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Top 10 Tips for Remote Work Teams

Top 10 Tips for Remote Work Teams

When you work in a location other than the office, there are additional challenges to deal with in order to make sure that work is getting done properly. For instance, meetings will not take place in the office, but remotely, usually through Skype or a similar tool. When you put your mind to it, all of the challenges of working remotely can easily be overcome. Here are 10 tips to help your team work remotely so everything goes smoothly.

1. Have a Team Identity

Your remote team needs to have a sense that they are a team, even more than they would if you were all working in the same office. You need to have a shared purpose, and everyone needs to be committed to the same goals. Make sure that everyone is always aware of what is going on at all times, so they do not feel left out.

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2. Praise Team Members

Often, you will praise the team for a job well done. Don’t forget to praise each individual member of the team for their contributions. This is going to help to increase morale, and your team will be even more productive than ever.

3. Create Group Decision Processes

Look into ways that decisions can be made by the entire team, and not just one or two people. This is going to help them to avoid conflict when a decision has to be made in a hurry, and they will feel like they have the responsibility to make important decisions, which will help to motivate them.

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4. Give Everyone a Management Role

Rather than have one person be in charge of everything, give each member of your team a management role. For instance, one person could be in charge of organizing files, another in charge of maintaining user and contact data, etc.

5. Get to Know Your Tools

You have online collaboration tools at your disposal to make meetings run smoothly, and you need to know how to use them. Learn how to set up and join meetings quickly, set up practice time, and more.

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6. Avoid the Laptop Microphone

When speaking with other team members remotely, try to use your webcam microphone or an external microphone for better sound quality. Your laptop microphone picks up too much noise from everything around you, including the laptop fan.

7. Know When to Discuss Issues

You need to know the best place to discuss certain things. For example, complex issues should be discussed during meetings. Simple things can be handled via email or collaborative boards, so no time is wasted during meetings.

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8. Share a Deck

Everyone needs to be on the same page during conversations, so make sure that you are sharing things through JoinMe or ScreenLeap. You can send the deck, or a link to it, via email prior to the meeting, and then call out each piece of information mentioned.

9. Make Meetings Productive

A lot of people sit around talking in meetings, and little to nothing actually gets accomplished. Make sure that during your meetings that in addition to talking about what needs to be done, you get things done. Every meeting should have an actionable takeaway, and notes should be available at the end of each meeting.

10. Hang Out After Hours

When you work in a traditional office setting, you often end up getting together with your coworkers for non-work related fun. This doesn’t always happen with remote teams. Working remotely can cause you to lose touch with co-workers, so make sure that you schedule time to just hang out. If you don’t all live nearby one another, use Google Hangouts or Skype to get together.

Featured photo credit: Piotr Łohunko via stock.tookapic.com

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Jane Hurst

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Last Updated on November 19, 2019

Work Smarter, Not Harder: 12 Ways to Work Smart

Work Smarter, Not Harder: 12 Ways to Work Smart

I imagine that like me, you say that you never have enough time and that you just cannot cope with 60 dozen things all at once.

How on earth do you get out of that spiral?

Many people never sit down and look at how to work smarter, rather than harder and even longer hours. But not you, you’re smart enough to try to learn effective ways to work.

So how to work smarter not harder? Here are 12 smart ways you should be following:

1. Improve Your Time Management Skills

Easier said than done? Well, no actually, because there are a few simple rules that can really help you to manage time better.

For example, when setting up a top priority task, you need to switch off the phone and ignore your email first. Then you need to abandon any ideas of multitasking as that will slow you down and ruin your focus.

Finally, set a reasonable deadline and do everything in your power to meet it.

“When you’re born, you’re born with 30,000 days. That’s it. The best strategic planning I can give to you is to think about that.” — Sir Ray Avery

2. Speed up Your Typing and Use Shortcuts

These days we’re all keyboard slaves. So why not speed up your typing and try to get rid of the two finger syndrome. In fact, when you save 21 days per year just by typing fast!

This is exactly what I am doing now, so I cannot honestly say I am practicing what I preach!

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But help is at hand. Try some of these apps and games to help you type fast: 8 Most Effective Games and Apps to Learn to Type Fast

Using shortcuts on the keyboard is another time saver and can speed up your work.

