The ‘remote revolution’ is silently growing and transforming the workplace. Whether it be to fight a global crisis such as the current COVID-19 pandemic or to save on overhead costs, remote work is fast becoming the preferred choice for many businesses worldwide. Managing a remote team, however, is very different from managing in-house employees. The bigger a team gets, communication and coordination become more complex. Collaboration in a remote environment is especially challenging as people don’t get the opportunity to interact with each other face-to-face. Here are five ways businesses can nurture a culture of collaboration and productivity among remote teams.
1. Adopt an outcomes-based approach
An outcomes-based approach focuses on timely completion and delivery of assigned tasks, rather than on how assignees are managing their work. In other words, when you adopt this approach, you have no reason to worry about how your employees are planning their day as long as they are doing their job well and on time.
A fringe benefit of this approach is that it is less intrusive for remote workers.
2. Adjust time zones
Whether operating out of the US, Europe or Asia, it is unlikely that a business will have a dedicated team from a single time zone. Remote teams are likely to be spread all over the continent and even beyond, which often makes work schedules a bit complicated. To mitigate this challenge, try setting up your team’s work time with at least an hour of overlap if not more. It will give them an opportunity to discuss tasks that are cross-functional.
3. Provide straight, clear instructions
Employees and team members may not be your friends. They are unlikely to take words out of your mouth. While an instruction may seem clear to you, it could be a vague phrase for a new developer. Without the benefit of body language cues, the more detailed your message, the better it is for remote workers to understand.
4. Socialize virtually
It is understandable that a team working from various parts of the world cannot be physically present to celebrate someone’s birthday. But a virtual cake can serve the purpose. Since remote workers get much less scope to socialize than their in-office peers, they would appreciate e-gifts like digital vouchers or online subscriptions.