Although there are several benefits to working remotely, there are some challenges as well—keeping team productivity and camaraderie high, for example. Business owners who are adapting to the “new normal” by having workers telecommute discover this fact quickly.
Maybe you’re allowing your staff to work from home while you slowly start to reopen your business. Perhaps you’ve seen the value of remote work and decided to make it an official policy. Whatever the case may be, it’s important that you take advantage of every opportunity to keep your team working as an efficient, unified group despite the distance.
With that in mind, here are some helpful tips on increasing team productivity and camaraderie when working remotely…
Keep Yourself and Your Team Motivated
One of the drawbacks of working from home is that it can be tough to stay motivated. After switching to remote work, it’s not uncommon to experience a slight decline in team productivity. Rest assured the issue can be resolved. It’s just a matter of helping your employees rediscover their drive so everyone can get back on track.
- Encourage employees to follow a set schedule (and lead by example).
Everyone should have a daily work schedule, regardless of where they’re actually working. Clocking in and out at the same time every day provides much-needed consistency. Further, it helps in staying motivated during the hours that have been designated as “work time.”
Remember that if you tell your employees to follow a set schedule, you should do the same. And don’t forget to take breaks throughout the day, as burnout is a very real thing…
- Invest in online training and development.
Many people thrive when they’re given the chance to learn and grow in a position. By investing in online training and development, you can motivate remote employees by offering them the chance to improve their skills. You can also motivate yourself by looking for ways to expand your own skill set!
- Take the time to recognize wins—big and small.
Recognition is one of the best motivational tools out there. That’s why it’s worth taking the time to acknowledge your team’s hard work and the wins you’ve achieved together. Whenever you’ve completed a project, reached a new goal, or received positive feedback from a customer, make your virtual team aware of it by sending out an email or instant message.
Ensure Everyone Is on the Same Page
Given how important team productivity is to the overall success of your company, making sure everyone is on the same page should be a top priority. It’s about working with your staff to guide your organization in the right direction. This can be tricky with a virtual team, but it’s not impossible.
- Keep the lines of communication open.
Open communication is a must for any team, but it’s especially important for a virtual one. When people aren’t working in the same building, it’s easy for messages to get jumbled and requests to go unanswered. That’s why you need to communicate with your team regularly and encourage them to reach out with any questions or concerns.
The good news is there are plenty of tools out there to make communication easy. We highlighted some of our favorites HERE.
- Utilize project management software.
Having a means of organizing projects is essential. Otherwise, you run the risk of priorities being misplaced and tasks going unfinished. By utilizing project management software, you can make sure your employees know exactly what they should be working on and when. It can also assist in forming a virtual assembly line, allowing your team to see how each piece fits into a larger project.
(In case you were wondering, those of us at Viral Solutions are big fans of Asana.)
- Set short-term and long-term goals.
Your team members need to know what they’re working toward if you want to take your business to the next level. By setting short-term goals, you can help remote employees stay on task and focus on what they should be doing now to achieve the long-term goals you have for the company. Note that you must make staff roles and expectations clear.
Put Effort into Building Relationships
Perhaps one of the biggest challenges that a remote working style poses is the struggle to form connections with others. When team members are all together in the same building, these connections develop naturally. However, this isn’t always the case when those in your organization are sprinkled throughout the city, state, country, or even world.
That’s why you need to put a little more effort into building relationships, fostering team camaraderie, and allowing your team to have fun.
- Consider hosting themed activities every week.
Hosting themed activities is a great way for members of your team to bond with one another. For example, you could implement “Music Monday” and ask those on your staff to share what songs are on their playlist that day. Or, you could have a “Spirit Day” and encourage everyone to wear clothing featuring their favorite sports team.
Get creative! Any opportunity for team members to get to know each other better is one worth exploring.
- Share articles and pictures others may enjoy.
Uploading interesting articles and funny pictures to a designated channel on your communication platform is another informal method of team bonding. It serves to make the work environment (even a remote one) more enjoyable, allowing your staff to have fun, unwind, and maybe even learn something new.
An additional benefit is that it can help reduce feelings of isolation that may occur when working remotely.
- Start each meeting with casual conversation.
Just because your virtual staff can’t hang out at the water cooler doesn’t mean small talk is impossible. You can (and should) take a few minutes to catch up with your employees by encouraging open discussion. Doing so allows those on your team to feel listened to and valued. Moreover, it can set an uplifting tone for the rest of the meeting.
Takeaway – Increasing Virtual Team Productivity and Camaraderie
The initial switch to remote work may require some adjustment. However, a virtual team can be just as effective in taking your organization to a new level of success. You simply have to focus on increasing team productivity and camaraderie, making sure you and your employees are working as a unit.
That means you need to…
- Keep yourself and your team motivated
- Ensure everyone is on the same page
- Put effort into building relationships
Although the logistics may be a little different, ultimately a virtual team is just that—a team.