When working from home, it’s not as simple as tapping your co-worker on the shoulder to ask a question. You are instead often kilometres away from each other, linked only by your Wi-Fi router. So what does this mean for your ability to collaborate? Does it ultimately crumble? Not at all! Here are our suggestions on how you can continue to smash out your team goals, even when you’re not physically in the office:
1. Leverage collaboration tools
There are a multitude of collaboration tools out there that you can use to stay connected with your team. From Zoom for conference calls, to Microsoft Teams and Google Drive for collaborative work, there are plenty of platforms enabling you to work together. Programs such as Trello and Monday, are also great, as they simplify the project management process, allowing you to delegate responsibility to team members and set deadlines. They are great tools for establishing accountability amongst your team, ensuring everyone is across what they should be working on. Clarity is what you want.
2. Establish clear expectations
As a manager, you should be setting clear expectations for your team when it comes to remote work. Outline what you would like them to achieve for the day, week, month and check in with them regularly to see if you can offer any support as well as to see that they are on-track. You also want to ensure that everyone has a distinct role and is clear of this. There is nothing worse than having two people unknowingly working on the same task – talk about wasted time and effort!
Read our article on how to manage a remote team if you are looking for more tips on effectively communicating with your team.
3. Use video calling tools
Never underestimate the power a video call or even a regular call can have in achieving your best collaborative work. Sometimes you actually need to speak to someone to sort through issues rather than continue a 20-message-long email thread. This is a much more efficient way to clear up any confusion and to resolve any concerns about pressing tasks. It also adds a human element to the remote work sphere, which can boost morale amongst your team.
4. Check in
Regular communication is key. Check in with your team often, whether it’s a quick 5 minute call each morning to see what they are currently working on, or a group conference call where everyone has a chance to discuss their work in progress. Providing opportunities like these, remind your team that it is a group effort and that everyone is in it together. They are not working in isolation, but are working in collaboration towards a common goal. Sometimes, just hearing the progress that everyone else has made allows them to feel as though they are part of a bigger purpose and their efforts are contributing to achieving something worthwhile. This can be all the motivation needed to perform their best work.
5. Be responsive
When working remotely, you can’t just go over to someone’s desk to ask them a question. So, what happens when you need an answer to your problem right away? How do you manage this? As a leader, when working from home, it is important that you are still reachable by your team and are fairly responsive with your communication. You need to be present to provide guidance when necessary. This isn’t to say that all responsibility for communication should fall on you though. You should have the same expectation of your team, that they be responsive when working out of office. Remember, this only applies during business hours – you should never be available 24/7. Digital communication replaces verbal communication in the WFH landscape, so you, as well as your team, need to be prepared to be active across a number of channels, especially email, if you are to effectively collaborate.
6. Culture is key
You should live and breathe your company’s values. Although your team is working remotely, you still want to maintain the culture you are known for. This comes down to your people. Prioritising team bonding is key during this time. It’s a great idea to spend a few minutes catching up before starting formalities on a conference call, as well as using communication tools such as WhatsApp or Blink to stay in contact with your team on a social level. Your culture is built on your people. If you have a culture built on positive team relationships and collaboration, then taking this to the virtual sphere will be no problem!
If you are looking for digitially skilled candidates to join your team, get in contact with us at Talent today. Check out our tips and tricks for virtual onboarding here.