Remote working is a reality for most businesses today. The technology exists to empower teams to be productive and connected wherever they are – working from home, in a remote office or even another country. These outposts need to be nurtured through. Helping them to be productive can also create improvements that make everyone work better
Technology is a big part of the success of any remote worker. Don’t rely on a user’s home office or their ability to purchase IT, make technology easy for your workers. This includes testing different platforms to ensure they can always sign-in to a meeting, collaborate on documents, see project progress, track billable hours, contribute to decision-making and get work done with minimal roadblocks. This will raise the standard of technology and processes in your primary workplaces too.
Comprehensive documentation is also key, especially for remote workers in different time zones. Your teams can’t just roll their chair up to a colleague and get a quick answer. Written documentation like wikis and intranets empower people to solve their own problems.
Communication is key to any workplace. Both managers and workers need to know what’s happening so encourage daily stand-ups as well as one-on-ones and regular meetings. A reliable video conferencing platform will serve this purpose well. Record and share clear meeting notes so that everyone is clear on their own and the team’s objectives.
Good communication policies also help keep your remote teams feel included, especially when decisions are made. This doesn’t mean they need to be involved in every decision; it just means they know that decisions have been made, how they were made and why. This helps them understand their place in the bigger picture.
Also, in a world of chat and email, it’s always good to assume positivity in every message. Emoji can help here. Also pushing out information across different channels so that everyone reads it no matter how they like to absorb information.
Workspaces should be a union of physical space with digital technology. So whether your teams are on-site, in the field, in a remote office or working from home, your workers will rely on the physical workplace in some way. For example, you may need temporary desk space for remote workers who work out of head office intermittently. Off-site workers may need reliable VPNs to connect with your business server. You’ll also need a technology infrastructure that helps you “dial in” your remote teams whenever and wherever needed.
Create an invigorating workspace experience for your remote teams by inviting them to head office every once and while so that they can connect with their colleagues. While it’s easy to use Zoom, Teams or Skype to have a “virtual coffee” it’s always better in person. You can even send your head office teams to remote locations to empower your remote teams to be play host while developing their ability to receive guests and run workshops.
Positive workplace culture is just as important for head office as it is for a satellite team as it is for a sole remote worker. Friday drinks, birthday cake day, incidental chit-chat – these are all key to strengthening relationships within your teams and building trust. And always fly your remote teams in for the Christmas party!