Top 5 Tips for Successful Remote Teams
The impact of the Coronavirus has affected our everyday lives in many ways – including the way we conduct business. While this can be a challenge for many companies, PolSource has run a global organization with strong remote working models for years, and with that experience we’ve come to learn some best practices for working in remote teams. Below are our top 5 tips for successful remote teamwork – to help guide others to stay on track and succeed during this trying time for businesses worldwide:
1 – Set Clear Expectations: Prepare your team by setting them up for success. Make sure everyone is familiar with turnaround times, communication protocols and anything else aligned to project scope. Provide examples of what you expect to be done and share calendars to ensure all members are on the same page.
2 – Engage Regularly: It is vital for remote teams to engage regularly. Since you can’t simply walk down the hall to ask a coworker a question, you must create a routine (and stick to it!) to ensure communication stays open. Use daily stand-ups or regularly scheduled meetings to check-in with your team on task status, discuss any issues, and help everyone to feel included in project progress. Utilize collaborative tools like Chatter or Slack, with video conferencing like Zoom or Google Hangouts for real time communication, and platforms like Quip or Google Docs/Sheets for real time collaboration on work.
3 – Keep Up the Culture: Distance can make it harder to build company culture across a distributed team – but maintaining culture is vital to the success of any company. Make sure remote teams are aware of company core values, and instill them into all meetings and interactions. And just because you are remote, does not mean you can’t be social!Schedule conversational 1:1 connects, and try hosting virtual happy hours to boost morale and build relationships. Might we recommend a St. Paddy’s day celebration next week?
(Pictured above: PolSource employees enjoying themed virtual happy hours)
4 – Trust the Team: Set-up work-from-home guidelines that help folks minimize distractions such as kids, pets, chores and interruptions. Most importantly, focus on the metrics that matter. Objectives, outcomes and professional behaviors are the most critical factors – avoid worrying about traditional office rules such as the schedule someone works.
5 – Assume Good Intentions: When email is your main source of communication, you lack the context clues of tone, inflection and body language. This can lead to misinterpretation of meaning, as people tend to interpret messages differently depending on their mood or what they assume the writer means. You don’t have to add smiley faces to every message – but rather train the team to assume positive intent from the get-go.
BONUS TIP – Turn your cameras on!: Video meetings can help with all of the above mentioned tips. Video interactions are the next best thing to in-person ones, and will help with trust, engagement, accountability and to avoid misunderstandings from non-visual communications.
(Pictured above: One of the PolSource remote teams in action!)