Increasing and Maintaining Remote Collaboration
The working world is significantly different from what it was a few years ago. Remote work arrangements, particularly, are growing in popularity among workers and becoming more permanent in companies worldwide.
But the hard part about remote work is ensuring your team is as communicative and collaborative as possible to fuel a productive operation.
Ultimately, increasing, maintaining, and celebrating remote collaboration is a must. Before we offer some tips on encouraging and supporting collaboration in a remote workforce, let’s assess the importance of collaboration in general.
How Valuable is Collaboration?
As mentioned above, remote work is tough. Mainly because getting your team to communicate, collaborate, and work productively requires intention and effort on everyone’s part.
Remote work also comes with some isolation and loneliness that can diminish the spirit of innovation, creativity, and togetherness in your team. That’s where authentic collaboration can play an integral part.
Collaboration is valuable, specifically in a remote workforce, because it creates a well-oiled crew, no matter each team member’s location. When your remote team collaborates, it brings them closer, which boosts morale and the quality of each team member’s work.
In addition, collaboration enables the formation of a global workforce. You can take your company to another level with the perspectives, skill sets, and experiences of a diverse group of employees.
With genuine collaboration, a remote workforce, or any workforce for that matter, can excel.
Four Tips for Encouraging and Maintaining Collaboration in a Remote Workforce
As remote work becomes more common, you need to create an environment and company culture that supports it, starting by improving collaboration. Here are six tips to increase and maintain remote collaboration.
Lean on technology
Without the right tech tools, facilitating collaboration and communication in a remote team is impossible. Because remote employees work in different places, at different times, and in different ways, technology is that much more important to keep everyone on the same page.
Implement video conferencing and real-time chat tools to keep communication consistent. Use project management software, so everyone knows their roles and responsibilities in each project. A customer relationship management software solution and content management system are also helpful.
Even enabling things like e-signatures is vital for maintaining remote collaboration because they’re a huge part of keeping projects progressing.
Another tip for encouraging and maintaining collaboration in a remote team is to foster open communication.
Open communication is critical
Open communication is critical if you want to increase and maintain remote collaboration. Supporting employees that work outside the office requires intention, particularly in how, why, and when you communicate with each one.
Set and document communication expectations within your team to ensure everyone knows who to contact for various kinds of support during their remote work journey. It’ll also help everyone understand how to best communicate with each team member to initiate effective collaboration.
Your communication expectations should include:
- Each employee’s title, role, and contact information
- A little on each employee’s preferred communication methods
- The communication channels and platforms your team uses
- What each communication channel and platform is used for
Feedback is essential for collaboration too.
Encourage an ongoing conversation about bettering collaboration
Every remote workforce will require different things to make collaboration a top priority. Asking for and listening to feedback directly from your employees can help you figure out what those things are.
Ask your employees what a collaborative remote team looks like and their suggestions for bringing that vision to life in your company. Meet with your remote employees regularly. Do group and individual meetings to open up a two-way conversation about how to better collaborate and communicate within the team.
Also, grow personal relationships with your employees so that it’s easier for them to be honest with you about what they are and aren’t getting in terms of collaboration and support. That way, you can give them what they really need to work together better with their coworkers.
Our last tip for bettering collaboration in your remote workforce is to do everything you can to enhance team camaraderie and connection.
Enable team camaraderie and connection
Fostering a high level of collaboration in your remote team is even more challenging when your employees don’t like, let alone know, each other.
But if you commit to enabling team camaraderie and connection, your remote employees can get to know each other and form genuine personal relationships that prompt a streamlined workflow.
Encourage your team to connect beyond work and nurture authentic relationships. Set up social hours, remote lunch rooms, and separate chat channels for less formal conversations at work. Monthly team dinners, bonding activities, and other events inspiring team camaraderie are also brilliant ideas.
When you encourage your team to get to know each other outside of work, they tend to collaborate more effectively while at work.
Collaboration is incredibly valuable in a remote workforce. Without it, your team won’t ever reach the level of productivity and engagement you want it to. No collaboration also leads to less happy workers, which can negatively impact your ability to retain them.
