If you're like many professionals, you may suddenly find yourself working from home or managing a remote team. This can be a learning process for everyone. Figuring out how to stay on task, on schedule, focused, and connected when working remotely can take some time. If you find yourself managing a remote team, consider these six tips to improve remote team productivity and communication.
Use a Collaboration Platform
Working in the same physical space helps with time management and collaboration. When everyone is in the same place, emails and phone calls may be enough to keep everyone connected and on task. However, when your team is spread out across multiple locations, your communication and project management need processes to be more intentional.
Consider using an online collaboration platform that can keep all of your projects and teams on the same page. This makes it easy to track progress, communicate with your teams, set goals and deadlines, and answer questions in one place instead of tracking down various emails or messages across different platforms.
Check out our blog post on the Top Remote Collaboration Tools for suggestions.
Productive Virtual Meetings
Virtual meetings can be a great way to stay connected when your team can't be together, but they run a little differently than traditional meetings. To run a productive virtual meeting:
- Use a waiting room. This helps you control who is in which meeting space and helps to avoid people randomly popping into your meetings.
- Dress to impress. Even though you can work from home in your pajamas doesn't mean you should. Get dressed like you're going into work. Doing this will help you shift your mindset into work mode and prepare you for a video call with your team and clients throughout the day.
- Mute yourself if you aren't talking. Background noise can be distracting during a virtual meeting. If you aren't talking, mute yourself so others can talk without hearing the music you are playing, your dog barking, or the sound of your dryer in the background.
- Record the meetings. Recording the sessions can be a helpful way to go back and revisit some of the issues and questions brought up during the meeting. Recorded conferences can also be shared with those who could not attend and saved for future reference.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Make sure you choose to set up your computer in a neutral and non-distracting area in your home. In front of a blank wall, in an organized office, or at the kitchen table are good options.
- Look into the camera. Your audience can tell if you are looking into the camera or at yourself on the screen. For a more professional meeting experience, look into the camera to connect with your team.
Check In Without Being Overbearing
Since you see less of your team when they're working remotely, it can be harder to track their progress. When working remotely, you may be tempted to check in more often or provide more detailed instructions. While that can be helpful, it’s important to find ways to manage your team's progress without wasting time micromanaging them. Daily check-ins with your team can be a simple way to monitor their progress, set goals, and offer feedback when needed.
Be Flexible & Patient
Working remotely may require an adjustment period, especially for those who are used to working in an office or specific on-site location. Getting used to conducting meetings virtually, understanding new technology, and learning to adjust to a work-life balance will take some getting used to. This means patience and flexibility are vital in keeping company morale up and increasing productivity. Embrace new strategies and procedures and be open-minded to try new things.
Your team will fall into a groove, but it can take time. Communicate to your team that this new work model is a new adventure for everyone, and your understanding can help your team adjust quickly. Be sure to also provide all the necessary training for any new tools your team will use for working together remotely.
Streamline & Restructure
If your team is working remotely for the first time, you may have to spend some time adjusting your current processes and procedures. Methods that work in the office may not make sense when working remotely. Get feedback from your team about how you can streamline and restructure some of the current tasks to make more sense for this new work style.
Restructuring the workday may make more sense for your remote team. For instance, maybe client phone calls are better moved to the afternoon, or your traditional lunchtime meetings could take place earlier in the day. Being open to restructuring your day will increase productivity and maximize work time.
Maximize Your Mornings
If working from home is new for you and your team, it can be tempting to relax a bit on your routine. But maximizing your mornings can be the key to improving your team's productivity. As the leader of your team, it is important to optimize your morning time to help you prepare for a successful day.
Getting up at your regular time, even if you aren't going into the office, sets you up for a successful day and allows you to get a productive start. Encourage your team to maximize their mornings as well. You can do this by scheduling a check-in meeting first thing in the morning or requiring that your team submit their goals and plans for the day before 9 am. When your mornings are productive, the rest of your day will follow suit.
Device Magic + Remote Teams = Increased Productivity
With a little innovation and patience, you can find ways to improve remote team productivity. Device Magic allows you to create and complete custom forms, then share important data with your team no matter where they are.
Use the Device Magic custom form builder to create forms and documents that are easy to send to your team and integrate seamlessly into the business platforms you are already using. Using Mobile Forms is also a great way to take a step toward sustainability by helping your remote teams go paperless.
Take the first step to improving the productivity of your remote teams. Start your free account today.