5 Can’t-Miss Tips for Building Productive Remote Teams

May 8th, 8:03 pm

5 Can’t-Miss Tips for Building Productive Remote Teams

In recent years, many small and medium business owners have embraced remote work and employed virtual teams to run their businesses efficiently. There are numerous benefits of working remotely. It helps to create a flexible schedule that suits everybody, improves work-life balance, makes teams more effective, reduces carbon footprint, and ensures that the employees are better off. It also saves money, increases cross-team collaboration, boosts productivity, supports innovation, encourages versatility, and much more.

However, most organizations are still new to remote working and find it quite challenging to adapt to the changes. For them, building productive remote teams is not an easy task because managing a team virtually is quite different from working face-to-face. Remote team building requires tremendous efforts and a different set of leadership skills to succeed. That is why, to ensure a smooth transition from physical staff to virtual teams for these companies, we have come up with some tips and tricks that can help them in building a productive remote team.

TL;DR

  1. Ensure Proper Onboarding Of Remote Workers
  2. Establish a Balanced Policy of Working-hours
  3. Encourage Interactions Not Related to Work
  4. Promote Clear Communication within the Team
  5. Implement Technology To Connect With Virtual Employees

5 Can’t-Miss Tips for Building Productive Remote Teams

Building a productive remote team has become quintessential to run a business efficiently these days. Here are a few tips and tricks that can help you in the process:

1. Ensure Proper Onboarding Of Remote Workers

Every established company follows a well-rehearsed routine while welcoming new employees onboard. This process includes not only office tours and team introductions but also a formal job induction. Some companies also encourage after-work get-togethers. These activities help in creating an informal relationship between the newcomer and his team members.

Though recreating all these

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activities is possible with a remote team, it takes much more effort and initiative, and such efforts hardly ever go unrewarded. It has been seen that 69% of employees have a greater chance of staying in the company for at least three years if they have a great onboarding experience.

Virtual team meetings also allow the team members to get to know the new employees better. Arranging regular check-ins with the managers help newcomers understand their roles perfectly.

Moreover, instead of Friday night happy hours, engaging newcomers with online events can help them interact with their co-workers about non-work topics. Finally, encouraging new employees to provide sincere feedback about the onboarding process can help to improve or refine the onboarding process over time. Remote Team

2. Establish a Balanced Policy of Working-hours

The greatest benefit of remote work is having a flexible work schedule. Remote-first companies allow most of their employees to work from home and encourage them to offer flexible work hours. Alternatively, new remote companies are still trying to maintain standard business hours, because of lack of trust as well as operational problems within the team.

At present, more companies are moving towards implementing a balanced policy of flexible work hours. Only a balanced approach can prevent any abuse of trust and keep the remote employees happy. Fixing a daily work-hour window when all team members are available can reduce operational inefficiency and allow the employees to connect. However, this policy might not be suitable for teams working in different time zones.

  • Using asynchronous communication channels, for example, email can reduce the expectation of getting immediate responses.
  • Self-declared work hours for the day allow the managers to be aware of the exact availability of their team members. It also prevents any encroachment on their personal time.
  • Having a clear approval policy can help remote team members in making their own decisions.

To build productive remote teams, both clear company guidelines and a high level of trust and freedom are essential. It is not only the duty of the companies but also the remote team members to make this work, and hiring the right people in the first place can ensure that mutual trust is not abused.

3. Encourage Interactions Not Related to Work

When it comes to virtual team management, it is natural for remote workers to feel lonely from the lack of human interactions. That is because, despite everything, water-cooler chats and after-work drinks are essential for team building. Remote workers are deprived of these bonding mechanisms, and it is the responsibility of the companies to facilitate non-work interactions for virtual employees.

Building a productive remote team without non-work interactions is not possible. Every group of virtual workers should be given a range of different outlets for sharing their interests and passions. More such opportunities allow teams to bond further over mutual interests. Some great ideas for remote team building activities include non-work-related group activities that can inspire team members to learn together.

Various online gaming contests can also help in bringing team members having common interests together. The most important thing is to respect the diversity of the team. Arranging activities that everybody enjoys is the best thing to do, and seeking suggestions is essential to make everybody feel included.

4. Promote Clear Communication within the Team

Buffer’s studies show that for remote teams, collaboration and communication along with loneliness are the top challenges to overcome.

