“Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it.” G.B. Shaw
Working on the remote team will get you to listen often phrases from colleagues which imply that you are having fun while rest of world is working. People around you will assume that working from home is like being on a continuous vacation. In reality work out of office is different and new mind and skill set is required to perform it well.
The effectiveness of a remote workforce is already established, but how can a company effectively lay a foundation to manage the remote workforce environment? Below are essential lessons for success when working remotely.
Keep team always focused on results
Once when you join the remote team, you will notice that there is no meaningless conversation with office colleagues, buying bosses birthday presents or being good at making jokes in the office. This type of human relationship can get you many credits in traditional fixed location office.
Suddenly you will understand real benefit of working remotely, which is the simple fact that all that counts are only results of your work. Not actions regarding work but only results of work do count.
The fact that a team is remote makes the chances of losing focus very high. This is why clear and attainable goals must be put in place from the onset. Provide the team with a metrics about projects and goals. Each team member should have clarity on what role they play in relation to each goal. For every member of the team to collectively work towards a shared goal, you must provide an online hub or portal where they can see their overall progress against the goal and encourage one another.
Talk to your team
Managing or working as part of remote workforce requires effective communication front and center. In reality, remote members of the team have to be better at communication than their office colleagues. Business owners and managers must be willing to invest in technology that can allow the entire team to stay connected.
Without the ability to simply walk to your office colleague, communication needs to be clear, and communication channel set up correctly. Alternatively, people will lose their focus and goals due to lack of understanding where are they in present moment.
With tools like Slack, which have the ability to set up different channels for various teams using further integrations we can consistently communicate what the team needs to know. Communication remains permanently visible to every member of the team, and new information can be added transparently.
Track work process and plan ahead
The more a company can document repeatable parts of how many projects the team is completing, the fewer errors and disappointments will arise. Team members should all be responsible for keeping track of any recurring tasks they perform for clients or the company. The structure of work and plan ahead is necessary to remote teams as that will prevent too many corrective meetings or actions. Learning how to plan and structure days productively is essential so team working remotely can be more productive.
Create accountability structures
When working with a remote team, having a simple process that entire team can follow is making sure that there are efficiency and standard, no matter at where in the world members of the team are.
Employees must know their expectations and their communication chain. When an employer lays these things out, they must develop a check-in protocol. Companies must regularly reach out to the workforce to continually sync up on priorities or issues for their jobs that align with business objectives.
Have real meetings once every few months
Nothing is better than bringing all your remote team members together at least once every three to five months. In that way, you will build a more solid rapport among your team members within a few days of working face to face as a team.
The absence of an everyday conversation usual in the office setting makes a rapport difficult to establish. So make out a setting separate from the typical group arrangement to engage each employee in one on one conversations. This may seem difficult if you have many employees, but it goes a long way in effectively managing a remote workforce.
Making sure that at least one full hour is devoted to one on ones every week will allow you cover a variety of topics as well as permit you to dive into issues a that typically are not covered in group discussions.
Never cancel on appointments
Everyone knows that remote team members miss out on many things that happen in a typical office setting. Some information that is naturally expected to spread through the office will not penetrate the remote workforce as fast.
When you always cancel on one on ones, your team may develop resentment for you and your organization. They will agree to another one on one appointment the next time you ask, but it would not be from their hearts.
Being consistent in one on one sections will provide an ideal opportunity to make up and handle all the little things which build up during the week with an open mind. When you make a habit of canceling, your employees will lose trust in you. If circumstances are entirely beyond your control, then reschedule these sessions, but never cancel.
Isolation is never easy
Working remotely brings much isolation, and very often company and intention of the company can look very different to reality when viewed from far away location. Working in an office means spending the day surrounded by colleagues. While office colleague is dreaming of going home and having some peace, at the same time a person working remotely is dreaming of spending more time with people.
Because communication with your remote team is mostly non-verbal, it may be difficult to explain how you feel about the situation. Especially when it comes to work, words can appear more aggressive or may not be explanatory as you would like.
So when an employee does a great job or your team earns a win, craft a message thanking everyone for their contribution. Forward the message to all staff who participated in the job. When the team feels appreciated, they will be more willing to put in their best all the time.
Running a business with a remote team is not easy. However, when companies take full advantage of such methods and supporting technological innovations, they will reap the benefits and jump way ahead of competitors who still are not using such an approach.
By Dario Sipos
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