So, implement the tips above to encourage and increase collaboration in your remote team. It will ensure each team member feels their best and does their best for your company.
Remote Startups- Best Leadership Advice For Entrepreneurs
The remote work model spells a new beginning for entrepreneurs as it enables them to start small with minimal investment. In fact, you can launch a business without a physical setup by hiring a complete team of resources working from home. The chances of securing top talent are great because people love the flexibility and freedom of working remotely. However, you may fall short on the management and leadership front because overseeing a team without physical connectivity can be challenging. Things become even tougher when you lack experience. But you can follow these valuable leadership tips to drive your remote startup toward success.
Set clear and realistic goals
Good leadership begins with setting clear and realistic goals for your team, and they become even more crucial while leading a remote team. Your employees will likely be more productive when they have realistic targets to chase. They may even decide their own schedule and pace to achieve these goals. For example, you can provide actionable quality expectations and deadlines for projects to ensure the best performance. Regular check-in is equally vital as they show whether things are on track.
Goal setting is only half the work when it comes to managing a remote startup team. You must also assign responsibilities to everyone on board to bring accountability into the picture. When people know what they need to do, they can hardly use ignorance as an excuse. Moreover, the team can accomplish its goals faster by working as a cohesive unit where everyone does their part of the work.
Leverage the right tools
Technology is perhaps the most critical aspect of leadership when launching and running a remote startup. You must look for the right tools to ensure good collaboration, secure access, and maximum productivity. For example, Remotetopc can help you facilitate secure and reliable remote PC access for your team members, regardless of location. Likewise, you can leverage tools for productivity, time management, project scheduling, and performance analysis.
Encourage regular communication
Effective and regular communication is the mainstay of success for hybrid businesses, and startups are no exception. While communication is crucial in all settings, it becomes even more significant when employees are not in the office. Be proactive about fostering constant communication as a business leader. In fact, you must encourage interactions beyond professional needs to drive good bonding and prevent isolation.
Respect boundaries and limitations
Although remote work offers more freedom and flexibility, it can often blur the boundaries between personal and professional lives. Successful business leaders ensure an optimal work-life balance for their remote teams by respecting the boundaries and limitations of their employees. Failing to do it can lead to burnout and loss of productivity, and both are detrimental to startups. Avoiding micromanagement, keeping realistic deadlines, and adapting to change are a few measures to prevent such situations.
Entrepreneurs leading remote startups need not worry about distance when managing their teams. Follow these tips to make the most of their productivity, and give your business a great start.
Author Bio: Steve Rose is a professional content writer, working for Outreach Monks for seven years. He holds expertise in business and tech niches and, thus, delivers content that offers new and trending information in an easy format.
How to Prevent Conflict in a Remote Work Environment
Adopting a remote work model for your business offers significant benefits. Yet, there are also some distinct challenges you’ll face as a business leader. One of the key issues here is the impact of conflict among your workers.
You may think a remote workforce would present fewer opportunities for conflict to arise. Yet, you’ll find no matter what business model you adopt there is the potential for friction to breed among your team members. A recent study found 80% of remote professionals experienced workplace conflict.
Moreover, workplace conflict can take a variety of forms in a remote setting. Let’s take a look at how these issues occur and how you can prevent them in the first place.
It’s fair to say that when employees are entirely remote, they don’t always have the opportunities to forge strong bonds with their colleagues. As such, you may find that distance between your team members may cause conflict due to a lack of interpersonal relationships, empathy, and even trust.
As such, part of your approach to preventing conflict has to include methods to keep remote teams closely connected. This begins with encouraging remote team engagement to strengthen the bonds workers have with colleagues and the business itself. Implementing this is integral to your remote company’s culture. Make working practices as much about collaboration as attending to their independent tasks.
In addition, establish practices to minimize the tendency toward self-isolation. Yes, some workers may prefer to operate independently. But it’s in everyone’s best interest to make efforts to connect. Arrange remote team-building exercises. Create channels on your communication platforms dedicated to casual chats. It may take more effort than in an office, but you can reduce the conflict of distance by creating strong social interactions among your team.
