Keeping your virtual team productive
Whether you’re already managing a virtual team or your company is considering remote work options, check out these methods to make sure output stays high.
Planning for success
A successful transition to remote work requires some forethought. Map out exactly how your team can work together effectively from anywhere.
Align on company and team goals.
In the office, employees are surrounded by daily reminders about team and company goals. With remote work, it’s doubly important to have regular, candid discussions about connecting to the company mission and team goals.
Communicate individual roles and objectives.
In addition to understanding the team’s overarching goals, each team member should grasp their individual role in the company’s success. Review their core objectives and establish clear milestones you’d like them to reach.
Evaluate your existing infrastructure.
Your team may already use cloud-based tools to accomplish projects, but think about which tasks still rely on in-person interactions and whether they can be digitized to suit remote work.
Gather feedback about your current processes.
Gaps or weak points in your team’s workflow could be exacerbated by going remote. Work with your team to identify areas for improvement, brainstorm potential solutions, and document your new processes.
Tools for putting remote infrastructure in place
Cloud solutions like Dropbox, Google Drive, and Microsoft OneDrive allow your remote team to easily share and save files.
Focusing on communication
When your team is dispersed, effective communication becomes more critical than ever. Technology can help you stay connected, but you’ll also need to adjust the ways you share information to avoid inefficiencies and blind spots.
Choose the right communication tools for your team.
There are many digital communication tools out there, but you don’t need all of them. Choose the most intuitive, scalable options to reduce the likelihood you’ll have to switch later.
Place an emphasis on transparency.
Working well as a remote team requires greater transparency. Emphasize the importance of providing regular updates to keep everyone in the loop. This also holds people accountable for their work.
Find efficient ways to distribute key information.
Think about the fastest way to communicate teamwide information at scale. Keep in mind that important updates can quickly become buried in a chat channel, while teammates can always refer back to an email.
Hold more-productive virtual meetings.
Share an agenda in advance and establish some ground rules, such as “no multitasking.” As your team grows more accustomed to remote work, some meetings could become emails instead.
Tools for streamlining remote communication
Instant messaging platforms like Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Google Chat make it easy to stay connected when your team is apart.
Tracking and measurement
Keeping track of your team’s productivity is part of being a good manager — especially when transitioning to a new way of working. But micromanaging can make everyone less productive, including you.
Provide space for uninterrupted work.
While it’s important to touch base with your remote team regularly, you also need to give them space to work without distraction. Encourage them to turn off notifications if they need to, but discuss the best way to contact them if it’s urgent.
Track outcomes rather than individual actions.
Micromanaging displays a lack of trust and wastes your time. As long as your team completes their projects on schedule, tracking their day-to-day tasks is less important.
Adopt tools that provide high-level visibility.
To ensure projects remain on track without micromanaging, consider adopting a project management tool. You won’t have to look over your teammates’ shoulders, but you’ll still be able to spot delays or problems.
Prioritize in-depth check-ins over regular meetings.
If your teammate’s days are filled with meetings and calls, they’ll have less time for focused, productive work. Instead, schedule weekly or biweekly check-ins to review their projects and their progress.
Tools for keeping your remote team on target
Project management tools like monday.com, Basecamp, and Trello provide a transparent view into the status of active projects.
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