The technology of today is helping simplify remote work, making it more popular than ever before. A flexible workforce not only allows staff to choose where to work, but it also provides business owners with the opportunity to find talent from anywhere in the world.
There can, however, be a downside to this flexibility. If your employees are in different locations, time zones and countries, getting them to work together effectively is not always easy.
Here are five strategies to help business professionals improve their remote collaboration:
- Track deadlines with software
Project management software, including Jira, Trello and Backlog, helps staff stay on track and builds work efficiency. The various platforms let you break down projects into individual tasks and milestones, assign responsibilities to employees and see staff availability. Using the technology available, remote employees can also ask questions and voice concerns about their work. You can also track who has access to different company resources, such as business credit cards. That way, there is transparency regarding everyone's work.
- Agree on how to communicate
When everyone is in the office, employees know when and where to reach each other. But communication expectations are less clear when employees are on different schedules, especially since people have different communication styles. Some people consistently check their email and chat apps. Others may be too focused on their work, so they reply sporadically.
Set clear expectations for how your staff should communicate to prevent misunderstandings. Your employees can't collaborate if they aren't communicating effectively.
- Use the cloud
Cloud software becomes almost a necessity when you've got workers offsite. Cloud software like Google Drive or Dropbox helps your employees to transfer files, work together on the same document, and ensure their updates go through automatically.
- Consider video chat
If you only communicate by email or chat, you can lose the connection.
Programs like Zoom and Skype offer group video conferencing so that everyone can see each other. You could also set up screens with a camera in your conference rooms.
- Awards and celebrations
To build camaraderie with your remote employees, schedule events where they get together for something not work-related. For example, you can set up a video session where employees can enjoy getting to know each other. Also, don't forget to recognise great work from your remote staff, through prizes or praise. Gift cards, awards and other small employee appreciation ideas can mean the world to your remote workers and cost little out of your cash flow.
To ensure a successful and cohesive workforce, remote employees need clear goals, good communication and transparency. They also need to feel part of the wider team.
These five strategies can help your business create a productive environment for all your employees - in the office and out.