The information age has created a new shift in how people work. Before, millions of people had to make their way to the long-established “office” every day, from Monday-Friday, 9-6. Now, because of the invention of smartphones, laptops, and faster home internet connections, a growing number of people now telecommute to work. As remote work becomes increasingly more commonplace, more businesses are forming teams across states and countries. However, as the remote workforce grows, there are a few challenges that begin to pop up from not working in a traditional office setting.
Things like productivity, time management skills, and lack of social interaction become problems. If you have cultivated a strong remote workforce and want to ensure that they can keep up from remote locations, then read on to learn how to keep remote teams connected.
1. Work from the cloud
Cloud technology allows all of your employees and managers the opportunity to access a variety of tools, share content, and collaborate in real time. The Cloud can also send updates out to your team, set reminders, and list tasks.
2. Social Media
Social media networking sites offer your team the chance to show off their creativity and collaborate effectively. You can find a whole list of niche social media networking sites you might not know about that offer places for your team to show their work and chat. Social media is an excellent tool for groups that are working all over the world as well because it allows them to maintain contact despite their various locations.
3. Virtual phone numbers
If your team is working remotely, consider getting virtual phone numbers to keep your team connected. Virtual phone numbers come with a variety of features and do not work on one specific phone line. Therefore, if you are dealing with similar clients, you can provide one virtual phone number for them to call and you can then have the call forwarded to an available person on the team. This is especially important for employees working from different states or countries because virtual phone lines can be local and therefore callers will not have to pay a hefty international fee to make a business call.
4. Plan get-togethers as often as possible
Meeting in person from time-to-time if your resources allow you to is the best way to get a bunch of employees to work as a team. Whenever possible, bring everyone together for a face-to-face meeting. It doesn’t have to be all business either; plan special outings together like an annual trip or a bonding expedition.
5. Train your team in time management
It is vital that your remote team is working in an organized way and consistently meeting or exceeding expectations. If possible, set up an opportunity for your remote team to take part in a time management training session to learn tips on how to organize and plan out their work days. You shouldn’t assume that just because someone is right for the job they are good at time management. And for employees who have mastered managing time, it wouldn’t hurt to participate as they may have the opportunity to learn new tips and tricks to make them even better at what they do.
6. Check-ins and using technology to interact socially
Set a time to check in with your remote employees, whether that is a daily, weekly, or monthly phone call. You can also keep in constant contact through email or GChat. When you have to schedule meetings, and some workers cannot travel to the location, be sure to set up a video conferencing call so your remote employees can feel as if they are in the same room.
7. Check on your management regularly
Managing a remote team comes with its own set of issues. It is essential that the manager of a remote unit has a trusted relationship with its employees, which can be hard to cultivate when they do not work in close proximity to one another. The best way for a manager to keep their long-distance relationships strong is to train your managers on the many tools available for remote working, such as being able to connect through virtual phone numbers and video conferencing. A manager should also be in charge of setting up digital networks, as this can help employees bond with one another over personal stories and sharing fun memes. It may not seem like remote workers need this kind of connection with their coworkers, but a good relationship with management and others can keep a great employee with your company for a long time to come.