Most of us became acquainted with remote work during the days of lockdown. However, it has become clear by now that remote work wasn’t a one-time phenomenon, but it is here to stay. Despite the advantages of traditional office-based work, the unique benefits of remote work can’t be ignored anymore.
If you have tried managing remote teams, you will know that being productive is one of the biggest challenges in remote work. Since remote working is still relatively new, it is common to not fully understood how to have a highly productive remote team.
However, following these 7 tips, you can increase your team’s productivity while working remotely.
How to Increase Remote Team’s Productivity
1. Set Expectations
Having clear goals and measurable targets help your team to focus by knowing what to work towards. Lack of motivation and clarity, along with uncertainty can lead to confusion and haphazard workflow. Discuss with your team and decide on what should be the expectations and goals.
Make it clear when and how long they should be available when working remotely, what personal targets they should fulfill, which way would their performance be measured, etc.
Setting goals and milestones can keep remote workers engaged and motivated.
Being transparent will help increase trust with remote employees. It also increases accountability in the organization. When expectations are clear, remote workers will do what is necessary, be it dressing properly for the video calls or achieving goals in a timely manner.
2. Communicate Properly
Lack of face-to-face communication in remote work can be hard for managing the remote team. Communication is essential when working remotely. Maintaining a smooth and efficient remote work environment requires communicating with colleagues about ongoing projects and keeping them informed of the most recent activities and availability.
Try to make a planned timeline and arrange daily check-in to communicate the progress or challenges. Everyone will know how the projects are progressing and where to focus more. Following the scrum methodology can be useful as well.
Communicate clearly with videos or pictures whenever necessary. Human interaction might not get through the videos, so you will need complementary media to make the story clear. These resources will help them learn how to do a task.
Encourage your team members to communicate regularly with other team members, whether through video calls, instant messaging, or other communication tools to other social intranet tools like Empuls It is also important to foster a collaborative work environment where team members can work together seamlessly, regardless of their location.
Be it one on one meetings, or video conferences for the teams, follow the best practices of digital meetings. For having the best meeting experience, try to dress professionally and look into the camera.
Video conferencing & Communication tools
Selecting the proper communication tools will help you keep in touch with your team members. Keeping everyone in the same place will lead to increased connection and communication. Zoom, Google Meet, Skype, and MS Teams are some of the most widely used tools. Be sure to check multiple tools and use the one that suits your organization.
Team chat tools like Slack and Discord can be useful for less important and basic chat communication. Streamline the communication process and channels for easy collaboration among remote team members. Using email or chat to collaborate or discuss complex work can take up a lot of time. Sharing screens via communication tools can be helpful in this regard.
3. Optimize Processes
Doing whatever for getting something doesn’t work. Creating Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) can help in this regard. Employees can check these instead of coming up with their own methods to handle a situation. Streamlined communication processes can also be helpful in increasing the productivity of remote workers.
Optimize video calls and meetings as well. Too many video conferences can do more harm than good. Whatever can be done by basic chat communication, should be done with chat. For video calls, ensure that everyone is following the proper etiquette and keeping the meeting short.
Modify all of the current processes, since it will be a new work environment and style of work. Methods that worked in the office, will not work accurately while working remotely. You have to modify your company culture for the remote work environment.
4. Utilize Tools to Get More Productive
There are many tools to increase the productivity of your remote team. While these tools can be used by office employees as well, they are ideally suited for remote employees.
Manage time and employees to be more efficient
When working remotely, it’s quite easy to get distracted and get less productive. To get things done in time or to track the worked hours, you need to use time tracking software. Most time tracking tools have remote employee monitoring for a better understanding of employees’ work and to let them minimize distractions. However, keep in mind that the goal is to not micromanage, but ensure employees are working diligently and efficiently.
Additionally, take advantage of using a workforce management platform that will assist in optimizing employee schedules by taking into account predictive customer traffic and individual employee attributes. By leveraging advanced algorithms and data analysis, the platform can accurately forecast customer demand and allocate the right number of employees with the appropriate skills to meet that demand effectively.
Manage projects better with Project Management Software
Project Management Software (PMS) helps you organize, manage and plan projects efficiently. There are multiple different tools for managing projects. Top PMS includes- Trello, ClickUp, Monday.com, Asana, Wrike, Basecamp, etc. Third-party integrations and add-ons are available to make these tools more robust.
They allow you to organize projects, assign tasks to members, deal with deadlines, and adjust priorities. You can work with a Kanban board, Gantt chart, and scrum frameworks. PMS gives you a brief idea of how the tasks and projects are progressing and makes the workflow more efficient.
Collaborate smartly with cloud-based solutions
For file sharing and collaborative editing, you need to pick a cloud system. Cloud software suites like Google Workspace have an option for the whole team to contribute and work together. You can check who is working where and organize the workflow. Microsoft Teams can also be helpful. Use Dropbox, and Google Drive for uploading files and sharing between teams.
Even normal tools like Canva has collaboration options for teams. However, for more realistic collaboration, you can use tools like Miro’s whiteboard to collaborate with the team and brainstorm ideas using visuals. Working together will foster better collaboration.
5. Use Feedback and Adapt
Even without giving monetary rewards, constructive feedback alone can increase team members’ motivation and engagement. Providing them with what they are doing right and what could be done better will help them utilize their strength and improve their weakness.
Feedback is a two-way street. You also need to ask for feedback from your team regularly, at least every quarter. The feedback loop improves the quality of products and processes. Your team members might have great suggestions on how to improve their own work or the efficiency of the whole organization. On the other hand, most workers feel disengaged when they get barely any feedback, or when their feedback is not listened to.
Since remote work environment is different, new types of issues may arise. You need to handle these situations methodically and adapt. Organizations need to constantly adapt to survive. That’s why you shouldn’t be afraid of adapting new work culture. Even the best leaders won’t be able to come up with great ideas consistently or make perfect systems with highly optimized processes. Make it safe and easy to share ideas and issues, so that you can work with the most efficiency.
6. Dedicated Workspace for Team members
One of the top challenges faced by remote employees is not having a proper place to work from. Be it family members roaming around or not having proper tables and equipment. Having a dedicated workspace will make it feel like work is separate from personal life, and therefore easy to manage without getting distracted.
Since you don’t have to give onsite perks, you can use that money to give a remote work stipend. Give them an allowance for setting up a proper home office. If employees can work more comfortably, it will be better for the company as well.
Be it a one-time payment or paid on a regular basis, the stipend should cover electricity and internet bills and all the equipment they might need: a laptop, monitor, webcam, and accessories. Noise-canceling headphones, a height-adjustable desk, and an ergonomic chair can be helpful as well. Normal furniture isn’t ergonomic and can cause back pain. Getting an ergonomic workspace can make remote work comfortable and efficient.
7. Teambuilding and Celebrations
Getting along with coworkers can lead to higher satisfaction on the job and increase team efficiency. This also applies to remote teams. Remote work decreases team bonding and trusts between colleagues. This often leads to lower-quality collaboration and less communication.
Teambuilding activities can build healthy company culture and camaraderie. Try to get together once a month or arrange quarterly retreats. You can recognize their efforts and appreciate their hard work in these events. However, the focus should be on having activities together and team bonding.
Celebrating achievements and milestones can give a sense of advancement and growth as a team. Encouraging individual growth can also be beneficial for the company. Both individual and team growth will help make your organization more productive.
Working remotely can be daunting at first glance. But, if you can adapt properly and use these tips, you should see increased productivity in your remote team. If properly managed, remote workers can be more efficient than typical office workers, achieving company objectives and producing high-quality work consistently.