For example, press F2 to rename a selected file, while CTRL + I will put selected text in italics.

There are so many of these. If you make the effort to learn them, they really can be helpful.

3. Learn How to Use Productivity Tools

It is well worth downloading all the useful tools and apps that can highly boost your productivity. Take a look at these 18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools and install whatever fits your needs.

Now that is really a great way of working smarter, not harder.

4. Use Your Phone Wisely

Instead of writing emails, sometimes it’s better to pick up the phone and talk to the person responsible. It saves time, especially for important or urgent discussions.

If that colleague works in the same office, it is even better to go and talk to him or her. It gives you a break, you get some exercise and you actually make human contact which is becoming quite rare in this electronic world.

5. Keep a Tab on Your Tabs

If you are like me, you might well find that you have a ton of tabs open at the top of your browser.

In order to find the one you want, you have to search for them as they are off screen. Having all these tabs open slows down your browser too.

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One solution is to use OneTab which can keep a neat list on the screen of all these tabs when you want to quickly get to one of them or you want to remind yourself which ones you have open.

6. Use a “To Don’t” List

We all know about to do lists and I find that they are generally great. They give me a great sense of achievement as I cross off the tasks done.

But often, I find that we are doing non-essential tasks or ones that can easily be postponed. That is why many people recommend the to don’t list.[1]

Some people prefer to savagely prune the to do list while others prefer to have two separate lists, to do and to don’t. You just have to work out what works best for you when you are trying to save precious time to become more productive.

7. Expect Failure and Fight Paranoia

When failure rears its ugly head, some people get a bit paranoid and fear that this may become a trend.

Projects will go wrong and failure should be expected rather than feared. Learning lessons from failure and analyzing what went wrong is the best way forward.

“Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.” — Richard Branson

And here you can find 10 Great Lessons Highly Successful People Have Learned From Failure.

8. Be Concise

Rambling on at meetings, in emails and even when introducing yourself to new clients can waste a lot of people’s time.

One way is to practice and sharpen your “elevator speech,”[2] which tells people in 30 seconds or less why they need your skills and how they can benefit from doing business with you.

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Just think of the many situations where this could be useful:

  • Making new contacts
  • Talking about yourself at a job interview
  • Meeting people at conferences or parties
  • Phone calls to new clients

9. Ask the Right Questions

“You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.” — Naguib Mahfouz

How do you get feedback? The secret is to ask the right questions at the right time.

When you do this, you are gathering the information you need to help in decision making. This will save you time and you will be able to cut meetings to a minimum.

Forbes magazine reports on research that they carried out on asking the right questions.[3] When that happens, the positive effects are increased by 400%. There are also other benefits in staff motivation and a positive impact on the company’s bottom line.

Lifehack’s CEO Leon has shared about how to ask for feedback to learn faster: How to Learn Quickly And Master Any Skill You Want

10. Learn as Much as You Can

You should always be on a steep learning curve. Look at your skills profile and determine where you need to fill a gap. Talk to important connections and network in your niche.

Keep up to date on trends and developments. It is a fact-changing world. When an opportunity arises, you will be the best equipped to seize it because you have never stopped learning. Just another way of working smarter.

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” — Mahatma Gandhi

11. Look After Your Greatest Resource

No, your greatest resource is not time. It is YOU.

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If you do not get enough sleep, exercise and relaxation, you find that you become less and less productive. You begin to work longer and longer hours, which is the exact opposite of what you want.

What you should be doing is making sure you are in the best shape. It is useful to remember that you need a break of 15 minutes after every one and a half hours of work.[4]

Taking breaks and getting fresh air and exercise is one of the best ways of working smarter, not harder.

12. Don’t Fall into the Trap of Working Smarter and Harder

As a society, we are obsessed with doing everything smarter so we are more efficient and we save time all around.[5]

But the most important thing to remember is to accept when we are ready to switch off that computer and not fill up the time with even more work!

The Bottom Line

The key to greater productivity is to work smarter, not harder. Working smarter saves precious time and energy for the things that really matter — your life goals, your personal growth, your health and your relationships.

Stop working for more hours and start working smarter!

More About Working Smart

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

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