Mastering Remote Team Building
10 Steps for High Performance
Posted on April 19, 2023 by George Schoenstein
Building a high-performing team is never easy, but it's become even more challenging in the remote work era.
People log on from various locations and time zones, they have less face-to-face interaction, and their productivity isn't as easy to evaluate. A Microsoft study showed that while 87% of employees believe they're productive, 85% of managers find it difficult to be confident their workers are. In fact, only 12% fully trust that their team is consistently working at a high level.
However, with the right tools and tactics, managers can create a dynamic and collaborative environment even when their employees are scattered across the globe.
Here are 10 steps to building a remote team that delivers excellent results.
- Identify the right people.
Cultivating a successful remote team begins with finding talented job seekers with a proven track record of working away from the office. Look for self-starters who are meticulous and thorough and can complete short- and long-term assignments without constant supervision.
- Conduct virtual interviews.
It doesn't make sense to administer in-person interviews with candidates for remote positions. Instead, use video calls to assess their digital collaboration skills and closely examine how they interact with you. This will give you a better sense of how they fit into your team and whether they have the skills needed to thrive in that environment.
- Communicate clearly.
Outlining expectations helps remote workers stay on track and feel more engaged with the task and connected to their colleagues. Be direct and concise when discussing tasks to avoid confusion or uncertainty. Try to strike a balance between sharing what's needed and overcommunicating.
- Consolidate collaboration platforms.
Spreading work across multiple services, such as email, traditional calling, videoconferencing, and chat streams, leads to misunderstanding. However, using one platform, such as Microsoft Teams, provides a unified space for associates to work together effectively regardless of location. They can easily stay on top of discussions, share files, and collaborate seamlessly, leading to efficient workflows, fewer errors, and increased productivity.
- Implement training sessions.
To make sure everyone can fully leverage the platform, organize training sessions to go over lesser-known features that are particularly useful for remote workers, including planning functions that increase team-wide visibility and keep projects on track. Once all are on the same page and equipped with similar knowledge, communication and cooperation become smoother and more effective.
- Establish a strong blueprint.
Develop best practices, clarify expectations, and optimize the platform. This will help you significantly boost your team's ability to stay on track. Failure to do so may result in a lack of understanding and missed deadlines.
- Provide feedback.
Effective feedback is essential to foster inclusion. Establish a virtual open-door policy and facilitate regular check-ins that include personal connections. Make sure to create a clear performance evaluation system that is applied consistently to all team members. This will bring about trust and ensure everyone is held to the same fair standard.
- Encourage camaraderie.
Building cohesion and friendship can be difficult when your team is dispersed. Research from Owl Labs found that limited interactions while working remotely make it harder for 41% of employees to fit into their company's culture. Find ways for colleagues to build relationships with each other and treat remote workers the same as you would their in-office colleagues by stressing accountability and the importance of being a team player.
- Be mindful of workdays.
Logging on from outside the office can blur the lines between an employee's work life and personal life. Managers should reinforce their attempt to find a healthy work-life balance by agreeing to set clear boundaries and remaining flexible with their availability. It's essential to trust and empower employees to structure their time while providing the guidance and resources needed to help them remain productive.
- Emphasize team goals.
Remind team members that shared goals lead to individual success, regardless of where everyone works. Outcomes matter, but collective buy-in is equally crucial. By stressing responsibility and creating a supportive culture, leaders can help remote teams come together.
Adapting Collaboration for the Future
How we work together will likely change in the coming years as emerging technologies, such as the metaverse, are incorporated into our job responsibilities. That doesn't mean the most important means to achieving quality collaboration will change.
Although it may be more challenging than having everyone working out of the same office, you can build and manage a remote team that repeatedly delivers excellent results by identifying the right job candidates, nurturing an environment of accountability, and providing tools that offer transparency and optimize workflows.
Your ability to position your team members for success will determine how prepared they are to achieve it in the future.
— A version of this article originally appeared in CustomerThink.
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