With the COVID-19 pandemic, one finds that most companies have accelerated the adoption of a hybrid work model allowing staff to mix working in-office and remotely. This allows much more freedom to staff but affects company culture and employee’s productivity.
Below we will discuss some of the biggest challenges to productivity that remote teams encounter and strategies you can use to overcome these obstacles.
Remote Teamwork Is More Important Than Ever in the COVID-19 Pandemic
With the inability to maintain office relationships one has to make an effort to keep team relationships going via virtual hangouts. Chat apps and video conferencing apps are great tools to keep remote teamwork strong and helps eliminate isolation that any team members might be feeling while working remotely.
Maximize Productivity with These 8 Remote Team-Building Strategies
To ensure high productivity and growth while remotely working there are a few challenges that you need to overcome, here are a few of them and how to deal with them to promote a better working environment.
- Prioritize face-to-face interactions
All employees are going to miss face-to-face interaction when working remotely, whether it was the ability to quickly walk past a colleagues desk to ask them a question or to be able to have a quick chat over a coffee break the sudden separation from your team can hit hard. Our advice is to try and make use of videoconferencing as much as possible as this is the closest option to direct contact available.
- Establish remote workplace norms
The structure is good, it helps your team operate to the same standard and improves focus. Ensure you have a clear set of workplace norms for all staff to follow while working remotely. Setting weekly video meetings is an efficient example of this.
- Provide avenues for informal communication
As mentioned earlier the sudden removal of easy, casual communication for team members can affect them profoundly. Explore setting up chat options for staff to use for non-work-related subjects, services like WhatsApp and Slack are perfect for this, also think about running the occasional virtual team building activity to spice things up!
- Employ collaborative tools
A well-functioning workplace always makes use of team collaboration. When your staff are working remotely this can be more difficult to achieve but the good news is many of us are already making use of collaborative enhancing tools such as Google’s G Suite.
- Establish goals that incorporate the whole team
Working well as a team will always deliver a higher quality product, make use of project management programs such as Asana, Jira or Monday.com. These will help you and your team track goal and stay on schedule.
- Set deadlines for team goals
After making use of management programs to keep your team focused on goals be sure to set deadlines to these. A deadline makes a goalless abstract and keeps staff motivated while adding a sense of extra satisfaction should a goal be met ahead of schedule.
- Develop a process of accountability
Ensuring your team accepts accountability for their work is vital. Managers should make sure they are regularly following up with their teams. Develop a system that suits you best such as midweek check-in or end-of-the-week video calls, either way, implement what works best and ensure everyone sticks to it.
- Don’t leave any team members out
Teamwork only works when it applies to the whole team. As a manager ensure you are in contact with every team member, this will ensure that no balls get dropped and also give your team the feeling of being supported by you.
4 Reasons Remote Teams Struggle with Productivity
As stated earlier it is common for people to struggle with productivity when working remotely. Human’s are social creatures by default a sudden change in working circumstances, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are 4 reasons your team might be struggling to keep in mind as a manager:
- Lack of communication
Good teamwork needs good communication, this is easy when everyone is working in the same office. Once your team is split up and working remotely it is easy for this communication to break down.
Once your staff are working remotely scheduling can become an issue. When everyone is working in the same office they usually keep the same office hours but once they are working remotely this might change to suit each team members circumstances making scheduling conflicts a more common problem.
- Technological issues
Even when working from an office technological issues are a common occurrence that can affect productivity. Some team members may find themselves cut off from their work and the team due to anything from load shedding, internet outages or mechanical failures.
- Facetime and culture-building
A loss of face-to-face communication is big. Losing this limited staffs ability to connect or even communicate with clarity, and can reduce productivity.
All people depend on face-to-face interactions, it’s how we are brought up and a key part of modern society. Remote working may remove some key elements of this but modern technology has given us the tools to deal with this unlike ever before in human history. Making use of these systems will be the make or break of using remote working for your team.