Working with a remote team can be a dream or a nightmare. Over the past few weeks and months many of us have had both experiences. Whilst working with a remote team, when planned, can bring many benefits and accelerate your business growth, if it’s not planned then it can wreak havoc.
Obviously due to coronavirus, a lot of the remote work changes were not planned and therefore this has caused blocks for people who are now working remotely when they have never had to before. These have not been normal circumstances – for many school closures and changed routines have meant that they have had to battle through the anxiety of a pandemic whilst taking on new roles at home.
There are some unspoken rules of working with remote teams that should be taken into account, which we will be covering in this article.
Working remotely can have an amazing effect on communication, or it can cause blocks within the team. One way to deal with this and break down silos is to ensure that everyone is communicating on a daily basis and checking in with one another.
Of course, this is easier in person when someone is sitting on the desk across from you, however it needn’t be difficult in a remote team. Figuring out the best communication methods, hours of communication and check in point is essential to success within a remote team.
Don’t be scared of over-communicating and aligning team with the goals, desired outcomes and objectives. You will always be better off if you do that than if you under communicate and that affects your performance of your team, work tasks and deadlines.
Working remotely is all about setting out what you can expect from each other. This might mean you need to schedule in times when you check in with the teams during the day, or posting on a remote working board like Trello about the priority tasks for the week and how far in people are getting with them using Kanban.
Expectations when working remotely can be an issue, as if they are not effectively communicated, you will notice that deadlines are missed and opportunities will escape you. It’s not as easy to check in with each other online, so make sure that a reminder is set for managers to check in on projects, eliminate impediments, motivate the team and see how people are getting on. Make sure the meetings are happening over video.
Once these expectations are clearly set, it is up to the individual to complete their task and bring it back to the group in a reset meeting where you run through what expectations have been met.
Scheduling daily morning check-in meetings will ensure you stay connected with the team members and ensure the most important priorities are being worked on during the day.
Having your team to celebrate their previous days accomplishments, declaring their priorities for the day, share any issues that need to be urgently addressed to stay on schedule and also communicate the support they would need from the other team players, creates a culture of performance teams.
Being part of the larger purpose and being surrounded by other motivated team players who are achieving daily, encourages teams to perform themselves and be at their best. It creates a culture of accountability and performance. It is a time for you to challenge your team members to help you get you to your goals faster through collective creative thinking and innovation.
In order to minimise mistakes and make sure that everyone is happy, it’s essential that we create a culture of asking for help. This may mean that you allocate a project manager to the project, or it might mean that managers are made aware that they need to be there for their teams.
By creating a culture of asking for help, you will ensure that people feel comfortable and will get the assistance they need before making a mistake. Make sure your people are available, with an online communication channel that helps them communicate in real-time. This can sometimes be even more effective than face to face communication once it’s up and running.
Sometimes the most important business meetings happen over coffee breaks, or at the water cooler whilst you’re filling your water bottle up. These obviously can’t happen whilst we’re working remotely, but what can happen is a virtual coffee break where people can maintain a sense of community and can catch up over video calls or phone calls in a more casual way.
Scheduling these in will have a great effect on the team – they will be able to catch up informally and break up their day with some interaction. Often the trickiest part of working remotely is the loneliness that can cause motivation to slump. By meeting remotely we allow people to chat and enjoy the human interaction that we all crave and miss. They can share their unique challenges working from home, share ideas for dealing with them and also practices that make work fun and rewarding.
We believe that working remotely is the next natural step in many business strategies – not just because of coronavirus but because it gives us access to a whole pool of talent that we didn’t have access to before.
Working with remote teams has now been proven as an easy and cost-effective method, which is why so many businesses are opting to learn more about hiring remote, nearshore or offshore workers.
Get in touch with us today to discover how our remote workers can help solve your most critical business challenges.