For all of the benefits that stem from managing a remote team – including time-savings and lower costs – there are a number of challenges. One of challenges in virtual business maximizing productivity without direct oversight. How you address this issue will directly impact your team.
Try These 3 Remote Productivity Tips
People are people. Whether in a traditional office workspace or holed away in a spare bedroom, they’re still the same people. The tricky part is teaching team members how to thrive in the midst of a new physical environment, a different digital environment, and a host of other unique circumstances.
You can use these useful tips in order to get more out of your remote team each week.
1. Ensure Your Team Has the Right Tools
The right tools make remote teams work efficiently, and there are more resources, apps, software solutions, and online platforms than ever before. However, deciphering which ones are right for your team can feel daunting.
Some companies will need to build out an entire tech stack with a basket of different tools and apps, but most teams can get away with a single, centralized collaboration platform.
One of the best ways to accomplish this is by investing in intranet software, such as Happeo. The benefit of using an intranet solution like this is that you’re able to store and share files, interact with team members, and simultaneously keep tabs on various projects…all from a single cloud application that’s fast and streamlined.
2. Establish Clear Rules and Best Practices
Most of us have not been taught how to properly interact with others virtually. We were mostly taught how to engage in a face-to-face manner. But now, with changing circumstances, digital interactions are much more common.
Addressing clear rules and best practices for how to communicate effectively and appropriately will yield dividends. Consider the following:
- Get clear on communication modes. Each virtual communication style serves a unique purpose. Coach your team on when to use what. For example, for longer requests that you want to be documented, use email. However, keep in mind that you likely won’t get a response in five minutes or less. Choose a phone call for a quick touchpoint when you need to discuss something that would take too long to type out and/or could be misconstrued. But remember that phone calls also interrupt the other person and force them to stop what they’re doing. Go through each mode – including SMS, video chat, chat apps, etc. – and set expectations.
- Create rules for responding. For example, you might make it a requirement to respond to every direct message from a coworker within 90 minutes (during office hours). This prevents “ghosting” and establishes a general environment of respect.
- Teach video meeting skills. When in a Zoom meeting, people’s cameras should be pointed at their face and mics muted and unmuted at the correct times. Conduct a quick training session to teach your team members how to use Zoom (or your preferred platform), so that future meetings run smoothly.
Simple teaching moments like these can prevent frustrating problems that hold your team back from being productive. Be proactive!
3. Create Office Hours + Flex Hours
A common issue with remote teams is a lack of continuity, often exacerbated by a lack of structure.
Flexible work schedules that allow team members to work a reasonable schedule that fits their needs and lifestyle is a great benefit to offer. However, there needs to be some structure.
For best results, create standard office hours and supplement them with flex hours. For example, standard office hours might be 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. During this five-hour stretch, everyone is expected to be at their desk and on-call. For the other three hours, team members can choose when they want to work.
One employee might be an early bird and prefer to work from 7 a.m. straight through 3 p.m. and be done. Another employee might work from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., spend a few hours with her family, then work from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
By adopting this scheduling format, you ensure that all employees are in the office at the same time (for at least part of the day), while also giving them some freedom and flexibility to choose their schedule. This will help maximize your teams’ productivity.
Some people are much more productive when they work five or six hours straight, and others need a break every hour. A system with flex hours is just what they need as it allows a fifteen-minute break to play a quick game of Solitaired, or unwind in any other way that makes them feel fresh and ready to go.
Adding It All Up
Every team has its own unique dynamic, but these principles of productivity are proven to be effective across the board. Leverage them wisely to elevate the output of your virtual team and bolster your bottom line.