Since the coronavirus outbreak, more people are working from home. This can be a solution but also a challenge. So here are some hacks for increasing productivity within remote teams.
This past year we have had to deal with the coronavirus outbreak. Since then, many teams began to work remotely for the first time; some even switched to this method entirely after a while.
Maintaining communication and productivity as if the whole team was working together in the office may seem complicated, but it’s not that difficult.
Today, we would like to share some of the best practices for working remotely so that you can implement them with your teams.
Here are six tips for managing a remote team that will help you stay productive:
Use an instant internal communication tool
Communication is one of the biggest problems in remote teams. Therefore, it is vital for all remote teams to use an internal communication system to bring all employees together virtually. One way to do it is with an internal chat. This will help maintain instant communication and keep each team member up to date on the latest news.
Make sure to separate conversations to maintain clarity and involve only the right people on your team (if someone is not necessary for a chat, it’s best not to saturate them with information that is not relevant for them).
Keep professional communication separate from personal communication
You probably have a personal email and a work email. The same goes with chats. You will want to keep information separate for safety reasons and also to avoid mixing things up. Even if people are working at home, they will want to take a break from their work duties at some point in the day.
Besides, having an internal communication tool for work avoids other distractions or interruptions.
Instant communication is great, but it can generate many messages and no action if not managed effectively. To avoid this, you need to create and assign tasks for your team so that their goals and responsibilities are clear.
Working with defined goals is much easier. It’s even easier to plan goals when you can see your entire week’s workload in advance. Then, people will be able to plan their time to deliver when expected.
You can then create a performance review report and make changes and adjustments to the team and workload if needed.
Invest in more software if necessary
Besides using task manager software, you may need to invest in more software to work remotely without any issues. For example, one way to assign tasks is with project management software. There are even free options like Trello, but you can also opt for Asana, Monday, or ClickUp.
These tools will help you organise everything that needs to get done, who needs to do it, and the delivery date.
Also, you can try communication software and chat tools that will make communication more accessible, such as Slack or Microsoft Teams. In no manner will they substitute the intimacy of a workplace, but they can help communicate better and progress their work.
Check with your team members if they have everything they need (software-wise) on their computers at home so that they can deliver the work in no time.
Engage with your team
Having a face-to-face conversation (virtually, of course) improves your team’s productivity. You should also know that teams that talk face-to-face are considerably more productive than those that don’t. In a global survey done by CIO, 67% of managers said their company would be more productive if superiors prioritised discussions in person.
One of these tools, Zoom, has become incredibly popular this past year due to teams working remotely.
Take advantage of these moments and encourage autonomy in your teams. Remind them that they can make their own decisions, set their own goals, and know how to be more productive, which is extremely important when working remotely.
Not only has the pandemic had an impact on many people’s mental health, but also, for most, their lives have changed drastically.
Homeschooling, some people have lost their jobs, if people have had covid-19 they must take a break to recover or help a family member that is sick.
Therefore, right now is time to be empathetic, especially at the workplace. Be patient with your employees and colleagues who are not handling the situation as well as you are.
Also, encourage team members to be patient with themselves. Let them know that they can reach out if they need something, or the situation is overwhelming them.
Check productivity periodically
Periodically review your productivity indicators. Watch how they evolve based on the different changes you make to determine the best way to work together. Adaptation is a very important part of remote teams.
It is important to know if something is wrong or if a team member is not feeling entirely comfortable sooner rather than later. This is why it is a positive thing to connect periodically to check productivity.
Adjust to new schedules
Try to be flexible with your team, especially with schedules. Working at home is different from the workplace because most jobs start at 9 am and end at 5 pm, and it may not be possible for it to be the same.
Depending on where the employee is, they may have their children at home because of lockdowns, and they probably have to homeschool their children and keep them entertained.
For this reason, you cannot expect people who are parents to work according to their regular schedules. Instead, allow them to create a new schedule that suits them and give them time to adjust to it.
Practice designing presentations
You will likely begin to have an increased number of meetings since you are now working remotely. This means that you will have an increased number of presentations.
Presentations are great for bringing your team up to speed without having to rely on oral communication only. However, you can be misheard, especially over technology and when we are not face-to-face.
If you want to share ideas, statistics, images, videos, and more, a presentation will help you deliver your message more efficiently.
You should create a mind map of the points you want to cover in your presentation, then start by making slides with each topic, one by one. Starting from readymade PPT presentations can help you save many valuable hours. They must be easy-to-follow, with minimal text and with the main data in bold.
Use bullet points to enhance readability and add elements that contrast visually so that they are easy to see.
Try new things
Finally, do not be afraid to try new things, both individually and as a company. Challenging times can make us more creative, and we can find new ways to improve revenue generation.
Today, audiences are almost entirely online. Therefore, if your sales models are not focused on online activities, it is time to think about making a change.
It is possible that the revenue methods you are accustomed to in the offline world will not work as well as they have so far. This can cause a decrease in revenue and also productivity across all levels.
Some things to consider in the online world to bring awareness to your brand are creating a podcast, a YouTube channel, or even a TikTok account. There are even tools to manage multiple social media platforms like Recurpost.
In addition, you can find entertaining ways to build brand awareness, allow people to learn about you and your products or services, and explore new channels you had not considered before.
Who knows, you could begin to make a profit you did not think was possible in these formats and channels. Have a brainstorming session with your team so that you are all on the same page and no one feels that their jobs might be under threat because of a revenue drop.
Whether you need to start a remote team for contingency reasons or decide to work remotely, be sure to implement these tips to maximise your remote team’s productivity.
Do not be afraid to try out new things, and remember to be patient with the situation. We are all living difficult times which require empathy and understanding. Nonetheless, with the right focus, everything is possible.
About the Author
Ermelinda Maglione is a journalist and specialist in digital journalism. She has more than 15 years of digital writing and copywriting experience, especially in marketing, social media, and SEO. Currently, she is a Content Marketer for Venngage.