Remote employees are becoming more common, according to recent studies. In fact, a report from IWG found that 70% of employees work remotely at least once a week and 53% do so for at least half the week. But while remote work offers flexibility, it also comes with unique challenges — such as preserving company culture and ensuring that teams can communicate effectively when they’re not in the same office.
So what’s the right way to embrace a remote work policy while keeping your team productive? Having a remote management strategy in place can help team members work efficiently while giving them the flexibility they need.
Ensure that teams are virtually connected
Few things can dampen your team’s productivity like poor communication so making sure that employees are able to stay connected can make a big difference to overall productivity. The best way to do this is to incorporate messaging and video conferencing platforms like Slack and Google Hangouts into your workflow. This is a great way for team members to connect in a virtual environment while having real-time access to information and feedback.
Pro Tip: Finding the right mix of virtual tools may require some trial and error. While certain teams may prefer to stick to messaging platforms, others may find phone calls or video conferencing more helpful. To figure out what works for your team, it’s important to take a step back and understand how your team members prefer to interact with one another. A survey can be an effective way to assess this and to get employees involved in the decision-making process.
Facilitate company-wide conversations
One of the challenges of managing a remote team is making sure that remote employees can have their voices heard within the company. A helpful way to do this is to hold regular meetings and encourage team members to present their work. This is a good way for team members to get to know one another while also learning more about the various projects within the company.
Pro Tip: Providing a comfortable way for employees to share their work is crucial when it comes to creating visibility. This means offering options for individual and group presentations and checking in with team members about what works for them. While visibility is important, allowing colleagues to share their work in a way that’s most meaningful to them can go a long way toward helping them feel like they’re adding value.
Emphasize the importance of culture
You might have heard the phrase “culture eats strategy for breakfast,” but have you ever wondered how to apply it to your organization? When it comes to working with remote teams, strong company culture can have a big impact on team collaboration and employee satisfaction. Establishing a shared set of values and encouraging feedback are great ways to build this type of culture and to ensure that it reflects the values of your team members.
Pro Tip: Just as it can be challenging to preserve company culture as you scale, it can also be challenging to preserve company culture as your remote workforce grows. Hiring with culture fit in mind and seeking out feedback are two ways to overcome this and to adapt to your team’s changing needs.
Managing remote teams successfully is about finding ways to collaborate and to ensure that everyone’s voice is being heard. While that can be a bit more challenging than in a traditional office setting, it can also come with real benefits. According to a PGi report, 82% of remote employees report feeling less stressed and 70% report increased productivity. By implementing a remote work structure at your company, you can help employees do their best work and have a better work-life balance.
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