Remote working is the new normal in the business world today. In the recent past, most employers are choosing to have their employees work remotely for obvious reasons. Besides saving on rent for office space, there is the opportunity to hire the best talent regardless of where they are in the globe. However, for a remote team to be optimally productive there is a need for the team players to work together despite being apart physically. How do you ensure that there is better collaboration between your remote team and yourself? Here are some rules that you can follow.
1. State clearly goals and expectations
In an office setup, it’s easier to hold employees accountable since you can just pop in their office to check the process of a project and you even monitor the time they use working. It is different for remote workers though since you can’t reach them physically.
To make sure a remote worker is putting in the required efforts towards a certain project, it is important to set clear goals and expectations. Have a deadline for when they can send in emails. Have a goal structure in place and let them know what they are expected to achieve daily, weekly or monthly.
In a remote working setup, time management is a challenge for many and meeting set expectations can be hard. However, you can help your remote workers manage their time better by investing in time management training. They will learn effective time-management strategies that will go a long way in driving and improving team efficiency.
2. Consider their appropriate time to connect
Being that your remote workers are scattered all over the world, it’s possible that they are in a different time zone from you. It is important to know where each is located so that you are aware when you can reach them. It can be so frustrating for them if you are asking for feedback when the time on their side can’t allow them to
Get to know their preferred working hours, their strategies as well as their roles. When you are aware of these things, you will be able to work better together with your team members. You will assign tasks and communicate when time is appropriate, leaving everyone happy and motivated.
3. Give feedback regularly
In order to work better, remote workers need to feel they are part of the team. They want the assurance that their work is being appreciated and help availed where they fail.
While its almost natural to applaud an employee who walks in your office with a file of his completed project, it’s easier to overlook applauding a remote worker since they can’t see you.
Make it a habit to appreciate their work, give them an opportunity to learn whenever one comes up and regularly give feedback. When remote workers feel like part of the team, you can be sure that working together will be much easier and productive.
4. Hold weekly video conferencing
Messages, emails and voice calls seem to be the most preferred mode of communication between managers and remote teams. However, you miss the important body language and facial expressions that come with a video call or face-to-face meetings.
If you are not able to gather your team for a physical meeting regularly, invest in the right tools for video conferencing. Ensure that you and your team have a video conferencing session weekly. Here, you will have an opportunity to clear up misunderstandings, handle conflicts and heated exchanges when looking at the people. It is also the best way to kick off new projects as well as foster good interpersonal relationships for improved teamwork. However, if your employees don’t love the idea of having to get dressed up for the weekly video calls (which they most likely don’t), then you can also try regular conference calls and alternate between these two methods. This way, the meetings won’t be as monotonous and you’ll make the most out of your weekly sessions.
5. Have a team-building retreat
Having video conferences regularly is good for your team, but it can never beat meeting physically together as a team. Ensure that you provide an opportunity for your team to meet face-to-face at least once a year.
Annual company retreats are a great way for the team to let loose and relax after a year of hard work. Involve your workers in planning, choosing a location and team building activities to engage in. Spending a weekend together will help in budding meaningful relationships for better collaboration.
Not seeing your remote teams on a daily basis can get you thinking that they are fine working in isolation. Remember that they are human; try to be intentional in making them feel like part of the team every chance you get. When your employees are happy, they will be motivated to drive results.