Imagine being so used to working at the Office for years, then suddenly being compelled by the spread of the coronavirus to change how you earn a living. Usual workplace routines like commuting, walking to meetings, and having water cooler chats are all gone.
Your home has become your office nearly overnight.
Seasoned telecommuters shouldn’t have any problem with such a setup, but the novices in your now-Remote team will have to get used to a new normal when they make the shift. Here are a few productivity tips to help you and your new remote workers through this transition.
Track your team’s output
It’s so easy to slack off and procrastinate when we’re at home. That’s because we’re surrounded by distractions: kids, pets, significant others, video games, and the new Netflix show that’s just begging to be watched.
When we get distracted (and we inevitably will) our productivity suffers. To keep your team accountable, implement the use of time-tracking software, which would allow you to monitor their:
- Hours worked
Plus, time-tracking software comes with the ability to periodically take screenshots of one’s desktop. Such a feature would motivate your team to stay away from social media and various other websites that can distract them during work hours.
Set your work hours
Speaking of work hours, it’s best that you establish your team’s schedule. This will likely be based on your original office hours, enabling all members to collaborate in real time.
You can also allow others to follow different schedules, especially if their work requires it (e.g. dealing with colleagues from other parts of the globe).
Whatever schedule you decide, what’s important is that your team follows it without fail.
Go for video whenever possible
Video calls are important when working Remotely. Why? Because a large part of communication is non-verbal and everyone is missing out a lot if your team is limited to instant messaging, email or voice calls.
Without video, you won’t enjoy the benefit of meaningful details like eye contact, body language and facial expressions – all of which are important in building rapport.
At the traditional office, it’s easier to be more available for colleagues because everyone is physically there. But when working remotely, you have to make the extra effort to let colleagues know they can depend on you. Otherwise, it’s out of sight, out of mind.
To make up for this constraint, encourage your team to answer work-related emails and instant messages as soon as they can. Being responsive will build trust, especially now that the team is working remotely.
Use screen sharing
Sometimes, frequent video calls aren’t enough. When you’re collaborating with members of your remote team, you sometimes need them to see what you’re doing and vice versa. That’s where the need for screen sharing comes in.
Because sharing your screen is far more convenient than documenting every step in whatever process you’re doing, then adding a screenshot to illustrate each.
There are a couple of types of screen-sharing tools you can use:
- Programs that displays your desktop to others in the call (e.g. Google Meet, Skype Business)
- Programs that give users control of your computer remotely (e.g. TeamViewer)
Note that each type has different uses. For instance, if you need to onboard new hires, you can use a tool that shows them your desktop. On the other hand, if one of your members needs IT support, you can use a remote access tool to help them out.
Create a separate chat for sub-teams
If your remote team has sub-teams (e.g. SEO, recruitment, customer support), you should also create an open chat for each. This allows smaller groups to discuss more specific concerns instead of broadcasting everything to the entire team at large.
The approach is also useful if you have members located in different time zones. These members can leave messages in the sub-team chat they’re part of, and have others respond when they’re online.
Having an open chat room for each team enables each member to:
- Coordinate tasks specific to sub-teams;
- Talk about sub-team concerns;
- Feel connected to the team even if they’re several time zones away.
Tip: Open team-wide chats for miscellaneous topics like popular movies or sporting events. Such chats provide your remote team a virtual water cooler space where members can talk about things other than work and develop rapport among themselves.
Recognise jobs well done
Employee recognition is important, especially to remote teams. Out of sight, out of mind again applies here as well. Since you don’t see each other in a physical space working on something, it isn’t far-fetched to overlook accomplishments.
You can certainly avoid this by making a conscious effort to recognise achieving team members. Doing so makes members of your team happier and more engaged.
Here are some recognition ideas you can use to help satisfy your team’s psychological needs:
- Regularly give out awards to acknowledge individual or team achievements.
- During your remote employees’ special days, send them an appropriate e-greeting card (e.g. birthdays, anniversaries).
- Use a virtual bulletin board where members can share videos and photos of fun activities, announcements, commendations and other similar posts.
Pick a dedicated workspace
It’s tricky separating work life from home life; as a result, the two tend to overlap. For example:
- You’re done with work for the day, but you suddenly had an idea so you work more hours. Next thing you know, it’s already 3 am.
- You’re working on something important but keep getting distracted by members of your household. By the end of your schedule, you hardly got anything done.
Your team can avoid these situations by setting up a dedicated workspace to:
- Avoid distractions.
- Get into the proper work mindset.
- Make ending work easier (you just leave the workspace).
Expand your remote team
If you’re looking to grow your team with members who are ready to work remotely from the outset, partner with Remote Workmate. Unlike freelancing marketplaces where you do everything yourself, we handle all the heavy lifting for you, including processes like recruitment and payroll.
In fact, you can choose from our pool of notable candidates right away. Simply visit our Hotlist at: https://remoteworkmate.com/hotlist
You can browse a wide range of profiles on our Hotlist page. Once you find a qualified VA, simply fill out the form at the bottom of the page, and we’ll get in touch with you ASAP.