with vendors, resolving conflicts, and more. And, when everything is organized and systematized, it’s also easier for me to track their productivity and take measures to improve it when needed.
Project Management Accessibility
As mentioned earlier, it really helps that everyone feels involved. Thus, I make all our projects accessible for everyone in one place – by using Asana. This amazing project management tool is what we use to collaborate on client tasks. It allows us to keep up communication on team members’ tasks and share input on them.
Freedom of Expression
After years of being a leader (not an employer), I have learned how important it is to understand that everyone likes to be heard. My team very well knows that all of them are open to share their thoughts and ideas. As a result, I could say that almost 80% of my company’s growth has come from brainstorming – team members being empowered to express their own ideas.
People love to be acknowledged for a job well done. I have learned that when you appreciate your team members and acknowledge their performance, they are more inspired and develop a can-do attitude.
In summary, despite the challenges and hurdles of handling a remote wedding planning team, I successfully manage to do so by ensuring my team members:
- Are valued and appreciated
- Empowered to make decisions and offer input
- Enjoy flexibility and plenty of time off
- Have standard procedures to follow
- Are heard from often
Consequently, they are happy, inspired and motivated to stay productive.
Keeping a remote team productive can be challenging. But with the right tools and leadership mindset, you can turn chaos into order with any team.
About the Author
Martina Selvagi is the founder of Wed Our Way, a cheerful destination wedding planning team serving Malta, Croatia and France.