If the pandemic has shown us anything, it’s that remote working is more practical than we previously thought. But before you take your team into a 100 percent virtual environment, it’s smart to come up with a plan that ensures everything runs as smoothly as possible.
Typical Problems With Remote Teamsa
Managing any team has its challenges. But when you transition from working in the same physical office space to a virtual environment, it can be a little discombobulating. While it takes everyone a little while to get used to the new way of doing things, you want to avoid letting these issues linger:
5 Ways to Reduce and Eliminate Friction
It’s totally normal to face these points of friction. However, the sooner you can smooth them over, the better. Here are a few tried and true strategies that work for remote teams of all sizes:
1. Develop a Virtual Hub
When a team works out of a physical office space, there are natural areas for congregating. Whether it’s a lobby, breakroom, patio, or the proverbial water cooler, there are spaces where people come together to chat and collaborate. Then you have conference rooms and additional areas to work on projects. It all feels very natural.
When you go virtual, much of this cohesiveness gets lost. There’s no “home base” for the company. Is it the website? Email? Group SMS threads? If people are everywhere, they’re nowhere in particular. There has to be some centralization.
One of the best ways to bring people together in a virtual environment is by developing a virtual hub or digital workplace solution. While you can certainly create your own, it’s expensive and unnecessary. Instead, we recommend working with a pre-built platform that can be effortlessly plugged into your virtual tech stack.
Happeo is one of the best digital workplace solutions on the market. It allows you to unite all of your people, content, and tools into a single user-friendly digital platform. By establishing a virtual home base, you instantly improve employee experience, enhance collaboration, and eliminate costly points of confusion.
2. Select an Alternative to Email
Email is fine for outward-facing communication. When used as a marketing tool, it actually provides one of the best rates of return of any channel. But when it comes to internal communication, email is abysmal. It’s slow, non-responsive, and easy to ignore. You need something much faster and more efficient.
For starters, if you have a digital workplace solution, there will almost always be some sort of chat feature built in. Take advantage of this. But if you choose to go another route, you can always utilize a standalone chat app like Slack.
Whichever route you go, you’ll find that this style of communication is much faster than email. It also cuts through the noise and keeps your team away from their inboxes (which are highly distracting).
3. Create Rules of Engagement
It’s often the little things that lead virtual teams astray. Once you figure out the proper tool stack and establish the correct solutions for organizing your digital footprint and creating the right communication channels, you have to get clear on how your team interacts in this new virtual environment.
Start by developing a common vocabulary. If you’re using an acronym, make sure everyone understands exactly what that acronym is. If you have a particular file storage system with main folders and subfolders, record a short screenshare video where you walk people through the hierarchy, how to name files, where to store different types of files, etc.
You never want productivity to suffer because of confusion. So in addition to simplifying processes and being clear on the front end, make sure your team feels empowered to ask questions any time there’s confusion. Create a culture where people are celebrated for seeking answers and feedback. Encourage and model the fact that there are “no dumb questions.”
4. Prioritize Security
Cybersecurity becomes even more challenging as you transition away from a centralized location and fragment across different devices and networks. For the sake of your business, you need a very intentional security strategy. Here are a few tips:
Implement as many of these safeguards and best practices as possible. It might feel like overkill, but it’s vitally important to your long-term success and stability as a remote team.
5. Find Ways to Bond
From a practical perspective, you have to find ways to come together and bond as a team. It’ll look different than if you were hanging out in person, but it’s equally important. There are plenty of ideas for inspiration if you look around online. A monthly Zoom call where you gather for drinks and games is a good start.
Set Your Team Up for Remote Success
Want your remote team to be successful? Eliminate unnecessary friction so that individual team members can focus on fulfilling the duties and tasks they’re responsible for. Efficiency and accuracy are necessary if you’re going to mature into a successful remote team.