As of 2018, a study carried out by Switzerland-based serviced office provider IWG stated that 70% of the world’s population works remotely at least once a week. So, you can imagine what the numbers are now, while the world battles with an epidemic that requires social distancing. As more businesses cut back from physical office spaces, Remote work will only continue to gain momentum.
The teams that embrace remote work are able to expand their talent pool, build brand loyalty and provide attractive work arrangements. However, ditching the traditional office environment for remote work takes a bit of getting used to. This is because there are different sets of guiding principles, collaboration tools, and systems for accountability when it comes to working remotely. In this article, I will be sharing key tenets for a remote team that can help every team member develop healthy remote-working culture.
Create a Communicative Culture
When setting up principal working keys in a remote team, an effective and appropriate company Communication culture is one of the hardest to get right. By not approaching proactively, you set a work culture of isolation and lack of motivation. The solution here is to have a single system that can be your team’s authentic source for communication and encourages conversations to happen in the context of the work itself.
Therefore, a remote work team needs to start all projects with clear principles that can facilitate effective communication. Flexibility should also be considered, so if things are not working right, it is okay to tweak it and make a few changes. Additionally, all team members should be allowed to chip in. In this manner, they will be more likely to buy into the communication policies.
A remote team communication framework should include:
- The current project goals
- What deadlines you are working with
- How success is measured
- Expectations from the coming cycle
- What meetings are mandatory
- Expected online times and overlaps
- Work hours, etc
Create Written Records of Conversations
Most remote teams often face challenges when it comes to having accurate records of communication. Because information isn’t always distributed to the rest of the group collectively, thus leaving some parts of the team feeling a bit clueless. The solution to this challenge will be developing a good team key practice to keep written records of everything that has been said.
Records should include:
- Keeping minutes of meetings
- Summarizing important phone calls
- Listing important weekly events, etc
After gathering the record, it should be shared in an accessible format to all team members to read. This kind of practice ensures transparency, clarity, and provides a reference for further decision-making processes.
Set and Respect Boundaries
The lines between work and personal time can get blurry for remote workers. Ideally, everyone on the team ought to be aware that during working hours, they can communicate openly and positively with others via approved apps. Conversely they should also be aware they do not need to reply at unsociable hours. The time for their weekends or vacations will be respected with no pressure.
Furthermore, striking a delicate balance when it comes to the right amount of remote team communication can be tricky. You don’t want to have too much contact that makes the team feel swamped and overwhelmed. You also would not want too little contact that can lead to your team feeling isolated and unproductive. you need to strike the right balance between the two.
Another aspect of boundaries that is worth mentioning for remote works is a personal interruption on your work time. Since most remote workers work from home, sometimes family and friends don’t get that you need to work and then assume you are always available. What you need to do in a case like this is to set boundaries with them and explain your work schedule and availability to them.
Use Automation to Increase Efficiency
A major obstacle standing in the way of a remote team’s effectiveness is losing time to repetitive, manual tasks. This can easily be achieved with the help of automation.
By using the right automation tools, the entire process can be done without the need for human attention. Some useful remote tips you can use to streamline your work process by automation could include:
- Notifying your team of due dates and set up auto-reminders in Slack
- Automating and track all your news stories in a single place
- Creating a self-updating contact book
- Consolidating your marketing campaign analytics, etc
Make yourself visible at work
Which of the following is true of a traditional work environment? Being always visible and having your boss ask what you’re working on, having people drop by your desk for a quick chat, or running into the CEO for a quick elevator pitch. Whatever the answer might be, remote work teams have none of these luxuries.
Outside of the team’s virtual meetings, each member is reduced to a name on a sidebar in the team management software that you are using. However, a subtle but very effective way to remain visible even on a remote team is to keep your team in the loop. Let them know what you’re working on. Most often, your teammates or team leader gets caught up in their day-to-day tasks. So it now falls on you to keep them updated about your current tasks. Make sure your reports are well written and informative. You can use professional writing services review websites like Pick The Writer or Writing Judge to help you with this process.
Another form of visibility is responding to tasks and messages as quickly as possible. However, this does not mean you should be available even during personal time, but a quick response is an excellent way for your team to know you are hands-on. Also, feedback on your work is another form of visibility. Although it can be tougher to come by for remote workers because you have to request for it, what you should do is to ask for feedback early and often.
Carry Out Post-Mortems on Key Projects
If you are looking for a secret weapon to a highly effective remote team, a post-mortem is a way to go. How do you complete projects and set the tone to do better on the next project? Simple, by carrying out a post-mortem on crucial projects. In essence, a post-mortem is detailing a project assessment from start to finish to enable the team to assess how it went and what needs to be done differently on the next project.
Also, a post-mortem directly addresses the most significant challenge with remote work, such as communication and documentation. Since remote teams do not have the luxury of having hallway conversations, post-mortems help aid better communication and documentation.
In remote teams, it is prevalent for a teammate to work on something another teammate has worked on without realizing it. Or, carry out a task that was not within your purview. The fact is that things can get lost in translation, so it becomes very crucial that everyone is crystal clear as to their responsibilities.
The confusion comes in when many unnecessary meetings are happening, emails are flying around, and lots of questions are being asked repetitively. It could be an indication that responsibilities aren’t clear to team members. The solution to this is to start by defining responsibilities on a project. Explain the duties explicitly and then share them with the team. When it is documented, there is less confusion. Plus, it also saves time.
Additionally, if you are not clear on your responsibilities, ensure that you ask. Reach out to the team lead and get clarifications on what’s expected of you. As for the team leads, also check in on your team to ensure everyone has a clear understanding of what is required of them to do.
Working remotely can be a challenging task for all members on the project, from the employees, management, IT, and right down to the HR. These challenges arise due to flaws in communication and work culture that does not serve us well when it comes to creativity, focus, input, and output.
The solution is to apply key principles for working with remote co-workers. These principles and best practices are bound to result in healthier communication and operating efficiency with your team. It gives your business an excellent competitive advantage while building a formidable work team with the most skilled minds, irrespective of their location.
Author Bio: Anna is a specialist in different types of writing. She graduated from the Interpreters Department, but creative writing became her favorite type of work. Now she improves her skills while working as a freelance writer for Pick The Writer, Writing Judge to assist a lot of students all over the world and has free time for other work, as well. Always she does her best in the posts and articles.
Thank you for reading this,before you go
Clap: if you enjoyed reading this article, so others can find it
Comment: if you have a question/suggestion you’d like to ask
Follow: ProofHub to read all the articles
- Why Remote Work Is Growing (And How To Be A Part Of It)
- New to Remote Work? 10 Tips and Some Tools to Fast-Track Your Company to the New Normal
- 3 Flawless Tips & Some Tools for Team Leads to Manage Remote Workers
Key Principles to Work in a Remote Team for Every Member was originally published in ProofHub Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.