The presence of microaggressions in the workplace has become a key focus in many industries. These are the more subtle verbal, behavioral, and environmental behaviors often directed toward workers from marginalized groups. They can come in the form of damaging cultural stereotypes, invalidating actions, exclusive conduct, and many more harmful activities. It may be more difficult to note and address microaggressions in a remote environment compared to a traditional office workplace, but if left unaddressed, these actions may build toward a destructive conflict.
Part of the problem with microaggressions is the perpetrators aren’t always aware of their transgressions. Their actions and opinions are based on toxic cultural elements that were ingrained over decades. But these more subtle barbs are no less damaging or impactful to the recipient. As such, it’s vital to implement training on microaggressions and how to recognize them in employees’ behavior.
It is also vital to make it clear to your workers that they can speak to you in safety and confidentiality if they feel they are victims of microaggressions in the remote workplace. Should a worker approach you, make sure to handle these swiftly and sensitively. This can prevent further conflict from arising.
Some of the most difficult conflicts you’ll face in remote environments are those related to your leadership approach. When your staff doesn’t have meaningful contact with you every day, it can be difficult for them to develop respect for you and your methods. As such, when the time comes that a worker doesn’t agree with your approach, you may find them less responsive. This isn’t good for productivity, team cohesion, or employee retention.
Your most important tool in preventing this type of conflict is a commitment to regular communication from day one. This doesn’t mean you should micromanage them; you’ll just create more conflict. Rather, check-in with individual team members at the beginning of each day via email or messaging. Show some care for their welfare and touch on the tasks for the day. Make it clear what the best contact channels are if they need your help with anything.
Throughout the day, you should take moments to connect with the whole team on your shared chat channels. Make this a mixture of work-related points and engagement with the social channels. This demonstrates your professional abilities and aspects of your personality. At least once a week, hold a video chat with team members so they get some face-to-face contact. This way, should disagreements about your leadership decision arise, you’ve already established a basis for respect and understanding. It also makes employees more comfortable in communicating with you.
Work Style Clashes
Remote operations can be an attractive option for workers. Many workers may strive for this work setup as it gives them the flexibility to handle their working tasks according to their individual working preferences. Providing this choice can certainly be a motivation and productivity boost. However, if your workplace involves a lot of collaborative work, a difference between work styles may lead to a clash between employees.
You can help prevent this by introducing some form of company standardization in your practices. This may be something as simple as a solid basic framework for each task or project. Set specific milestones to meet along a task’s timeline. Confirm what tools are used for each step. These steps add structure and set consistent expectations for everyone while still giving space for individual processes.
Most importantly, encourage your employees to communicate with one another about their working practices. Help them to better understand each others’ workflows throughout the process of a project. It’s also worth implementing project management software to keep each team member’s tasks on the project timeline visible. This helps all colleagues to see progress so they can plan accordingly.
Any workplace will be subject to a certain amount of conflict among staff. Remote businesses have specific challenges surrounding distance, respect, trust, and cooperation. In almost all of these cases, the preventative solutions revolve around effective communication and finding ways to forge better connections. With a little strategy and focus, you can find ways to minimize friction and maximize productivity.
How Is Remote Work Changing Productivity Measurements
As the world increasingly moves towards a future of remote work, employees and employers alike have had to make numerous adjustments. One such change relates to remote worker productivity metrics. When employees come to their workplaces, their supervisors can directly observe whether they make the most of their time on the clock or not. However, you may know that doing it is not so straightforward with more people working at home.
Patient Feedback Could Help Measure Worker Productivity
It’s not necessarily typical for patients to receive requests to fill out surveys once they attend in-person doctor visits. However, the increase in telemedicine has made researchers especially interested in how patients feel about receiving care remotely. Plus, it’s easy to push a feedback request to a person immediately after an appointment ends, either directly on-screen or via email.
