Major workplace shifts always come with some level of stress. Still, you can minimize losses in productivity by following a few essential steps based on the experience of companies with long records of using remote teams.
These 12 Tips Will Help Managers and Remote Team Members Equally.
Set Expectations From the Start.
Remote team members can’t be engaged and committed when they’re confused about job expectations. Communicating Work for Home (WFH) guidelines and policies prior to WFH from home starts, helps to manage expectations & productivity. Everything from expected working hours to project milestones, and performance goals should be communicated directly from the onset of WFH.
Check In Often.
When managers and their teams work in the same location, it’s easy to walk over and ask a team member for a status update. Since casual face-to-face meetings aren’t possible with remote team members, check-ins should be scheduled daily or at least once per week to keep remote team members engaged and focused.
Communicate Clearly and Consistently.
Remote team members usually have fewer channels for receiving company news, so it’s more important than ever for managers to convey important information on a consistent basis and be sure to be clear. Repeat key messages often during team meetings, even if it feels redundant.
Take Advantage of Video Technology.
According to the Harvard Business Review, face-to-face communication is more than 30 times more effective than email. Use video conferencing technology like Zoom and Microsoft Teams to increase understanding in one-on-one meetings and encourage collaboration in team meetings.
Management transparency is a key factor in determining team member trust and confidence. Be open in communicating the reasons behind work deadlines and organizational changes — answer work-related questions as honestly as possible.
Foster a Team Vision.
Managers who communicate a sense of purpose can help their teams stay motivated, especially when working remotely. Explaining how team efforts align with and support organizational goals can help unite team members who are geographically separated.
Empower Virtual Team Members.
Although it may be hard to resist the urge to micromanage remote team members who are out of sight, it’s more effective to trust virtual teams to get their jobs done. Empowering team members and trusting them to do what they need to do has been shown to increase productivity and engagement.
Provide Support and Encouragement.
Remote team members may have fewer opportunities to discuss their issues and concerns. Pay attention to each team member’s needs and provide the appropriate level of direction. Support their professional development by helping with goal setting and providing honest feedback.
Listen to Feedback.
Another way to gain the trust of remote team members is by being as open to hearing feedback as you are to giving it. See criticism as an opportunity for growth rather than a personal affront.
Encourage Remote Social Interaction.
Virtual teams have fewer opportunities for the kind of casual social interaction that can build strong working relationships. It’s not surprising that many remote team members report feeling disconnected from other members of their team. Managers can help combat their team’s feelings of isolation by organizing online gatherings and events that reflect the company’s social culture.
Be Flexible and Empathetic.
Remote team members working at home may find it harder to avoid personal demands during the day. Allow them to set their own hours for tasks that can be completed outside normal working hours. Flexibility and empathy will go a long way towards helping a virtual team remain productive under sometimes difficult circumstances.
Value Work-Life Balance.
It’s easy for remote team members to feel there are no boundaries between work life and personal life when they’re bombarded with work communications at all hours. Managers should recognize that virtual teams may be under unseen pressure at home and encourage them to stop working at the end of the workday.
By encouraging communication, providing the right technology, and recognizing the unique challenges of working remotely, managers can help virtual teams stay productive, engaged, and ready to work together for success.
If you want to learn more about how to efficiently manage your virtual team, contact coAmplifi today. We are here to give you expert tips and advice to help your team members thrive.