What Makes Remote Teams Work? These 3 Things!
March 19, 2020
Remote work isn’t the future of work – it’s the present. We see it every day because we work a lot with remote teams. After all, our CEO Tara Powers literally wrote the book on virtual team effectiveness (Virtual Teams for Dummies).
We believe the future of work is a virtual model. As we reported in a recent blog post, workplace flexibility is no longer a reward: it’s a mandate. The emerging on-demand model allows people to figure out how, when and where they can do their work.
But we still see virtual teams struggling to come together. So we’re passing our learning and experience on to you! There are three essential factors to making remote teams highly effective – technology, communication and connection.
- Technology – Remote teams don’t run on email and conference calls alone. Highly effective remote teams need to leverage all the technology tools available. For example, collaboration software, shared calendars, file sharing, video conferencing, chat tools and brainstorming. New solutions are developed every day – choose the tools that serve your teams’ needs.
TECH PRO TIPS:
- Cameras are always on for meetings
- Try whiteboards and brainstorming tools to capture and share notes
- Use instant polling during meetings
- Keep chat tools open throughout the day for check-ins and quick questions
- Communication – When you communicate primarily via screens, over-communication is the rule for remote teams. Leave no doubt about your message intention. Even if it seems basic, spell it out. Ways to keep communication crystal clear – email, chat, phone video, emojis, team charters, team agreements and rules on goals and expectations.
COMMUNICATION PRO TIPS:
- Set the expectation that everyone speaks and contributes in meetings
- On calls, speak clearly, concisely, slowly and don’t interrupt
- Non-verbal communication matters. Pay close attention to your eye contact, body language, facial expressions and tone of voice.
- Connection – Don’t let distance and technology create detachment. Work to create conscious and intentional human connection with your team. For example. Host virtual happy hours, lunch & learns, house tours, liberal use of social media, create ‘just for fun’ channels on hobbies and shared interests.
CONNECTION PRO TIPS:
- Allow time at the top of meetings for catching up and non-work banter
- Budget to get together IRL twice a year
- Create a culture where it’s safe to share failures, missteps and knowledge gaps
- Don’t isolate! Plan to be in contact multiple times a day with team members
We created a fun infographic to help you and your virtual team stay on top of these issues. Click here to download today!