A recent study of patients who received telemedicine care during the COVID-19 pandemic asked respondents how they felt about the quality of care. The results showed that 79% either agreed or strongly agreed that they were very satisfied with it. Then, 88% of patients said their providers engaged in the session within 15 minutes of the scheduled appointment. Another notable finding was that 84% of patients felt their physicians spent enough time with them.
Participating in a telehealth visit does not always mean the provider is working remotely, but it often does. For example, this study showed that 63.6% of medical professionals had conducted their appointments from home.
A physician’s supervisor could monitor patient sentiments to get a good idea of remote worker productivity in such cases. For example, if patients complain that the doctor seemed rushed or preoccupied during a virtual visit, those are bad signs. The same is true if a provider is consistently very late for appointments. One of the top advantages of telemedicine care for patients is that they can drastically cut down on wait times and often see providers immediately.
Cultural Differences Can Shape Time Perceptions From a Remote Team
Remote working has many associated perks. For example, research showed that if everyone who could worked from home half the time, it would cut 119 billion highway miles traveled per year.
Plus, a remote team could give organizations greater access to people with the required expertise despite geographical boundaries. A medical team in a rural region could get advice from a foremost expert in a rare infectious disease, even if that person is on another continent.
However, remote work can make cultural differences more apparent, too. For example, people’s cultures often shape how they perceive time. The variations could extend to whether someone prefers punctuality over flexibility and if they become more motivated by short- or long-term goals.
These variations mean it’s shortsighted to hold each employee to the same remote worker productivity metrics. Consider a case where a person always meets their deadlines but sometimes has errors in the work. A colleague might occasionally miss time-based milestones by minor amounts but virtually never have mistakes in their submissions. That scenario suggests that one person prioritizes getting stuff done on time no matter what, while the other works more slowly to avoid quality issues.
Representatives from Gallup recommend using three universal performance domains to measure the productivity of hybrid and remote teams:
- Assessing how well a person can set and meet goals (A reflection of their personal work)
- Checking how well a person can effectively partner with others (A reflection of their teamwork capabilities)
- Translating how a person’s work brings consequences (A reflection of their commitment to customers)
These three areas suit the realities of remote work while accounting for cultural differences and other variations. Some companies that have fully or mostly remote teams already use them when examining employees’ workforce performance.
Managers Should Avoid Making Assumptions About Apparent Productivity Declines
The surge in remote work left many executives searching for the best ways to ensure their employees stay on task while working from home. Many ultimately chose software that takes periodic screenshots, tracks keystrokes, and monitors mouse movements.
However, a 2021 survey from YouGov of the British workforce found that 59% of people would not work for employers that used remote monitoring software. Instead, 58% preferred team or manager check-ins, while 51% agreed with managers evaluating their work to measure productivity.
Any supervisors feeling concerned about a worker’s less-than-impressive metrics should remember that there’s more than one way to measure worker productivity. An open, supportive discussion could get to the bottom of what’s wrong.
It’s also important to remember that software tools don’t accurately reflect productivity all the time. For example, if a person has a team conference over Zoom, they might rarely or never use their keyboard and mouse. That could make it appear to a time-tracking program that the worker was idle.
Inadequate resources may be to blame, too. One study compiled the remote working experiences of 128 people employed for the United Kingdom’s National Health Service during the pandemic who had medical conditions that made staying home the safest option or lived with vulnerable family members. Many people in that situation tried to continue contributing by working from home.
The research showed that most workers — 99 of the 128 — had roles that let them get duties done remotely. However, 21 of the 99 expressed that they lacked resources to do optimal work from home. Those statistics highlight how important it is for supervisors to specifically check that remote employees have everything they need. Otherwise, those workforce members could continually encounter challenges that make managers reach the wrong conclusions about productivity.
Tracking Remote Worker Productivity Requires New Methods
Managing a remote team requires doing some things differently. Some of them relate to how supervisors track a person’s time on the clock. Look at different metrics or at using alternative methods to measure how well workers use their available work hours. The ideas here can get people thinking about and applying appropriate approaches.
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