Gone are the days when everyone came into the office in the morning, worked all day and went home at night. It seems like just about every company has some people working remotely all of the time and most of the rest working remotely at least some of the time. In 2020, there are departments and almost entire companies where the workforce is completely remote.
For most organizations, allowing remote work isn’t a choice. They have to support it, and they have to do it well. The good news is that there are a lot of excellent reasons for working remote. If you adhere to remote teams best practices, you can develop a virtual workforce that will be loyal, will enjoy autonomy and will be free of the interruptions that arise from commuting to a building and working in a physical office.
Some employers worry about their remote staff working from home productivity, but that needn’t be a concern. According to the Harvard Business Review remote work can be just as productive as work done on the corporate premises.
There are a few remote team best practices that ensure your off-site staff will meet or exceed expectations. You have to get the right technology infrastructure. Employees need to learn and put into practice techniques for transition to remote work, such as developing a routine something like an office routine and dealing with home-based distractions. Management must facilitate a culture where everyone communicates, communicates and communicates some more. You need to find ways to check in on people and ensure they’re productive and happy.
Lots of organizations have found that remote work is more than just okay but actually provides a benefit to the company. Your team can enjoy these same benefits.
Managing a remote team is more than just giving them connectivity and telling them to go to it. There are work from home best practices for managers that set up a productive environment and prevent problems. Other best practices identify and deal with issues that arise. A company might even produce a managing remote teams PDF so leaders can have best practices at their fingertips.
Among the leading remote teams best practices is the matter of communication. Managers can’t wait for employees to raise issues but must reach out continuously to keep a finger on the pulse of the remote work. They need to ensure that everyone understands and follows work from home policy best practices. Fortunately, there are remote team management tools to facilitate this. In today’s connected world there are multiple ways to communicate. There are project management tools that are as effective in the virtual office as in the physical one.
One of the issues leaders worry about in running a remote team is how to know if remote employees are working. You can’t walk by their desk and see whether they’re working or reading the paper. But that wasn’t an effective method even in the physical environment. Evaluation of work needs to be results based, and leadership must trust employees to manage their time to get the work done. If deliverables are on time and meet requirements, it stands to reason that employees are working.
One of the challenges of managing remote employees is that they can become emotionally as well as physically distanced from the company and become disconnected from company culture. If you want to know how to be a good remote manager, you need to employ some strategies on how to unify a remote team.
A team culture must reflect the organization’s culture. Good cultural touch points include a focus on the customer, a passion for teamwork and a communication style where everyone communicates honestly but respectfully. A company that wants its culture to remain strong even among remote workers would do well to provide its leaders with a managing remote workers toolkit.
Tools to manage remote employees aren’t limited to software such as conferencing and project tracking tools. The toolkit should also include work from home guidelines for managers and work from home tips for managers. Leaders can’t fully understand how to build a strong culture with a remote team without being skilled in how to manage work from home.
In a remote workplace, where an employee can’t stop by a manager’s desk, some workers may not take the initiative to communicate as much as they should. In successful remote teams the leaders use a variety of remote team communication tools to foster effective remote team working.
No one communication is right all the time. Communication best practices for remote teams involve using a variety of tools and techniques. There’s a time for individual phone calls, for conference calls, for IM, for email and for virtual meetings via videoconferencing. The important thing for remote companies best practices is that communication be continuous and varied.
For leaders, being proactive is key in working remotely from home best practices. The quiet employee who goes about their business without saying much may fall out of touch. Issues may develop that the manager is unaware of. It’s good for the leader to deliberately check in with these individuals to see how they’re doing. It’s helpful it they have some remote working survey questions on hand to draw feedback from those who are less forward.
“Empowerment” was an important concept back when everyone came into the office, and It’s even more so now that we’re working remotely. An employee is empowered when they understand what the company needs to accomplish and know how to employ the best practices for working remotely to provide it.
Companies are learning more and more all the time about how to work from home. Remote work best practices 2020 are a step up from 2019 but may become even more effective in 2021. It’s important to establish the right framework from day one of deploying a remote team. This brings all the workers up to speed on best practices for work from home.
Don’t just connect them to the corporate systems and wish them good luck. Help them understand work from home best practices by providing them with remote working tips. Do more than merely give them a list. In your communications, both one-on-one and in groups, make it a practice to remind them of one of two of the most effective ways of working remotely from home.
People who work together in an office naturally collaborate. You’ll see several of them gathered around a desk or in a group having a hallway discussion about a work issue. It takes some thought to understand how to collaborate effectively if your team is remote.
Remote team dynamics are different from office dynamics, but some principles are similar. One of the most significant remote collaboration tips is that people need to be more deliberate in how they reach out to one another. It’s hard to ignore your coworker in an office but much easier if you never see that person. It’s entirely reasonable to require that every person on the team “talk” to every other person every day, or at least every few days
Collaboration tools become doubly important in the virtual environment. You need not only to provide working from home tips for success but also the software that supports that success.
On the first day an employee starts working remotely, the best technology for working remotely needs to be in place. Many of the tools you use in the physical environment translate adequately into tools for remote teams. For example, file sharing tools and project management tools can often be used equally well proximally or remotely.
There are other tools already in place that have to be approached differently to be the best tools for remote workers. Examples might be IM, email and the good old telephone. People aren’t going to know how to work effectively remotely unless they make the best use of the tools they already have.
It’s communications and meeting tools, however, that are the win-or-lose factor in how to survive working remotely. When a group is physically together in a room, everyone can see everyone else and read communications clues such as body language and tone of voice. We as people don’t entirely understand how we look beyond the words to see what a person is truly trying to express. However, the best meetings tools let workers see each other and provide those subtle clues we use to best work together
Evaluation and selection of your toolset is as important as a job can be. You don’t merely want to provide working remotely tips and tools; you need to simulate some of the feel of the office environment to a remote worker. That person used to commute to work and be surrounded by everything they needed to accomplish their tasks. Now you require tools that will create an environment where they can come into work virtually and still be able to do everything they were able to do in the physical office. That includes interacting with their coworkers at that human level where people come to understand one another.