Managing a team that works remotely
According to a recent study, even before the pandemic, 43% of Americans were working remotely, at least for some of the time. Remote working was going to completely take over the workplace eventually, but the pandemic just accelerated that process.
There are a lot of benefits to reap from remote working for both, the employer and the employee. The employees have the advantage of flexible timing, reduced use of commute and increased productivity. The employers are able to reduce work-related costs, reduced office space, lesser salary and employee retention amongst many others.
But like everything else, there are problems with remote working, too. One of the prime disadvantages is that it could be problematic to build a team with cohesion and maintain the culture without the presence of an actual office.
To solve that problem, here are a few tips for essential virtual team building that will go a long way.
1. Make work accessible and easy to find
The manager needs to ensure that all the employees get the work on time and that the same work is easily found. It would be a waste of time to go through various different folders and files to search for that one particular thing they are looking for; and this time could be used to produce more work. Not to mention the frustration caused by that, which in extreme cases, can lead to increased anxiety.
You can no more just go to your colleague beside you to ask where something can be found. Remote working prohibits the small but impactful advantages like those. And due to this, the employer needs to make sure that they are providing their team with easily accessible data and directions required for one to find that work.
2. Try to create a virtual ping pong table
As an employer, you have to create more opportunities for making personal connections to build a remote team that can work as a whole, instead of the team being about just the individuals separately. It is paramount that a remote team have personal connections and open communications because otherwise, it would be very difficult for individuals to work with each other in a flexible manner.
At the end of the Zoom meetings, there can be some time set aside for conversations outside of work. There can be regular check-ins done by the managers to make sure the employees are doing well. After the relaxations, the managers can hold a weekend retreat with precautions and measures taken accordingly. Till then, you can do the activities that are mentioned in our website, because they are amazingly helpful in team building.
3. Learn how best to communicate with individual team members
One can not know if their coworker is in the mood for a chat, or wants to be bothered with remote working. Everyone has different preferences for how and when they want to communicate. As a manager, you need to understand and acknowledge that. Some employees will prefer mail over text messages or calls based on the frequency and convenience of those platforms.
If not done, the messages might go unnoticed and inevitably, the work wouldn’t be done on time. You need to get acquainted with their communication preferences in order to increase productivity. In order to do this, you can always keep an active team directory where the employees can proactively add in their suggestions and requests.
Also Read: How Great Leaders Act In The Time Of A Crisis: Responding To The Covid-19 Outbreak
4. Hold weekly meetings
Employees in remote working can be spread all over the country, or even the globe. Establishing harmony and cohesion is paramount but could be an extremely arduous task. A direct solution is holding weekly meetings where everyone is included.
But there can be issues with this, too. If the workers are distributed globally, one would have to deal with the multitude of various time zones. However, this can also be dealt with. One needs to simply adjust the schedule in order to accommodate the meetings happening. The employees can make a schedule which would be fair to all of them. Alternate and arrange meetings as per the convenience of some employees on some weeks and the other employees on the next to share and equalize the burden.
5. Share regular updates
There are ways where you can build your team so that they are more collaborative. With remote working, the communication for the smallest of things have reduced and that is something of a concern.
There needs to be a network ingrained where the latest updates need to be shared with the team to develop and enhance collaboration and cohesion in the team members. The employees would be up-to-date with the work done. Even managers would find this vital because they would be able to assess the team and its individual members, along with being able to decide how the work should be further distributed to optimize productivity.
To have a consistently well-performing and proactive team, the manager needs to ensure that they keep in mind the importance of communication, ease of accessibility and formation of culture. They need to implement these in their teams to ensure greater efficiency in collaborative work and healthier relations between the employees.
If you need help instilling trust and healthy work culture, get a FREE quote on our virtual team building activities and we will help you in choosing the one which will work for your team the best!