Remote working is becoming the new normal for companies around the world, with 57% of companies certain that it’s here for the long-term. But while looking to the future is one thing, putting in place an actionable plan for it is another.
Managing a remote team presents a number of challenges to businesses. How do you keep engagement and productivity up? How do you create a sense of team ethic? How do you ensure that deadlines are met and that your team members don’t get distracted?
It’s not easy but many businesses are already managing the transition – and so can yours.
In this remote work survival guide, we’ll be taking a look at how you can keep your business growing via a distributed team.
Leverage Reliable Communication Tools
When your team members are not sitting next to their colleagues in the office, but instead are located miles and miles away from them, staying in touch can be a lot trickier. And for the sake of a project, communication is absolutely essential for remote workers.
Invest in communication tools that allow your team members to stay in touch constantly and share content and ideas. Communication tools like Asana also let your remote team see a complete overview of tasks that need to be completed, and they each get a notification when it’s their turn to take a specific action.
Tools like these are good for maintaining contact, staying on top of work, as well as boosting morale. With a tool such as Slack, you can create separate rooms for 1:1 conversations with team members, projects and general team chit-chat.
You could even take your team’s communication a step further by building a Slack alternative or customize a live-chat web app by using a custom slack alternative.
Employ Communication Etiquette
It’s important that you and your remote team are clear regarding communication etiquette, too. The best communication tools allow everyone to switch off their notifications when they’re either working on a different project or taking a time-out from work. This is important because the last thing a remote worker needs is to feel as though they can never disconnect.
Make sure to create a proper working atmosphere with your remote workers by only sending out emails during normal working hours, too. Once you get into the habit of sending off emails in the middle of the night, it can create an unwanted atmosphere.
Regularly Give Constructive Feedback
It can be really easy to overlook the need to give feedback if your team isn’t sitting by your side. But feedback remains crucial to the long-term development of your employees. It gives them confidence, helps them learn from their mistakes and it makes expectations clear. More than anything else, it means your employees still feel connected with your company. For managers, meanwhile, feedback helps them to stay engaged with their employees.
In fact, according to a recent publication in IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, Non-technical factors can have the most substantial positive impact on employee productivity. The article cites job enthusiasm, peer support for new ideas, and useful feedback on job performance as key motivators. The ability to work remotely and task variety contribute as well.
Use Performance Management Tools
If you’re the type of manager who finds it hard to give feedback, there are tools that can help. 15Five, for example, is a performance management tool that gives your employees 15 minutes to answer a survey, before you get five minutes to review it. It’s up to you to set the questions and this customization allows you to tweak the survey so that you’re able to extract the feedback you need.
But feedback should also be spontaneous, too. If a remote worker has done a good job, let them know. Keep them in the know via your communication tools, and stay connected with them.
Hold Regular Team Meetings
Team meetings are a great way to keep everyone in the loop while solving problems together. They also give more opportunities to clarify company policies and plan out projects. They’re great for introducing new team members, too.
Video Conferencing Tools
If your team is working remotely, team meetings can be harder to organize (especially if everyone lives in different time zones). But you can start by using video conference technology like Zoom to organize and host team meetings. Before you launch a meeting with a tool, make sure you familiarize yourself with its interface first.
It’s also a good idea to use a video conferencing tool that comes with additional features, such as screen-sharing capabilities. By sharing your screen, you can make your virtual team meetings similar to face-to-face meetings by letting your team view notes and updates. Try to find a tool that allows you to record your meetings, too, just in case there are team members who can’t make it.
Remote work has the potential to make or break a business. But if you do the right things and use permanent solutions for remote work productivity, you will create every opportunity to turbocharge your business and help take it to the next level.
Use the tips in this article to keep morale up, boost productivity and efficiency, and ensure that your remote team delivers results.