With the world becoming a global village, so many advancements have happened in the area of labor and productivity. One such improvement is the rise in remote working. Many people now prefer to work from home or remotely. Some examples of industries that have a high level of remote work are information technology companies, professional writers, and so on.
The changing nature of the work environment means that employers need to figure out how to reposition their company to flow with the tide. While the foundation of workplace best practices remains, there’s a need for vital adjustments to accommodate the rise in creating remote teams.
The good thing about leading remote teams is that you aren’t limited by location to get the best hands into your organization. You can source for talented and skilled folks anywhere in the world to be a part of your remote team.
On the flip side, the challenges that remote teams bring to the table are quite a handful. One major problem is creating and managing a high-performing remote team. Every business owner or company HR officer faces this challenge.
The truth is, it’s already a considerable challenge putting a physical team together to achieve great results. However, the problem is more when it involves remote teams. You have to deal with factors like differences in time zones, special working conditions, and communication barriers.
On the bright side, it’s possible to create and manage a high-performing remote team. Here are five ways you can achieve it.
Strategically Make Team Members Accountable.
The workplace has the best practices that everyone involved should follow. Moreso, the actions or inactions of team members have a ripple effect on the team and company. You must create an atmosphere of accountability.
Remote employees tend to relax and allow their assigned tasks to play second fiddle. They are at risk of being distracted from achieving the goals per time. The result is a lag that draws the team back.
To curb this, you need to find a way to instill accountability on the team. You can do this by putting everyone in the remote team on the same page. They should adequately understand the expectation you have of them.
Whether they are under the same roof or scattered across the world, the same accountability principle holds sway. Your remote team members need to know that they are responsible for delivering exceptional results for the team.
There are a few ways you can make your remote team accountable.
- Make it Clear What You Expect of Them. Doing this can be difficult, as some folks may misread it as rules. By the way, who says rules aren’t needed to put things in check? Firmly communicate what they need to achieve per time.
- Monitor Progress Regularly. You don’t have to wait till the deadline is so close before checking in on your remote team’s progress on a task. Remember, they aren’t physically present with you. So, you need this regular check-in.
- Manage Mistakes with Objectivity. Your remote team should be able to let you in early when something’s not right. That’s why you need to be courteous in dealing with mistakes. If someone on the team should bear the brunt, don’t leave them out in the cold all by themselves. Let them know that you got their back though they need to take responsibility for their actions.
Define the Roles Everyone Plays on the Team.
If it’s important to define roles for physical team members, then it’s more when you’re leading a remote team. This should be done from the get-go. As soon as you set your team up, let them know what you expect them to bring to the table.
It’s insane to expect high performance from a team that is not sure of what you need them to do. You can have the most talented and skilled professionals, smart business strategists, and all. If they don’t know the exact role they play on the team, you won’t get the best of their skills and talents.
While you paint the big picture for all team members, take the time to specify how every member contributes to the success of the team. Set before them a common goal and show them how they come in to achieve the goal.
In essence, there are two questions that you need to answer.
What is the common goal the team is expected to achieve? What are the individual roles of team members?
When you have this dialed in, your remote team will be highly productive.
Build a Bridge to Close Virtual Distance
One of the biggest challenges that affect remote team productivity is virtual distance. It has nothing to do with the fact that you’re working with people in different time zones. It’s more about forgetting that you’re dealing with real people that need to relate with you on a personal level.
Granted, you’re working with a remote team, and as such, you don’t get to make physical contact with them. However, you need to create a communication medium that helps your remote team relate to you as a person.
When you treat people as machines or robots, you get robotic results. They only give the barest minimum input to ensure that they complete their task and nothing more.
When the virtual distance gap is bridged, team members go above and beyond to give their best to help the team achieve desired goals. When they understand that they’re working for a human being with empathy and care, they perform at their optimum.
Most times, the negative outcomes you blame on geographical distance is misplaced. The reason for poor performance by your remote team could be as a result of the virtual distance you’ve created. Deal with it and watch a tremendous improvement in performance.
Make Use of Available Technology
One of the things that fostered the need to work from home is advancement in technology. The fact that people can use technology from anywhere in the world means they can work from anywhere in the world.
However, every company has a specific tech stack that helps them achieve their organizational goals. Every employee or team member needs to get the hang on these tech stacks for effective job delivery.
You must get your remote team to utilize available technology specific to your company to enhance performance.
Though utilizing technology is essential, how you use it is more important.
For instance, it’s better to use text-based technology to share necessary information like a daily task, progress report, or check-ins. When you need to carry out strategy sessions, voice or video-based technology delivers the best results.
Assure Remote Team Members of a Long-Term Working Relationship
It’s tempting to see your remote team as quickly dispensable because they can reach you physically. The same goes for members of a remote team. They feel that their place in the company is not as sure as to when they work physically.
Make it clear that they have the same rights and privileges as though they were working in the physical office. Knowing that their place is secured gives them a complete sense of belonging.
The result is a high-performing team.
It’s crystal clear that the biggest challenge of working with remote teams is getting them to perform at a high rate. However, you can surmount it with ease. Implementing these five strategies will help you create and manage a high-performing remote team.