Remote work was once a desirable office perk. Since 2010, however, the amount of people who work remotely at least once a week has grown by 400%. In the past few weeks, that number has skyrocketed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. While still tasked with the same responsibilities, workloads, and deliverables as before, remote teams also face their own unique set of challenges. A difference in schedules, work habits, and time zones can all cause difficulties among remote team members.
To effectively work remotely as a team, employees must be understanding, consistent, and motivated. However, we all know that motivation can ebb and flow. Fortunately, there are several ways to inspire your remote team to be productive and take on new challenges.
1. Check In Often
One of the most common challenges a remote team faces is the feeling of isolation and loneliness. This feeling is amplified when practicing social distancing. Working from home alone (or with kids) day-in and day-out isn’t the most conducive environment for productivity and creativity. As a result, employees can feel in a rut, or siloed from their teammates.
Make it a point to regularly check-in with your employees. This can be in the form of a chat message, or a phone call, but be sure to also incorporate face-to-face video meetings. Your co-workers and teams need to see you. The good news is video conferencing technology like GlobalMeet makes face-to-face conversations, regardless of location, easy.
Be sure that these check-ins are beyond shop talk. Ask how each person’s day is going, what you can do to help, and which resources they may need to stay motivated at home.
2. Encourage Clear and Casual Communication
When you don’t have a communal breakroom to chat in, casual banter gets pushed to the wayside. However, this is how employees connect with one another and bond as a team.
Set aside time each day to casually talk to a coworker. Catch up on each other’s lives and engage in non-work-related conversations for a refreshing change of pace. This little break in the day may be just what someone needs to keep their motivation going!
PGi, CMO, Mark Roberts ensures he is on video for every meeting. “I hear a lot of small talk that doesn’t feel small. People are sharing what it’s like working through this unique and scary time. They’re trying to remain optimistic and share hope and humor as much as possible.”
Additionally, encourage employees to use clear communication. When we can’t sit is a room together, communication errors can arise. Clear, written communication is key for remote teams to collaborate and produce results effectively.
3. Focus on Results, Not Micro-Managing
Remote teams need to trust that each member of the group is doing their part. Typically, it’s quite obvious when part of the team is achieving their goals while others are slacking.
To combat this, many remote teams go the unfortunate route of requiring their teams to track every moment of their day. This micromanagement approach creates anxious and alienated workers who won’t be able to produce their best work under such strict conditions.
Instead, focus on the results your employees are producing rather than what they’re doing every minute of the day. Doing so will inspire and motivate them to perform their best at all times while working from home.
In the end, remember this is a trying time for everyone, and your co-workers are feeling the pinch just as much as you are. So be patient and stay postive. Interested in new ways to connect as a remote team? PGi’s suite of collaboration and communication tools will help your team link up seamlessly from anywhere in the world.