Increasing productivity, team happiness, and work-life balance for remote workers.
What is a remote team?
A remote or a virtual team is a group of people brought together to work for common goals and projects without being co-located. Remote teams can be geographically located in different areas and time zones.
What are the benefits of a remote team?
The flexibility of virtual teams is increased compared to the traditional team members
You can work with the most talented people worldwide and build a diverse team, not sticking to a specific location.
You don't need to spend a few hours daily on a commute and have more time for yourself
Remote employees organize their workflow by themselves, which in most cases results in increased productivity
Employers save money on rent, water, electricity, office equipment, team-building events, and more.
What are the main challenges in a remote team?
As it is becoming increasingly common for employees working remotely, the number of remote team management challenges has risen significantly. Here are the most common challenges and difficulties remote teams and their managers often face:
Not respecting everyone's time;
No clear roles and tasks;
Difficult to track employees performance;
Lack of cohesion within the team;
Different time zones;
Loneliness and isolation;
This is the basic list, as there are a lot more challenges, depending on employee's personality, team, projects, and other factors. But how can remote teamwork become more productive and efficient, continuously delivering results? There are many ways to achieve it, and here we list some best practices to get started with.
1/ It would be best if you had an SSOT
A Single Source of Truth is a concept used to ensure that everyone in an organization bases business decisions on the same data. It is a platform where all company knowledge and information are stored and managed centrally to avoid overlaps and duplication. A SSOT should serve as a single, centralized resource with guidelines, helpful links and materials, team project information, meeting information, team schedules, the place for inspiration and ideas. It can have some weekly updates and other informal stuff.
Using SSOT, your team can access the most up-to-date information and know everything about the work progress: which projects are running, completed, postponed, or need an update. Task management tools, such as Infolio, in many cases can be a suitable choice for a SSOT.
2/ Set your expectations early and clearly
Each team member should know exactly what is expected from him within the work process. A team lead, or a manager should set clear expectations for:
Key projects and deadlines
Respond to email
It would be much better to have all of your expectations placed in a single file, which would be available for each employee all the time, in your trusted SSOT.
3/ Give your employees the right work instructions, onboarding, and help, when needed
Whether you already have a team or hiring a remote employee, you should have a particular process established. Starting a remote position is more difficult and challenging. Therefore, a manager must help and support employees using the right communication channels. For every remote employee, communication matters, especially at the very beginning, during the onboarding process. Therefore, it is recommended to have more face-to-face video meetings and the right tools for work and effortless communication.
4/ Invest time in team bonding and team spirit development
Don't forget about informal conversations and fun time together as a team. It's more important than it may seem. Of course, it is much simpler to know a person sitting whole day beside you, working together, spending hours together you start understanding your colleagues and personality they possess better. Growing a positive remote culture in your remote team is more challenging, but with a friendly chat, informal meetings (once in a week or two), online (or offline, if possible) team building events. There are plenty of ideas for online team-building activities. You can choose what fits your team the best.
5/ Build a solid workflow
Collaboration certainly is the key, and remote teammates need it just like others do. Nobody likes to work in a team where everyone works independently. In fact, if you pursue outstanding achievements and impressive results, you have to build the workflow that works for your team. You need to define and organize how the following things are going to function in your team:
Maintaining team's communication;
Keeping track of project evolution;
Time management, team's timesheet organization;
Information and file sharing;
Interaction across different time zones.
You have to set expectations for each of these points and define how it is realized in your team, e.g., who is responsible for what, which tools are used, how often are the checkpoints, etc.
Your remote team working culture will flourish when you have everything under one roof. And this can be made possible when you rely on team management software to plan tasks, projects, and even people. So, pay special attention to the software choice. This might become a real remote work savior for your team's productivity and project success.
As the market is going global, so should your team. And when you have to manage your remote team, make sure you are always in the know of what is happening. Having the right tips and tricks on effectively managing remote employees, you should be ready to create an energetic business with your remote workers. You will be surprised by your team's results if you are prepared to put in those little extra efforts and drive your team towards success.
Starting a remote team or managing a distributed team, you might find our Remote Team Workflow template handy. Also check out the Team Meeting Planning template and the Remote Teamwork Across Departments template.