Tips for Working with a Remote Team
Remote teams are no longer an alien concept for Indians. In fact, more than 50% of Indian officegoers said they work remotely at least once a week, according to a survey published by the International Workplace Group in 2018. Employers have also become more open to this phenomenon, with almost 95% employers in the same survey stating that a flexible work culture enabled employees to be more productive. Companies that have the processes in place to work with remote team are also able to attract better talent. All this has been made possible by technological advancements, better connectivity, more affordable prepaid and postpaid plans and the plethora of free communication and coordination apps available.
If you need to manage a remote team, here are some tips to make it easier and more effective.
How to Better Manage Your Remote Workforce
Working with a remote team can be tricky. The lack of face-to-face communicationmight make employees feel isolated and disconnected, which can have a negative impact on their commitment and productivity. Before starting a project with a distant team, ensure that they have the right device and postpaid plans to stay connected. Here are a few other strategies to boost productivity and engagement and keep the work flowing effectively.
Track Work Output
There is a certain degree of uncertainty when working with a remote team. You don’t want to be left wondering whether they are working and will meet their deadlines. So, it’s important to have well-defined tasks and regular reports of output achieved. There are several project management tools, like Podio, Basecamp, Asana and Trello, that can help break work down into tasks, assign them to different team members, review milestones and check progress made by each member. Such tools will allow you to get a quick overview of the project status, so that you’re not caught by surprise by a massive delay in delivery.
Communicate More Often
Often remote team members miss providing updates or don’t communicate in time when they face an issue. It’s best to engage with themregularly and frequently. Be aware that many remote employees will be using their smartphones to connect, given the high-speed connectivity and huge amount of data being offered by postpaid plans. So, consider setting up a WhatsApp group for all team members of a project to coordinate. With voice and video calls being free, this is a great option. You could also use Google Hangouts in case you need a screenshare.
Follow a weekly and monthly schedule. The weekly meetings can revolve around providing updates and discussing issues or addressing questions related to the project. The monthly schedule could involve sharing of feedback and suggestions. Also, consider having a group for sharing fun, non-business conversations.
Keep Your Team Committed
With a remote team, you don’t exchange a smile and you can’t give them a pat on the back for a job well done. Instead, you could make them feel an important part of the team that is contributing to the overall success of the company. Here are few ways to do so:
- Share the vision and mission of the company and tell them how their tasks contribute towards accomplishing these
- Keep your team up to date with the company’s progress and challenges
- Let them know what is going on in the other departments of the company and how they are contributing to the bigger picture
- Involve them in important projects, meetings and events
- Convey explicitly that they are valuable assets for the team
- Consider sending a small gift or a thank you card when the company or the team achieves something
- Pay their monthly postpaid plan bill to encourage them to be constantly in touch with you.
Arrange Regular Feedback and Appreciation Meetings
Researches show that recognition at the workplace is a great motivation for employees to give their best performance. Provide your team members useful feedback from time to time and keep them engaged and informed. You can use platforms like Slack or Hangout to provide feedback, recognition and words of encouragement to your team.
Address Common Challenges
Consider taking active steps to include your team in every meeting and conference. Studies show that two thirds of remote workers feel their colleagues alter project plans without telling them. To overcome this challenge, it is crucial to take extra measures to build trust and connection among team members. Consider using real-time collaboration tools like Slack and ProofHubto prevent this feeling of exclusion. Discuss projects, plans, progress and deadlinesto make sure your team members are in constant touch with each other to avoid any kind of stress or grudges.
Consider going out of your way to form personal bonds with remote employees. Ask them about their families and friends, their hobbies and interests and beliefs. Make sure the entire team is communicating at a personal level to strengthen their bond, trust and mutual respect.
With these simple tips, it’s possible to keep employees focused and productive and overcome the daily challenges of working with a remote team. Remember to stay updated with more innovative communication tools and better postpaid plans to keep the team working as one cohesive unit.