Remote team members cannot talk directly to their co-workers every time they need help. That is because they might be in different time zones or unavailable at the time. Leaving a virtual team member unanswered can prove to be damaging for the entire team as it can lead to work stagnation.

The team members can also end up making bad decisions because of incomplete information. Hence, it is crucial to ensure that communication is never disrupted among remote team members. They must always have access to all the information available or know whom to contact when necessary.

Remote Team

5. Implement Technology To Connect With Virtual Employees

In today’s world, technology is the only thing that can improve remote team communication, help managers to hire the right people, allow leaders to manage their workforce, and enable teams to remain connected. Most smart leaders are now leaning on various software to save time, build better teams, and manage them efficiently.

Having the right technology that can support the company and its remote teams is an excellent first step. It can not only stop time-wastage, delays, and loss of engagement during team meetings but can also assure that the virtual members do not miss out on better ways to share information, receive communications, brainstorm, collaborate, track and manage projects, and more.

Fortunately, many tools and software are available in the market that can facilitate building productive remote teams.

What software can help in remote team building?

The work from home culture has given rise to various remote team management tools that can facilitate virtual team collaborations across locations. Here are some tools that can help in building productive remote teams and communicating across the virtual team:

  • Asana is a platform for collaborative work, and it helps in monitoring the status of tasks assigned to team members.
  • Slack is one of the most popular communication management applications best suited for remote work.
  • Zoom is a video conferencing tool that is great for conference calls.
  • Slite serves as a great team collaboration and knowledge platform.
  • Toggl is an efficient time tracking app that allows management teams to perform time management and task prioritization for remote teams.
  • Google Drive is perfect for collaborating that allows placing documents online and offers greater mobility.

Learn more about Workplace Software Tools.

FAQ: Remote Team Building

What is meant by remote team building?

Remote team building is the ongoing process of bringing together virtual employees who work as a cohesive team to meet the customer’s needs. This process facilitates deeper bonds between the team members by creating a collaborative environment that is much similar to an in-office setting.

It also boosts the team morale, increases productivity, drives employee engagement, improves efficiency and performance, and enhances the overall results.

In an office environment, where all employees work in close quarters for long hours, it becomes easy to get strongly connected. They get to know each other personally, owing to their numerous chats in the cafeteria or the various social meetings they attend together.

Having such close relationships ensure that every team member knows whom to turn to for help. It allows them to collaborate effortlessly and produce better results.

With virtual employees, building a productive team, forming relationships, and maintaining it requires constant work. The physical distance separating the workers makes them feel distanced, unsupported, and disconnected from their colleagues.

Remote Team

It can result in reduced employee wellbeing and increased staff turnovers. Therefore, remote team building is essential for any remote-first organization because it ensures that every worker remains connected to a common goal.

Why are team-building activities necessary for remote teams?

Remote employees miss all the in-office fun, like water cooler conversations, food sharing during lunch breaks, afternoon birthday party breaks, and similar shared experiences that every in-house employee participates in when they are in the office. These activities help in stimulating bonds between employees.

In the absence of these interactive sessions, the virtual employees feel disconnected from their team. Team-building activities can immensely help in reducing the isolation of the virtual staff.

Some interpersonal interactions with other employees can make these remote workers perceive themselves as a part of the pack.

Frequent active engagement with colleagues can help virtual employees feel appreciated, acknowledged, and accepted as an integral part of the team. However, engagement here does not mean only sharing ideas and working together on different projects.

People need friendship and fun too to keep them concentrated on work. That means fostering a sense of community among virtual teams so that they are always there for others, irrespective of their geographical distances.

Proper remote team-building activities enable organizations to create a united team that is also high-performing. Several studies conducted by Stanford University reveal that people belonging to different physical spaces could persist up to 64% longer when their organizations made them feel like they were working on a challenging task together rather than working individually on the same task.

Conclusion

Owing to their progressive mentality about remote work culture, these companies are making improvements in their productivity and saving costs in the long run.

On the other hand, most remote employees endeavor to give their best performance at work. Hence, encouraging them to be an active part of the organization and creating bonds between them is always appreciated.

By following the five actionable tips elucidated in this article, any company can build an awesome virtual work culture and highly productive remote teams that need very little micro-management.


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