How to Maintain Productivity with a Dispersed Group

With the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic leading to government-imposed stay-at-home directives, firms faced the challenge of finding ways to operate amidst limited physical interactions. In response, many industries resorted to remote teams to remain functional, while others devised bespoke alternatives.

Remote working was a new and untested idea for many firms, and it came with its fair share of obstacles and uncertainties. Unsurprisingly, managers are gravely concerned about maintaining productivity levels while managing remote teams, and this anxiety can be quite distressing.

Individuals who have prior hands-on experience working within geographically-distributed teams may have concerns regarding the effectiveness of such setups. Despite these reservations, there is ample evidence to support the success of firms that have already espoused the concept of a remote working plan. Studies have highlighted that working from home can boost productivity, and surveys indicate that the majority of staff members prefer this arrangement.

In the aftermath of the pandemic, organisations may consider remote working to be a viable and constructive replacement for the traditional in-house workplace. Provided that firms are willing to implement three crucial strategies necessary for maximising efficiency within a remote working context, this perspective is expected to hold true.

1. Maintaining transparent communication is fundamental to building and sustaining relationships.

Despite the age of globalisation, it is noteworthy that communication remains one of the biggest obstacles we have to contend with. Companies that are new to exploring the possibilities of telecommuting must pay heed to this challenge. It is typical for teams working in close proximity, within the same office, to instinctively turn to any team member for additional discourse on any matter, including following up on virtual communication like emails and direct messages.

When operating remotely, team members have to rely on whatever means of communication they have at their disposal, in place of being physically present in the same workspace. This can be a daunting prospect, especially for businesses that are fresh to working with geographically-distributed teams. It is imperative to craft a strong communication plan to ensure that all individuals feel involved and informed. To manage remote squads effectively, firms must put communication at the heart of their strategy.

Apart from using video and calling applications like Skype, Google Hangouts and Zoom, it is crucial to ensure that all team conversations are accurately documented. This is to prevent any important information from slipping through the cracks. Regardless of the method used, whether by emailing minutes of meetings, via a project management system like Jira, or by using a communication platform like Slack, keeping reliable records of all discussions is paramount.

Consistent communication with remote employees can be achieved by adopting a redundant method. It is vital to document all pertinent details even if you think that every member is already informed. This approach of over-communicating might seem unnecessary, but it is a dependable way to establish a robust communication system while working remotely.

2. Be flexible and allow for some margin of error.

In a traditional office setup, two factors contribute to shaping working habits. Firstly, the organisation establishes the parameters of working hours, supplies the necessary equipment, and monitors staff performance. Secondly, each individual worker incorporates their own routines to enhance their productivity. However, when working remote, these elements cease to exist.

Getting started with remote work can be challenging due to the potential interruption of your typical work tactics and procedures. This can create several problems, ranging from employees struggling to achieve a healthy work-life balance to supervisors becoming excessively controlling of their staff. Ultimately, this can adversely affect morale and efficiency. Therefore, it is crucial to be adaptable when faced with new situations.

It is crucial to be transparent and candid about any challenges that may surface when switching to remote work, especially during the early stages. These challenges could range from restricted internet access to the need to care for children. Encouraging flexibility in your firm does not necessitate going to extremes. Instead, it entails granting your employees the flexibility to experiment with various approaches until they discover the most effective solution for their circumstances.

Adopting a broad-minded approach towards individuals is vital, but this malleability should extend to the work itself. Acknowledging that working remotely affords lesser control than a traditional office setup, focusing on your targets rather than the duration spent working is preferable. Furthermore, the conventional method of gauging progress by quantifying the number of hours spent on each task is no longer adequate; alternative ways of tracking progress need to be devised.

Therefore, it may become necessary to increase the frequency of meetings, implement a ticketing system to deal with issues, modify your overarching strategy, or create fresh key performance indicators. Do not fret. These are all positive changes since effective remote work demands adherence to its distinct set of rules.

3. Prioritize spending time with loved ones.

In many workplaces, staff members are encouraged to engage in more than just day-to-day conversations with their colleagues. Collaborating as a team can foster a sense of camaraderie, prompting “watercooler chats” or socialising after work at a nearby pub. Unfortunately, this spirit of togetherness is lost when working from home, which has become increasingly common during the COVID-19 pandemic. Relying on communication methods such as email and instant messaging to keep in touch with co-workers can negatively impact the emotional quality of such interactions, as well as stifle employees’ ability to be spontaneous and creative in their thinking.

Working remotely does not have to imply a lack of team spirit and engagement. Sustaining high morale and involvement is essential for all teams, whether they are remote or not. While it is true that social activities such as karaoke nights at a local bar cannot be replicated online, there are still plenty of ways to foster camaraderie among team members outside of work. For instance, participating in virtual meetups to discuss latest movies or play online multiplayer games, or just having a virtual happy hour. These activities can help forge bonds and promote solidarity among employees.

The existence of diverse communication tools enables colleagues to remain connected and serves as a reminder that emails are received and read by actual people. This can foster empathy among employees and potentially spark new, mutually beneficial ways of interacting with each other, both professionally and personally. Having opportunities to communicate with others can tremendously enhance the work environment, making it feel like more than just a job but a meaningful contribution.

Embrace the Proven Model of Tomorrow Today

Since our establishment, Works has been committed to implementing remote teams, which has played a vital role in propelling us to become a leading company in our industry. We attribute our success to the advantages of remote work, such as the capability to collaborate with the top talent irrespective of their location, the enhancement of our corporate culture, the heightened productivity that remote work facilitates, and our ability to adapt to the evolving work environment of today.

After a long period of experimentation, we have reached the conclusion that remote work is a productive method of conducting business. However, there are multiple challenges to be addressed when transitioning to remote work. We want to emphasise that this change should not be viewed as a negative experience. Rather, we encourage you to embrace the inherent benefits of remote collaboration, adapt to this new way of operating, and assess its positive impact on your productivity.

It’s impossible to say for certain. You might decide to persist with remote teams even after the pandemic has subsided.

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