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Remote working was forced on us last-minute, but even months later there are ways to make our remote teams more effective today. With the current need to social distance in today's workforce, having an effective remote team is vital to your company’s success. Here are some ways to make your remote team better right now:
Trust Your Team
One of the most common concerns we hear from executives and leaders is that they want to keep their teams productive. While some companies have implemented invasive tracking technologies or multiple check-ins per day to keep tabs on their remote employees, this can reduce productivity and foster a negative environment.
Hopefully, your team is full of professionals who are engaged, committed, and want to see the company succeed. If you are having problems in those areas, you might consider that the problem is beyond the remote working. You can trust your team to do their jobs, and make reasonable adjustments as necessary.
Respect Work Hours
A big pitfall of remote work is the blurring of work life and home life. It is easy to send a teammate an after-hours text or chat to ask about a project. All too easy to schedule a late-night video conference. After all, due to the pandemic, aren't many of us stuck at home? It is not like we are going anywhere. As a result, there is a big temptation to sidestep those established work hours.
But consider that although you might be burning the midnight oil, your co-workers might not be. They might be trying to strike a work-life balance and focus on their family, or friends, or hobbies, or other interests. Or they might be trying to decompress from the work day. And all this is absolutely OK.
So before you send that late-night text asking about the status of a bug fix, take a moment. Is this really an emergency? If not, it can probably wait until normal work hours.
Consistent Video Conference Meetings
In uncertain times like these, people crave structure and normalcy. Having a standard regular meeting might be just the ticket to maintain a measure of stability and keep your remote workforce productive. Make it mandatory, and encourage people to turn on their cameras. Try to foster a personable environment as much as possible. Set some guidelines around these meetings and stick to them.
If you have a 30-min daily meeting, keep it to 30-min. Set an agenda that keeps things moving, is organized, yet flexible. The most important phrase to remember is "Let's take that offline". Use this phrase any time the discussion starts to get into too much detail, or if it gets too far off-topic. Taking something offline is respectful of everyone's time, and will let you more effectively tackle those topics at another time.
Set and Communicate Clear Goals
A strong team will have a strong leader who can communicate the team's goals frequently and effectively. Imagine you are in a car with a steering wheel for *each* passenger. How effectively would you get to your destination? Would you be able to move forward at all? Would you end up crashing?
As your team's leader, you can steer everyone in the same direction. The team knows the destination and understands how they will get there. You can foster open communication between you and your team, and among teammates. Make your goal simple to understand, make it realistic and achievable. Make your team see your vision and want to be a part of it.
Make sure your business is aligned with these 4 suggestions and you will see a tangible improvement in your remote teams.