In an era where remote work is becoming commonplace, you’ve got to do more than just hire a few to get specific jobs done. You need to transform your remote team to foster a culture of adaptability and self-motivation.
It’s hard to get people to work well together when they don’t see each other face-to-face. It’s also hard to keep a remote team motivated and productive without a common work environment. So, how do you transform your remote team into a productive, efficient, and happy one?
Having been in the business of building and managing remote teams for hundreds of companies for over 11 years and growing my own team at VA STAFFER to over 150 fully remote team members – I’ve learned a few things.
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Here’s the truth: The global pandemic points to one thing, the era of remote work is no longer in the future, it’s already here to stay.
It’s part of the new normal many organizations struggle to cope with.
Even though many companies request their team members to return to work, a Gartner Survey showed that some organizations plan to shift to remote work completely (telecommuting) to save operational costs. Most of the CFOs of these organizations discovered cost-effective ways of keeping their business running during the pandemic. Many team members have also enjoyed a flexible work schedule and better work-life balance during the lockdowns.
According to a study by Flexjobs, 65% of team members wished to continue working remotely after the pandemic, while 31% voted for a hybrid work arrangement. Square and Twitter already gave their team members the option to work from home, and many more companies are following the same step.
As the majority of the global workforce shifts to remote work, it is crucial to adapt to it to ensure the success of your organization. Here are eight strategies you can apply to develop and improve a strong culture within your remote team.
1. Build confidence among your remote team
Before you can build confidence, you need to first and foremost establish trust. Where there is a lack of trust, growth will be hampered. Where trust is flourishing, any remote team can survive and thrive. You can instill trust and build confidence in your remote workforce by encouraging transparency and self-direction.
A study by Harvard Business Review showed that giving greater autonomy to your team enhances productivity. A 2014 survey by Citigroup and LinkedIn reported that over 50% of workers are willing to give up a 20% pay raise to have greater control over how they work.
2. Provide clear direction to your remote team members
Every team member working with your organization online or offline needs clear direction to perform optimally. Business owners and managers need to set clear expectations. You also need to provide relevant resources and guidance for team members to accomplish their tasks. This is crucial if your goal is to have long-lasting success and tangible results with your virtual workforce.
3. Create time for networking and socializing
Working remotely can be lonely at times, especially if there are no stress-relief programs offered which is usually practiced in the physical office setting. But if you want to boost the morale of your remote staff, you should devise creative ways to entertain and connect your remote teams.
You can create virtual happy times, coffee hours and/or virtual lunches for your team to interact outside their job routines. This may also allow you to introduce other remote workers to each other.
4. Announce promotions or changes of roles virtually
Unknown to many business owners who are new to remote work, announcements of promotions, or changes in the organization, play prominent roles in motivating workers to do more and be more. It is an incentive for the team to always strive to improve and aspire to reach the top. If you are yet to include this in your remote team culture, it is high time you do so. You can employ Slack or Zoom for status updates or announcements of milestones, and small and big wins.
5. Celebrate positive feedback from clients amongst the team
Whenever a client sends us positive feedback about their experience working with the team or certain team members, we take a screenshot of it and announce it to the whole team! Not only does this improve the morale of the team member, but also highlights what we did to get such high reviews. It also creates an environment of healthy competition to get positive feedback from our clients for providing outstanding service.
6. Offer virtual training and skill acquisition
Offer relevant training and skill acquisition to help your team produce excellent performance. This will not only give your team the opportunities to learn new things it also provides an avenue to keep your workers engaged.
Here are a few ideas for training and developing the capacity of new and existing remote workers:
- Team-management training
- Meeting facilitation skills
- Presentation or public-speaking training
- Sales -closing skill
7. Check in on your remote team regularly
If there is any time that empathy is more needed in the workplace, it is now – the new normal. Don’t assume all is well with your team members just because they work remotely. Whenever you can, always reach out
and check in with them.
Keep communication lines open through Slack channels or group chats. Encourage your remote team to be free to share moments or even non-work-related topics on designated channels. This experience will go a long way in keeping your virtual team connected and happy.
8. Use Collaboration Tools
Use collaboration tools that will optimize project collaborations and team communications. There is no shortage of applications and software that you can use for this purpose. Choose one that fits your team culture and business model.
9. Provide incentives for excellent performance among your remote team
Using incentives to increase performance may be a very old idea, but it still works today. Incentives improve the recruitment and retention of high-performing talent for your organization. It also increases and boosts the productivity of your workers.
Improving a remote team environment won’t come easy. You have to put strategies in place to make this possible. The global pandemic has proved a point already: virtual teams will benefit both employers and workers.
Applying these nine proven strategies will not only help you build a robust remote team and maximize your virtual workforce, but they will also help you thrive in the new world of the remote workforce.