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.
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.
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.
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.
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