In 2021, around a quarter of Americans were working remotely, largely due to the ongoing global pandemic. Despite vaccinations, remote work remains consistent and is likely a trend that’s here to stay.
It’s no surprise that most employees enjoy working from home. Even the research indicates higher levels of job satisfaction from remote workers vs. their in-office counterparts. Working remotely means spending less on gas, no more rush hour traffic, and having all the creature comforts of your own home available.
Since remote work is not going anywhere, it’s essential to learn about working with remote teams. Keep reading below to learn more.
Guidelines, Boundaries, and Expectations
On day one, it is vital to team productivity to make guidelines clear, set boundaries, and share your expectations. These expectations may address topics like company culture, working hours, and preferred modes of communication and frequency.
Once this information is shared, there is a level of trust a manager has to give their subordinates. Micromanaging employees’ adherence to guidelines too closely or too frequently can breed distrust and create a toxic work environment.
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Be Empathetic and Flexible
A little empathy can go a long way. Modeling this soft skill will strengthen work relationships, providing intrinsic motivation for employees to work hard and do their best.
Some managers feel uncomfortable with the amount of freedom that remote work offers their subordinates. In response to this discomfort, some managers will overcorrect with strictness, control, and rigidity. This is a mistake.
Provide a forum for open dialogue. Tell your team that you’re available to listen anytime. Open meetings with heartfelt greetings like, “Good morning!”
A crucial key to remote work success is to provide structure for the team. Not everyone has a natural skill to create their own structure from thin air.
At the start of each day, make sure each employee knows the tasks they need to accomplish. Make sure they know what communication channels to use when asking questions or sharing information. You may even want to schedule daily or weekly check-ins to monitor progress toward a goal.
To learn more about different communication tools, you can find more information here.
Provide Collaboration Tools
Thanks to technology, team members don’t have to be in the same physical vicinity to collaborate. There are plenty of digital collaboration tools available out there.
Some examples of these are:
- Google Drive
- Microsoft Teams
Consider the features of each one to determine which one works best for your team.
Preparing for Working With Remote Teams
Working with remote teams presents its own unique challenges, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. If you spend enough time setting up the guidelines and expectations, things should fall into place.
Of course, remember to remain flexible and understanding should any issues arise as the team settles into their new routine.
If you found this guide useful, make sure to check out the other articles on our page.
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