Remote work is sort of a big deal. This year, many teams have had to take their business from the office to their homes and find ways to stay on top of communication and collaboration to ensure everything gets done the way it should be. Now, around two-thirds of global employees work remotely. Of course, there are huge benefits to having remote teams on board. Remote teams can demonstrate better focus and productivity, and they often report having a better work/life balance. Many of them are less stressed, and they also find opportunities for professional development.
However, making sure you are doing all you can to encourage effective collaboration is key if you want to get the best out of your team. In this guide to better collaboration for your remote workers, you’ll find an abundance of ways to help them work together effectively and ensure there are no crossed wires. Read on to learn more.
1. Make The Most of Tools and Resources Available
Ensure you’re making the most of tools and resources available for your remote team. Send them free resources that they can use to improve their processes and stay productive, and invest in tools that could help them to work together better. Zoom, Gchat, Trello, and similar tools can work really well. You could even suggest things like Mac Torrents so they can easily download large files from the web. Provide them with as much help and support as possible in the form of tools and resources and this will make their lives easier and show them that you care.
2. Create A Team or Community Feeling
Making the effort to create a team or community feeling can make a huge difference to the overall productivity and happiness of remote workers. See if you can give your remote workers a place they can chat and hang out – even if this is happening virtually. A ‘Virtual watercooler’ can be a great place to share jokes, memes, tips, and just catch up with one another, helping to cultivate a healthy company culture. To make this more relaxed, you could even exclude managers from the chat. You can have a chat including managers, but one without will make employees feel less like they are being spied on or having somebody peek over their shoulders.
3. Make Your Expectations Abundantly Clear
Of course, you need to make your expectations abundantly clear. Having a clear work process that makes sense will enable everyone to stick to a certain format – but allow them to choose their own peak working hours, as everyone has a different time-frame for that. Make sure each worker knows what their role is, what is expected of them, their deadlines, how to contact you, and even what will happen if their deadlines are not met. You can never communicate too much with a remote team.
4. Show You Care About Their Wellbeing
Showing that you care about your remote team’s wellbeing could go a long way to cultivating a healthy company culture and making people feel less isolated when working at home. Feeling isolated and undervalued is one of the biggest issues for remote workers. Having monthly or even bi-weekly wellbeing calls could ensure that each member of the team is doing fine and will also give them an opportunity to ask for changes or help if they need it. Providing support may take time, but showing your team that you truly care can make a huge difference to their outlook and output.
5. Provide Feedback and Performance Calls/Reports
As well as showing your team that you care about their wellbeing, make sure you provide feedback and performance calls/reports. Giving your team a chance to improve if you don’t feel like they are doing all they should be is a must – but remember, if they have suddenly gone from working in the office to at home, changes are to be expected. There will be teething problems, and not everybody has a private, quiet area they can work. They may also have childcare responsibilities and things that distract them and slow them down. Doing what you can to help them and aiming to understand their situation better can make a big difference, too.
6. Ask For Feedback From Them
Don’t just be the one giving feedback – ask for feedback from them. See if there’s anything they think you could be doing better. Sometimes, it’s better to give an anonymous way of gathering feedback so that people don’t feel under pressure to say nice things and avoid saying what they really think. When you do get feedback, make sure you take it on board. Showing them that you have listened and care enough to make changes will go a very long way.
How Do You Know You’re Ready To Manage A Remote Team?
If you tend to micromanage workers, then a remote team may not be for you. You need to be able to let go of the reins quite a bit when you begin implementing and managing remote teams. Aside from that, here are some pointers that will give you a good idea of whether you’re ready to implement this change permanently:
- You have good collaboration practices in place already, including a project management tool for remote workers so that everybody can see clear instructions and deadlines so that they can stay on task.
- You have a list of specific goals and KPIs. Remote workers need this so they understand how you define success and how their role contributes to the goals of the company as a whole.
- You have video conferencing capabilities using platforms like Zoom.
- You use remote access tools so that workers can connect services and hard drives outside of the office. Not always necessary, but can be helpful.
- Your business will benefit from it. Not all businesses are built for remote work. Industries like marketing, sales, and communication departments suit remote work.
Remember, providing your team is hitting deadlines and completing tasks to the expected standard, it shouldn’t matter how many hours they’ve logged.