While it is not something new for data entry companies and other organizations to assign projects to global teams in national and international locations, keeping them engaged and productive can be difficult. Also, lack of motivation may result in team members’ disengagement, low performance and attrition. Team leaders may have to deal with several workers from diverse nations who speak different languages, and navigate different time zones and working styles, which present numerous challenges. Having a virtual workspace is indeed a major attraction for outstanding talent. Remote workers also help businesses cut down a large chunk of office expenses, but getting the geographically separated team to work together demands considerable effort, dedication, and patience. Leaders of such global teams should also take efforts to reduce frustration among their remote workers, irrespective of their location.
How can employers make remote teams feel more connected and engaged? Here are some tips that could help.
- Plan and implement a good working schedule: Have a schedule that takes into account the employee’s autonomy. It is best not to micromanage because virtual team members should have a high degree of responsibility and self-awareness, which have been the main criteria in selecting them. Also, set clear expectations regarding when a situation demands an immediate connection.
- Tally with the time zones while scheduling meetings. Office managers are finding new ways to communicate with workers in different cities and in different time zones. Follow a standardized scheduling plan that works for the majority of remote workers in your organization. Create a schedule in advance and try following it. Shared calendaring applications such as Teamup Calendar and TimeTree can make scheduling meetings easier. Consider conducting periodic off-site meetings, as it can increase connection and collaboration, and if possible, try to arrange these meetings in different locations around the globe.
- Provide clear directions when assigning tasks – Without clear instructions, mistakes may naturally occur. While assigning tasks, provide an idea of what you expect from your employees, in terms of objectives and company goals. Also, check their productivity. If you notice that a remote worker performs better at a particular time, whether in the evening or morning, consider asking this employee to work at that particular time, while others can perform at any time without unnecessary restrictions.
- Consider better communication options – Communication is the biggest challenge when dealing with remote employees. Conducting regular meetings would help the task or project to progress much better. Maintain engagement among your remote team members, and video can provide a great personal experience of the team. Along with periodic off-site meetings, videos can help establish a strong connection among the team members. It is the employer’s /manager’s responsibility to ensure the participation of all members of the team. The focus must be on developing a clear set of standards that are agreed upon, bond the team together and also improve collaboration among the team members.
As frequent communication is crucial, try using the same instant message software or chat tool.
Tools like Slack, BizChat and Microsoft Lync are specifically designed for internal team communication. When it comes to Slack, the ability to create a Google Hangout from inside a chat room is one of its coolest and most useful features. It also has multiple channels for different topics of group conversations as well as one-one messaging which rules out all the confusion that email suffers from.
Employers can also encourage team members to share non-work-related communication. This can help breed a lighter and friendlier atmosphere.
- Foster a team culture: It is true that remote employees meet only online. However, it is important to breed a team culture. In other words, get the team to agree on common values, working style, and communication principles.
- Maximize the use of technology tools: Modern tools available include teleconferencing, file-sharing services, and online meetings. Make use of these to provide a better employee experience. Equip remote employees with all the resources necessary to do their job.
- Give due recognition to the efforts and achievements of your remote team: Reward your remote workers for their good work and effort taken. Ensure that other members of the organization are aware of the valuable contributions made by your remote workers. This can be easily and efficiently done by modern communication and collaboration tools.
- Help with time management: Since remote workers may engage in other tasks such as household chores, doctor appointments and so on, they may struggle with time management. Employers can provide tools and training that can help remote workers better manage their time. This will be noted as a caring action on the part of the management and also gives them the resources that help along their path to success. Asano and Trello are collaborative project management tools that are useful.
- Keep remote workers updated constantly: Since remote teams do not receive the same constant flow of information from supervisors as in a physical office environment, they have to be given continuous access to mission and vision statements, company performance details, project updates and other relevant things. Only this will help remote workers understand how they contribute to the organization’s overall success, which is very important to ensure a more engaged employee.
- Ensure a good feedback system: This is important from the point of view of making sure that there are no pending issues, ignored suggestions or frustrations.
- Meet your remote employees: When business leaders take the effort to meet their remote teams, it makes the teams feel particularly welcomed. It suggests to them that they are important for your organization and to you.
Technological advances have transformed the way organizations function. Remote employees are now very much part of the present day workplace. Virtual staffing services provided by professional firms are available to help businesses recruit talented workers globally. What is important is for managers to understand how to keep remote teams engaged and productive. Since every team is unique, leaders should adjust their strategies in keeping with their particular team and ensure that smooth and effective communication exists between them and the remote workers.