In this day and age, where pretty much everyone owns some form of device and has access to both Wi-Fi and the cloud, businesses are no longer restricted to operating within the four walls of an office space. Working remotely can be massively beneficial as it will help your employees to focus on maintaining a work-life balance, which is ultimately good for business and what’s more, your business will save a lot of money on rent and utilities. However, if you want to establish a successful remote workforce, it’s vital that you maintain communication and relationships with your staff.
Why is it Important?
It’s been scientifically proven that there is a direct correlation between the strength of workplace relationships and the productivity of the team. Having a remote workforce doesn’t make this fact any less true or relevant. When your team feels as though they have a good relationship with you, their boss or manager, they are much more likely to feel loyal towards your business and will take a greater level of pride in their work.
Opt for Video Calls Rather than Text Only
When working remotely, it’s vital that you still get some ‘face to face’ interaction with your team and clients using tools like Zoom or Skype. When talking via work chat, slack or email, you tend to only focus on the issue at hand, and all of the friendliness and spontaneity of those regular office conversations is lost. As a result, you can end up with clients or a team that feel a bit disconnected from you as a leader. In fact, according to Forbes, video conferencing is proven to be one of the most effective tools when “strengthening employee morale in an uncertain time”.
Consistency is Key
Just because you and your team are working remotely doesn’t mean you don’t have to be consistently interacting and communicating. In fact, that’s exactly what you should be doing. In the case of your employees, a lack of communication may lead to them feeling lost or off-track, which will inevitably lead to a lack of cohesion within your staff and business. In terms of your clients, communication is essential no matter where you’re working from. People will always value a service provider or company that can be easily reached rather than someone who doesn’t answer their phone for a week.
We suggest doing weekly check-ins with your clients when you haven’t heard from them, that way they know that they are valued. Also, having a quick daily conference call with your team is the perfect way to encourage team members to raise important points, ask any questions and you can also make announcements and ensure everyone is on the same page.
Have Set Work Hours
While working from home may allow you and your team to have a more flexible schedule, both your team and clients should be able to rely on you. If you’re constantly away from your desk or unavailable, your team and customers will become frustrated and feel disconnected, which could lead to a downturn in your workplace relationships. Establish set hours each day where you will be available for questions, meetings, phone calls and appointments, should it be necessary. If you’re going to be unavailable for an hour because you’re running errands or having lunch, then simply notify your team and let them know when you’ll be back, that way they won’t feel like they’ve been left hanging.
Make Time for Team Bonding
When working from home, it’s especially important to carve out time for socialising and non-work related activities. We recommend that you try to do these activities in person, but if you’re restricted by geographical location or other circumstances, you can opt for a Zoom quiz where one team member writes the questions and acts as the quizmaster, and everyone else participates. This is a great option for the end of the working day on a Friday, giving your staff a chance to virtually cheers a glass of wine or a beer. Otherwise, you can organise a picnic in the park, drinks in the pub or perhaps get adventurous with a scavenger hunt or escape room. Activities like this are massively beneficial when it comes to developing a more human element to your relationships with your staff, and you’ll find that the team members will become more collaborative and cohesive with one another which ultimately leads to a boosted team morale.
Aside from day to day runnings of a remote team, it’s also crucial that you consider the ways in which it will impact the new members of staff that you bring on board. It’s crucial that you establish a connection with any new hires from the beginning, as feelings of confusion or disconnectedness will prevent them from fulfilling their full potential in their role and therefore could end up holding the team back. It’s crucial that you clearly define your new team member’s role and outline what is and isn’t expected of them. Also, processes are often essential to successful remote working so make sure each new person is thoroughly trained in any programs or systems that you use.
Besides the technical aspects of onboarding, it’s important to let new staff members know that they’re part of the team. Organise one of the team bonding activities that we talked about above so that everyone can get to know their teammates on a human level and not just through a computer screen.
Both MyWorkPlan and the WorkPlan Business Workshops are excellent tools for successful and effective remote working and management. Our tools are designed to bring everyone together by helping team members collaborate and learn from one another. To get a free trial and discover how WorkPlan can transform your business, get in touch with us today!
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