Remote Team Best Practices
Remote work is slowly gaining popularity and many studies are starting to indicate employees are more productive in remote teams. Other than workplaces deemed “essential” by state governments, offices have been forced to embrace a remote teamwork environment given the COVID-19 pandemic. During this time, we have seen people struggle to maintain their ability to stay connected to others remotely. That is why we built an online series of courses to help address this problem. Here are some remote team best practices so your team is thriving while at home.
Remote work pain points
Typically, the main challenges remote work brings to employees are:
Face-to-face interactions bring with it an organic and seamless way of communicating between team members. This is naturally lost with remote work where managers or team leads are never sure whether employees are working, or what their status is on certain items. Pair this with no effective communication platform and things can be quite radio silent. In addition to this, a lack of communication within the company and teams can erode any culture and camaraderie that exists between employees, negatively impacting productivity in the long-run.
Remote work will also involve team members operating on different schedules and slowly blurring their distinction between work and leisure. This means some employees may choose to work longer but more relaxed hours and send off messages at various times of the day. This can disrupt the cohesive work life delineation that is provided when in the office.
Socializing and Personal Connection
A lack of communication comes with less socialization and culture-building activities. Gone are the ways of grabbing a beer with colleagues at the end of the day before heading home or going on an impromptu coffee break. All of this can negatively affect culture within the team and the necessary bonding between colleagues required for productive and creative work. In addition to that, you can form a strong bond by taking on eLearning courses together.
Be organized with documentation
Documentation becomes ever more important when remote working as no one can be fully in sync with what’s happening, who’s working on what, and why. This means tools such as Google Drive, Trello, and Asana are required to help organize information virtually for the company so that those required have easy access.
Use intuitive remote communication software
Intuitive remote communication software is critical to enabling a remote team to thrive and stay productive. Here are some tools to consider:
- Use video conferencing tools such as Zoom or Google Hangouts to manage live team meetings.
- Pair this with a powerful open communication platform such as Slack where employees can create their own public channels, group threads, and actively communicate across multiple devices such as Web, Tablet, and Mobile.
- Help your employees with better task management and team transparency through project management tools such as Monday.
- Establish an online documentation repository by leveraging free tools such as Google Drive and it’s associated Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides. Another popular alternative is Notion.
Encourage employees to turn work notifications off when the day ends
When fully connected throughout the day at home the line between when work starts and ends can quickly blur. This can mean as your remote employees adapt to different schedules and routines, many of them may be getting a lot more notifications past business hours. It can be tempting for them to reply but over the long run this will just encourage a culture where everyone is connected and working all day – not good for long-term employee well-being.
A good way to establish boundaries and not tempt them into replying to a notification at any other, for fear they’re not a ‘team player’ is to encourage your team to switch off notifications when their day ends. You can also educate them on methods of selective muting. If there are certain notifications they need (e.g. your VP) then messaging apps such as iMessage or Slack do enable custom do not disturb toggles to turn off for certain contacts.
Reply quickly during the day
Active communication is necessary when remote working as the face to face presence of knowing everyone is working on different tasks goes away in remote settings. A good practice in communication is to reply quickly during business hours, even if employees are engaged in other tasks. If employees are going to take a break, head out for lunch, or even into a meeting. Encourage them to utilize status messages and ping their active teammates to let them know what they’re up to.
Make time for socializing virtually
A big part of why we love working as a team is the culture and camaraderie that forms when in the office. Your colleagues are also your friends and this means while working remotely a more active effort needs to be made to enjoy the same socialization a team would get in-office. Encourage your teams to host social sessions virtually where everyone is on video conferencing tools such as Zoom or Google Hangouts. Some ways to spark a social occasion is to celebrate the end of the week by having a virtual beer and wine after-work chat, or celebrating successes and special occasions such as a team members birthday.
Keep everyone in the loop
Utilize tools to ensure that all business agendas and updates are transparent and easily accessible for anyone to be in the loop. There are tools such as Notion that can be used to capture any notes, and embed recorded meetings or screenshares for employees to access later. A more open communication platform such as Slack or Microsoft Teams will allow dedicated channels for employees to join if they’d like to see group conversations happening and stay in the loop. It’s also a good practice for any larger company meetings to be followed up with a recap email send out to all team members.
Related: 10 Best eLearning Tools Online
Make opportunities for professional development
It can be easy to keep tabs on professional development and team one-on-ones when in the office by heading out for coffee or lunch. When engaging in a remote working practice, try to schedule in such sessions even though they are virtual. Similarly, since managers and employees won’t be actively working together, it’s important to establish more documentation and project management so that when it comes to providing feedback supervisors can reflect on tangible work outputs.
Another great way to keep employees engaged while working from home is with a dynamic eLearning program customized to your company’s needs. VP Legacies saves you valuable time and effort by providing eLearning content with 50% higher employee engagement than the industry average. This cost-efficient opportunity not only expresses to team members that you care about their professional development but also maintains a sense of momentum and accomplishment that will bolster morale even as work continues from home.
Key takeaways to keep your office thriving
The most important aspect of ensuring a thriving remote office is mirroring much of the personal connection and socialization that already exists within the workplace. This dynamic develops organically given the face-to-face nature of working on-site, but maintaining it remotely requires a more proactive and dedicated effort. A culture of clear communication, transparency, relationship-building, and professional development is crucial to keeping your remote office flourishing.
Strong professional connection and adept communication is ultimately what stands out in the most successful remote work teams and companies today. Give your company the opportunity to grow and advance beyond expectations. Whether it’s a customized eLearning course developed to inspire your team or other life-changing course to expand the meaning of personal connection, VP Legacies is here to help.