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8 Ways To Make The Most Of Being A Remote Team

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Whether your business is run completely remotely or you’ve had to quickly adapt to new work from home measures as a result of the pandemic, adjusting to being a remote team isn’t easy.

When you work with people you don’t see every day, you face unique challenges. It’s not as simple as popping to your co-worker’s desk to chat about the latest project. Instead, collaboration and communication online is a top priority. 

And that’s without thinking about the social and cultural implications of a remote team. How do you create a strong bond between colleagues that rarely see each other? 

Well, although there is no one big secret to being the perfect remote team, there are some things you can do to make the most of this way of working. Below, we’ve pulled together a list of eight ways you can get the most from your remote team.

1. Create an inclusive culture 

The traditional workplace allows employees to chat with each other on a daily basis and to get to know one another. This can create lots of strong bonds and good working relationships. 

However, this is much harder to achieve as a remote team, and lack of visibility can make it harder to create a sense of belonging and teamwork. 

But to keep your remote team engaged and happy, everyone must feel included. In order to achieve this remotely, there are several things you can do, including:

•       Virtual social events

•       Regular catch-ups

•       Sending e-birthday cards

•       Virtual brainstorming sessions

•       In-person events

•       Embracing cultural differences by celebrating cultural or national holidays

•       Celebrating big milestones and projects 

As these are so crucial to getting the most from your team, we’re going to take a look at some of these in more detail below. 

2. Arrange virtual social events 

One of the best ways to create an inclusive culture and a team that is creative and collaborative is to arrange social events, even if these are virtual. 

Using video conferencing platforms like Zoom or Microsoft teams, you could arrange fun virtual events such as coffee mornings, after work drinks, team dinners, pub quizzes, or other games nights. 

This can help remote workers to get to know one another, bond, and blow off some steam after work. 

3. Organise meet ups or trips away 

While virtual events are great, they still don’t compare to spending time together in person, which is why in-person events are also important for your remote team. Whether your team all live in the same country or they’re scattered about the globe, organising company events or retreats can be perfect for getting everyone together. 

This could be for training, bonding or just relaxing, but it’s important to encourage as many people as you can to attend – everyone if possible! This could mean a few things, such as arranging shipping services to make travelling as enjoyable and easy as possible or choosing a location that is favourable to the majority of the team. 

4. Build remote work rituals 

Think about a typical workplace; each morning, the same people come in and chat over coffee, they go to lunch with their co-workers, and every time it’s someone’s birthday the kitchen is full of cake and balloons. 

The problem is rituals, no matter how big or small, are much harder to establish remotely, but these can play an important role in building company culture and creating a collaborative workforce. 

As such, you should try to encourage your team to nurture their own remote rituals, whether this is a virtual catch-up over coffee every morning, a team call on birthdays, or sending the aforementioned e-cards to celebrate big events and anniversaries.

Over time, these rituals can be a powerful driver of culture and a great way to bring your team closer together. 

5. Create an intentional communication strategy 

Communication amongst a remote team requires emails, phone calls, instant messaging, and video conferencing for effective collaboration. This means that having a communication strategy in place is crucial if you want to get the most from your team. This includes investing in the right tools. 

It’s a nice idea to get a clear communication plan in place as early as possible. One that teaches all remote workers how regularly they need to be checking in and the best ways to communicate depending on the subject matter. This includes things like daily or weekly team catch-ups, but we’ll look at this in more detail next. 

6. Schedule daily (or weekly) check-ins 

Although it might feel like overkill, daily check-ins, no matter how brief, can be extremely important to remote teams. Or, if not daily, then you should at least arrange weekly catch-ups for everyone to check in on their progress. 

Depending on the size of your teams, managers should check in with their direct reports each day and ensure teams can conference call once a week to recap on the week’s events and the latest projects.

Not only is this a good idea for encouraging collaboration and timekeeping, but it’s also important for team building and creating an inclusive and friendly culture amongst remote workers. 

7. Ensure all remote workers receive the same training and support 

When you work remotely, training processes can be a little bit different, but they are just as important as when you are working in an office. By offering every employee the same training, you can create a more unified workforce. 

This should include support on how to use vital communication tools and platforms, as well as advice on working remotely, how to take care of themselves, and plenty of information about the company and its missions, visions, and values. 

As such, it’s a good idea to make sure that every existing employee has had the same training and resources given to them and that any new employee receives the same as part of the onboarding process. 

8. Always focus on outcomes over activity 

Finally, despite the outdated thinking that still exists in some companies, it should never be about the amount of activity or input, but rather about the output and overall outcome. This is particularly true for remote teams. 

Clearly defining goals and end results then empowering employees to manage themselves is notoriously the best way to boost productivity and get results. 

After all, everyone is different and has a different working style. When you’re working remotely, micromanaging is harder and can be a lot more inconvenient for both parties. Therefore, trusting the workforce to choose the style that’s best for them and take ownership of their own projects and responsibilities is crucial. 

This has been proven to increase productivity and create an all-round happier workforce.

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