Remote working is here to stay. Whether your team is fully remote or you have remote team members, there are key factors to consider to make sure that things continue to operate smoothly. The purpose of this blog is not to convince you to increase or decrease remote work at your organization, it is to share our top learnings from our careers, company, and customers. We will start with the key challenges of remote work then finish off with some solutions to those challenges.
Challenges arise from remote working when there is no central strategy. Have each department or team manage remote strategies independently is a recipe for disaster. Leadership needs to acknowledge the added challenges created by remote working and take a top-down approach to solve the challenges.
Remote Working Communication
Communication is a broad topic. This includes communication around deliverables, communication with management and leadership, interpersonal team communication, etc. Each type of communication whether it is across the organization, across departments or within teams is impacted by remote working. Without the right processes and tools there will be both over and under communication-based on what type of communication it is.
Employee engagement is key from a management, HR and leadership perspective. Making sure the employees feel engaged will determine how happy and productive they are. Finding a balance between giving people the space to do their job but making them feel included is always difficult.
Team members no longer have the same access to professional growth through networking. Relationship building across the organization also affects how employees work together and communicate. Networking needs to be organized, accessible and during work hours. It is an important part of culture building and needs to be redefined on remote teams.
Individuals who do not feel included or aligned with the company’s growth and success will suffer from isolation. This will negatively impact their communication, productivity, and happiness. It is easy to lose track of individuals when you are not in an office setting.
Reinforcing your team’s values, norms, and goals is always a challenge. Making sure that you continue to hire culture fits is also difficult when the whole team is not able to meet applicants in person.
Building meaningful relationships is more than working on deliverables and sending emails. Getting to know team members a little better on both a personal and professional basis. Finding time to do this while working remotely is tough as people are mixing their personal and professional lives and are working on the best schedule for them to be productive, which may not be 9-5.
With all of the time going into understanding remote teams and how to optimize them there are continually new tips and tricks. The key solution to remote team challenges is having leadership buy-in and create an organizational infrastructure that makes everyone equal, whether they are in an office or not.
Remote First Approach
A remote-first approach is key to having dispersed teams across offices and work from home locations. Having a standard that meets all of the requirements of your remote workers will ensure that everyone is following a consistent process no matter where they are. Managing one organization is difficult, trying to manage two different organizations in one makes things even more difficult. Solve this by creating a consistent organization that meets the needs of all employees at once.
Evaluate Remote Working Tools
You probably already have software fatigue, but don’t stop buying software quite yet. The wrong software will cost you money, waste your time, and distract your team. The right software will fill in the gaps to make your remote working processes run smoothly. Make sure that any software that you look at lets you do a solid test run and has the support needed to be successful.
Any tools or process that need to be manually managed by multiple team members is going to fail. People have enough on their plate, adding event management to their list of things to do will guarantee that new processes and tools will not be adopted. Implement things that are automated and will provide the right notifications to get your team motivated.
Hiring Remote Workers
With all the right processes and tools in place if you have the wrong people then it is not going to work. Finding team members that are the right culture fit and are experienced in working remotely will help you avoid many of the pitfalls. Fortunately, remote teams share many of the same challenges. Having experienced remote workers with the right personalities for remote work will go a long way in solving remote team challenges.
Relationship building, communication, and employee engagement are key challenges for remote teams. The best way to start improving these things is by getting people talking across your organization so that they are able to build the right relationships. This directly improves communication. Find ways to connect people and encourage them to interact on a more personal level. If you have hired the right people then they will be appreciative of the help.
Employees that work across an organization don’t have the same opportunity to get to know each other in the hallways, the water cooler, or around meetings. These opportunities to build meaningful professional relationships directly impact the way employees work together and communicate. ChatFox increases employee engagement by building more meaningful relationships across your organization, department, and team. We get the conversation started with Virtual Coffees, Icebreakers, ShoutOuts, and Birthdays. Unlike other employee engagement apps, ChatFox provides customizable chat cadences, custom Icebreaker questions, and custom ShoutOut skills within Slack to reinforce your organization’s values.conversation startersleadershipmanagementremote teamsremote workingworking remotely