Remote work has been steadily gaining traction in recent years, most especially now. If you’re lucky, you’ve enabled your team to work remotely–but if not, it’s never too late to start.
There are many advantages to moving your team remote. The ability to continue business as usual during a global pandemic is maybe the first to come to mind.
Here are a few concrete ways to take that remote team leap for your business:
1. Communicate clear goals and expectations
Make sure each team member knows what is expected of them, not just in terms of definite tasks and deliverables, but also conduct and communication expectations.
Communicate early and often. Working remotely often means a significant source of where we take our social cues from are diminished. But this doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker, if there are open communication lines throughout the team.
2. Utilize meetings when appropriate
Remote work does not translate into an absence of meetings. So even though cutting out useless meetings has been found to be a popular move, helping man workers be more productive due to less interruptions, having face-to-face meetings are still valuable in forming bonds between team members.
The energy in a meeting can help motivate people and lift their spirits. This makes it especially suitable for things like brainstorming sessions.
If your team is scattered all around and a face-to-face meeting is not possible, conference calls can be a good substitute. Just remember to be clear about what the meeting is for and respect everyone’s time. Start on time and end on time.
3. Track team and individual performance
It’s important to keep tabs on how the team and individual members are doing. Tracking their progress on tasks and deliverables can help you pinpoint if there are potential problems that you should be made aware of.
Encourage accountability and transparency in your team, but don’t micromanage.
If you have previous performance data on your team members, comparing this against their remote performance is helpful. However, you should be aware that the first few weeks of a remote working arrangement is a learning curve for most people and they will need some time to normalize.
4. Invest in the right online tools so your team can work anywhere
There are many tools now available that will help you run your business without having to stay inside an office network. If you are not working on highly specialized systems, chances are, there’s a digital tool for your newly-remote business. These often have the additional ability of backing up your team’s activity so that it doesn’t get lost in case something happens to your physical premises.
These online tools run the gamut from project and team management tools, to backend office software that handles things like automating invoices and scheduling your team’s calendars. Pinpoint the important activities and processes that your team goes through to complete their work and go from there.
5. Run a trial period
If you have the capability to run a trial period, do it! This can be an important piece in your push to become remote. Communicate clearly to your team members what your expectations are, and set a clear end date for this test.
Gather your team’s feedback and pinpoint what their pain points were. This is invaluable for finding out how to better improve your remote arrangements.
When you make the final transition to a remote work environment, make sure to highlight the findings and how they have been addressed, as well as provide tips on how to work through items that need everybody’s support.
6. Recognize and reward your remote employees
Even if they are out of sight, do not let your remote team think they are out of mind. They are just as valuable when working remotely as when in the office. Providing recognition for a stellar job is important in boosting morale.
These can be in the form of awards or even credits that they can use for their daily lives. Gamifying this practice can also encourage camaraderie in the team, if they can nominate their coworkers for a job well done.
7. Have the right people or cultivate the right mindset
Some people will thrive on remote work, and others will need some time to get over the learning curve. Though most people can be happy and effective working remotely, not everyone is cut out for it. Some people just thrive better in a face-to-face environment.
These people may be good candidates for having a skeleton crew in a physical premises. When making the decision to move the majority of your business remote, it might be worth considering also moving to smaller premises that can more easily cater to a smaller team’s needs.
It all really depends on the context of your business, but resources should be saved across the board.
It’s not too late
It’s never too late to improve your business and make it a better virtual workplace for your team. After thinking long and hard about whether your business is ready to go remote, I’m pretty sure you’ll feel ready to take the plunge. And I’m even more sure you’ll be happy you did.