Here’s how you can stay connected to your team for remote work!

While the Coronavirus outbreak continues to spread, business organisations are feeling the pressure to make remote work arrangements for employees. For people who’ve been working virtually on a regular basis, this disruption may seem minor. For everyone else, it has been a difficult mountain to climb. According to a study in the United States, only about 30% of people are set up for remote work. As such, a lot of people have been facing disruption in efficiency and productivity.

If your organisation hasn’t ever embraced a work-from-home culture, the time is right to make a change. There are plenty of steps you can take to boost employee morale, while ensuring that deadlines are met and projects get delivered. While the kind of connectivity you notice would seem different, it will still be productive.

Communicate Often and Face-to-Face During Remote Work

While most people are in the habit of turning off their cams in virtual meetings, it’s not a good practice in the long run. Though you’d not be in the same place physically, a face-to-face meeting can do wonders in getting the message across. A large portion of communication is based on non-verbal cues and body language. Therefore, video goes a long way in ensuring the ‘right kind’ of connectivity.

Once your team starts indulging in face-to-face virtual meetings, it won’t take long before things get back to normal. Before you know it, everyone will be on the same page regarding the subject of discussion. While watching someone on the screen, it’s easier to build a solid rapport. Combined with tools like screen sharing and video calls, virtual meetings can replace a small conference room environment with ease.

Remote Work

It’s also necessary to encourage a weekly sprint, one-on-one communication, and coordination exercises to build employee morale. When everyone is able to see each other, it gives a sense of teamwork and community, allowing people to stay connected remotely on a personal level. 

Engage in Informal Chit-Chats

Human beings are emotional and social creatures. While it’s important to get work done and focus on results, overall success lies on your team’s ability to share ideas, trust each other, and collaborate. In order to build trust, your employees need to develop emotional connections. Afterall, we’re all humans!

Just because your team is working remotely doesn’t mean you need to skip on the informal chats and coffee breaks. Apart from spending time in virtual meetings, it’s important to have informal chats, get to know each other, clarify questions, and strengthen relationships. In the long run, it allows you to work better as a team, and promotes trust and credibility.

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In recent times, Hipchat and Slack have been exploding in terms of usage. They’ve been filling a gap that email services never could. Such tools can be effective in making announcements, asking quick questions, and building rapport among team members. It’s kind of similar to the ‘smoke break talks’ and ‘around the water filter chats’.

Define Metrics for Goals and Success

Confusion can lead to issues with deadlines and projects, especially when everyone in the team is working remotely. If unchecked, such issues can destroy efficiency and productivity. In order to avoid confusion, you need to define certain metrics around performance, goals, and success. It helps everyone organise the work in a better way. Well-defined metrics can help you measure the company’s growth, and provide everyone with a common path towards success.

Unfortunately, most metrics are focused on activities instead of outcomes. It’s important to come up with a common definition of how goals and success will be defined. With remote working, it gets difficult to keep track of everyone’s individual performance. Properly defined metrics help you solve this problem, and allow managers to ensure efficient tracking of KPIs and KRAs.

Be Responsive and Available

Last but not least, it’s important to be available and responsive. A natural benefit of working in a physical office space is that people feel like they can ask questions or favours from colleagues. While working remotely, a lot of people hesitate in approaching others for help. When you’re available and responsive, your team feels more connected, which in turn allows employees to reach out to you whenever required.

As someone managing a remote team, it depends on you to make everyone feel comfortable. It requires timely feedback, discussions around priorities, appreciation for employees, and several other things to help those in need. 

During this time of crises, you may have to sacrifice more than ever. However, in the long run, remote work can turn out to be a blessing for your company. It can help reduce infrastructure cost, paperwork, and lead to a healthier work environment. Moreover, once the tough phase is over, you could even recommend a coworking space to your employees, so they could stay connected with ample facilities.

With a wide range of tools and digital resources, it’s easier than ever to stay connected. While all of us practice social distancing, it doesn’t mean business continuity should take a hit. With these simple tips and strategies for remote work, you can get creative, and build a team that’s connected on a professional and personal level. 

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