Drive Results With Remote Workers
By Owen Manningham, Last updated: 2021-05-25 (originally published on 2020-05-11)
Remote working is the new normal in the business world today. In the recent past, most employers are choosing to have their employees work remotely for obvious reasons. Besides saving on rent for office space, there is the opportunity to hire the best talent regardless of where they are in the globe. However, for a remote team to be optimally productive there is a need for the team players to work together despite being apart physically. How do you ensure that there is better collaboration between your remote team and yourself?
Here are some rules you can follow to achieve this:
1. State goals and expectations clearly
In an office setup, it’s easier to hold employees accountable since you can just pop in their office to check the process of a project and you monitor the time they use working. To make sure a remote worker is putting in the required effort towards a certain project, it is important to set clear goals and expectations. Have a goal structure in place and let them know what they are expected to achieve daily, weekly or monthly. In a remote working setup, time management is a challenge for many and meeting set expectations can be hard. However, you can help your remote workers manage their time better by investing in time management training. They will learn effective time-management strategies that will go a long way towards driving and improving team efficiency.
2. Consider the appropriate time to connect
If your remote workers are scattered all over the world, it’s possible that they are in a different time zone from you. It is important to know where each is located so that you are aware when you can reach them. It can be frustrating for them if you are asking for something urgent time isn’t on their side. Get to know their preferred working hours and respect them. If you assign tasks and communicate when the time is appropriate, leaving everyone happy and motivated.
3. Give feedback regularly
In order to promote a positive workplace culture, remote workers need to feel they are part of the team. They want the assurance that their work is being appreciated and help availed where they fail. While its natural to applaud an employee who walks in your office with a file of his completed project, it’s easy to overlook a remote worker’s contribution. Make it a habit to appreciate their work and regularly give feedback. When remote workers feel like part of the team, working together will be both easier and more productive.
4.Hold weekly video conferences
Messages, emails and voice calls are a preferred mode of communication between managers and remote teams. However, you miss the important body language and facial expressions that come with a video call or face-to-face meetings. If you are not able to gather your team for a physical meeting regularly, invest in the right tools for video conferencing. Ensure that you and your team have a video conferencing session weekly. Here, you will have an opportunity to clear up misunderstandings and handle conflicts as well as you would in person. It is also the best way to kick off new projects as well as foster good interpersonal relationships for improved teamwork.
5.Have a team-building retreat
Having video conferences regularly is good for your team, but it won’t beat meeting physically together as a team. Providing an opportunity for your team to meet face-to-face once a year is important for employee morale and relationship building. Annual company retreats are a great way for the team to let loose and relax after a year of hard work. Involve your workers in planning, choosing a location, and team building activities to engage in. Spending a weekend together will help in budding meaningful relationships for better collaboration.
Not seeing your remote teams on a daily basis can lull you into the belief that they are fine working in isolation. Remember that they are human and try to make them feel like part of the team every chance you get. When your employees are happy, they will be motivated to drive results.
Owen Manningham is a management consultant with over 6 years of experience in the field. He advises on training and coaching in the strategic and operational aspects of management, change, and client relationship management.
This article does not constitute legal advice.
The opinions expressed in the column above represent the author’s own.