Collaboration In Remote Teams Can Be Tricky
More people are consistently working remotely now than before the pandemic, and while many businesses have been able to make it work, some continue to struggle. Workers that were moved out of the brick and mortar office to their homes at the beginning of the pandemic aren’t all looking forward to going back. If your business is considering a sustained remote or hybrid workplace strategy, having a team that can successfully collaborate from where they work is essential. This month we thought we would take a look at three problems businesses with remote workers could experience and the solutions for those challenges.
Problem #1 - Lags in Effective Communication
One major problem we’ve seen over the past year as more people are working remotely is that communications tend to break down and have a negative impact on the productivity of the people involved. Either people are really engaged or they’re not. The reliance on the remote workforce has only exacerbated this problem. When everyone is spread out geographically, communication takes more effort.
This can get expensive for a business.
On top of this, there is often an expectation by employees that there will be technology improvements implemented to help solve the problem. These investments may not be possible, or worse yet, happen and then not be properly utilized.
Solution #1 - Recurring Meetings
The best way to ensure that your remote and hybrid teams are on the same page is to have a consistent meeting set up. The best way we’ve found is to have a quick meeting at the beginning of every day that establishes the goals for the workday, questions and concerns about the work, and a short discussion about the workload. Then schedule a weekly meeting just for the department that people work on to stay up to date with initiatives. That doesn’t sound like a lot but it will be useful in getting your teams to function as a cohesive unit.
Problem #2 - Lack of Clear Boundaries
In the office, most workers can focus on their work, but when the office is also your home, it can come with a lot of distractions and other responsibilities that don’t have a lot of time for work. Without set boundaries, you can get communications (emails, texts, etc.) all around the clock and will take more time to sort everything out.
Solution #2 - Set Clear Benchmarks
If your team is suffering from a lack of focus from relaxed boundaries the best way to correct this is to more effectively manage your remote team. This means setting clear goals, and assigning tasks effectively. Outside of scheduling better, you should set some monthly goals for individuals and teams alike. One strategy to do so is to gamify productivity. As people meet their goals, they get incentives. If you make work a friendly competition, you will likely get more out of your staff than you would otherwise.
Problem #3 - Losing Company Culture
When you do business in an office, you can do a lot to define company culture. When your workers are working remotely, however, it becomes much more difficult to build a cohesive company culture because many remote workers feel like they are on an island. Since collaboration is all about working together to meet goals, a lack of defined culture can make retention more difficult and work to alienate employees.
Solution #3 - Track Your Team’s Progress
By finding a way to effectively keep track of your team’s progress, and your employees' individual progress, you build a more cohesive culture, even as people work remotely. One problem is that many times, trying to maintain a united front can lead to micromanagement in remote teams, and as you probably know, nobody enjoys being handled like that. Software systems can make a big difference in this regard as you can get a thorough view of what people are working on, how they are doing, and what the results are. This can help you mold your operational team into a single unit rather than several individuals. This will lead to a better product/service and keep workers engaged on the initiatives management has targeted.
Productivity isn’t always easy with remote teams, but Ferrum Technology Services can help your business get the tools they need to be successful, even as people continue to work from home. Give us a call at 847-697-3282 today to learn more.