The global pandemic played a significant role in establishing the new normality of remote work and the desire for greater work-life balance. Due to this, many companies are working toward offering a balance of in-office and remote work or fully remote options with the hope of retaining employees and improving productivity. Research has shown that remote workers are between 35-40% more productive than employees in offices, further fuelling the shift.
While there are obvious obstacles to moving your teams entirely remote, it is very doable. This article will provide you with six strategies and tips that your company can utilize to improve productivity, collaboration, and efficiency for your future or existing remote teams.
Team Structure Is Key
Take a step back and determine what kind of structure you want your remote team to have. If you are in the process of creating your remote team structure, ask yourself the following questions;
I. Do I want a team in the same country or in multiple?
II. Will my team work across different time zones?
III. Is a hybrid model possible or ideal?
It’s crucial that you choose a team structure based on the company, clients/product, and project needs to maximize your chances of success.
Select Team Members Carefully
Unfortunately, not everyone is suited for remote work. Some employees struggle without direct supervision and lack an ideal office setting to work from. When screening employees, look for ones who have identified strategies they use to maintain focus, proficiency, self-motivation, and good communication skills. Placing key importance on these skills will help attract and select employees more suited for remote working environments.
Set Clear Expectations
You’re setting your team up for failure without clear guidelines and expectations. Be sure that the team fully understands what is expected of them. A couple of ways to succeed in this area are to determine specific hours during which they are accessible online, when mandatory meetings will be, and preferred communication tools.
Scheduling daily or weekly check-ins with team members is also helpful. It provides a sense of connectedness, helps motivate employees, and builds morale. No employee wants to feel disconnected from the team, so take appropriate steps to ensure everyone is included.
Provide Tools & Resources
Your employees may have their own devices, such as cell phones, printers, or computers. But is it high enough quality to get the job done? Something to consider is what type of equipment your remote employees need. Suppose you want to foster the success of your remote teams. In that case, your employees need adequate technology to get the job done efficiently. Suppose your employee’s computer freezes every time they are on a video call. How can you expect them to be productive and engaged during important meetings?
Invest In Your Employees
Now that you’ve determined the logistics behind creating a remote team, you can consider additional ways to invest in your employees. If possible, offering access to a budget for training and development is an excellent way to invest in your employees. The growth in skillsets will benefit the company as they grow and learn new things for their role. Your employees will feel more connected to your company and less likely to seek new opportunities if you give them room to grow and prosper.
Prioritize Team-Building Opportunities
Create opportunities to get everyone together and team build! Plan activities at least once every couple of months to give your employees the chance to get to know each other better and share common interests. If it is impossible to get everyone together in person, consider a social activity online and include another aspect, such as having food delivered to each employee’s house. It can be as simple as an online happy hour or a collaborative trivia game.
Spotlight On - Slack
Slack, a San Francisco-based communications company, moved to embrace the remote work model further. According to a Twitter post from Slack in 2020, “most employees will have the option to work remotely permanently if they choose.” While still navigating the day-to-day changes this shift brings, it’s important to remember that Slack is a company whose product is a remote-working tool that facilities distance-collaboration among colleagues. Therefore, this shift to remote work acts as promotion and ammunition for Slack’s product and mission and an employee benefit.
Whether your company has remote teams or is looking to shift towards this model, the advice and guidelines discussed will assist you in making them better or implementing the system. It may seem daunting, but consider the amount of talent that will be available to you when you break down location barriers. Instead of recruiting in your company’s city or even country, you can find talent from across the globe. The possibilities with remote work are endless when used effectively and appropriately.