Working remotely allows individuals and teams to take advantage of creative freedom and avoid distractions in office settings. However, staying productive while working from home can be tough because there aren’t time constraints that force you to get things done.
It doesn’t mean team productivity gets diminished. Instead, it means there needs to be a new set of guidelines each individual must abide by to achieve optimal results while working away from the office.
We bring you this guide of 15 proven tips you can use to increase remote team productivity and efficiency.
How to improve remote working in 15 ways
Here is a list of 15 tips that educate you on challenges of remote teams and how to improve remote working.
- (1) Focus on results
- Focus on results is one of the simplest yet overlooked aspects that can have an impact on productivity. Based on your role or tasks assigned to you, your ability to concentrate and produce the best outcome will set the groundwork for future activities. Working remotely can be productive if you do it the right way. It can help teams focus more on their work rather than being distracted by co-workers. While this ensures higher concentration levels, there are instances where individuals tend to go overboard, which isn’t healthy either.
- (2) Engage your employees
- Employees are the backbone of an organization because it’s mainly due to them that business prospers. When you have a remote workforce, managing them becomes difficult. You cannot remain physically present in front of them. Employees feel lost when they don’t get orientation and guidance from their managers. Here are some tips that will help your remote team stay productive and increase efficiency across all departments:
- ➡️ Engage your employees
- ➡️ Hold all-hands teleconferences once or twice per month
- ➡️ Encourage collaboration among colleagues
- ➡️ Meet with each employee for 15 minutes every week
- ➡️ Get feedback on what motivates/demotivates them at work
- ➡️ Let your employees give suggestions on how to improve different aspects
- ➡️ Share the company’s vision with them frequently
- (3) Explain your decisions well
- Explain your decisions well to improve productivity and efficiency by providing all the necessary information. It will help everyone remain on the same page. You can also avoid any confusion or miscommunication among the team. It can also be tough for remote employees to understand why they should follow procedures without any explanations. Thus, the process helps them feel involved in their work. It increases their motivation, thus improving individual employee performance and team productivity.
- (4) Strike the balance between goals and accomplishments
- There are no particular guidelines on how teams can achieve their objectives. Teams and individuals can set their own rules on ways to achieve success. However, there are several things proven effective when it comes to increasing productivity and efficiency. Focus more on outcomes rather than output is a tip productivity experts suggest for everyone. It allows team members to focus on getting things done instead of worrying about processes. The approach makes for an excellent way to improve productivity in remote teams.
- (5) Create long and short-term goals
- The approach works by setting goals for teams or individual employees. There should be short and long-term goals, so everyone knows where they are going and how they will get there. The essential aspect is to choose a target that is both achievable and relevant to everyone. Ensure that it is a clear goal with a specific date of completion. For example, to increase the customer base from 20 this month to 30 next month instead of increasing sales by 10%. If your company doesn’t have any pre-set goals, you can make one up. It helps you understand the direction of the team and what they need to do to get there. Keep in mind that setting goals for a company and individual employees are not always cut and dry. Many factors come into play, such as the company’s mission statement or the employee’s job description that may or may not help set goals.
- (6) Schedule video conferences often
- Nonverbal is a primary means of communication for remote team members. They use email and text messaging to convey their feelings about the work they are doing. However, these methods have limitations because it’s hard for other people on your team or outside sources, in general, to watch what you’re typing through emails. It does not give them an accurate understanding of how someone else feels without seeing facial expressions alongside words. Video chats are a great way to overcome the communications issue. Since your team members will always know what tasks they need to do with precise instructions, they can maximize productivity and complete more work than before.
- (7) Assign mentors to new remote employees
- It is common for new remote employees to experience challenges when they start working alone. You can solve this by assigning mentors who act more like counsellors. They also provide guidance whenever necessary. A mentor will never replace an actual boss or supervisor. They would give new employees advice to handle issues instead of offering general feedback about what could happen. For supporting new employees, mentors should be available to provide on-the-job training. It is like an apprenticeship for teaching people how to work remotely and preventing the mentor from falling behind while they learn themselves.
- (8) Reward your employees for their effort
- It feels great when you get rewarded for doing something right. Rewarding people can increase morale, motivating them to perform even better the next time around. While there are different ways of rewarding people, non monetary appreciation and small monetary rewards are always the best. It is advisable to acknowledge the work done by everyone on your team, even if it’s something as simple as ‘Thank You’. It boosts their morale and helps them realize that they’re making a difference to the project. There can be nothing better than having a motivated set of employees. They will help you reach your goals much faster than you ever thought.
- (9) Give flexible working hours to employees
- Employees are often required to stick to set working hours (9-5) in the regular office. Working for this long is hard, and it can be difficult when you are trying to maintain productivity, efficiency, and happiness. While it might seem like you can’t give flexible working hours to employees who work remotely 100% of the time, numerous benefits go along with allowing your remote workers some flexibility in their schedule. One benefit of making an effort towards giving flexible working hours to employees is they will be able to control their flow of productivity. There are some days when you feel more energetic, motivated, and productive earlier in the day than other times. By allowing employees to work according to their schedule, they will be able to take advantage of the powerful concentration that comes with early mornings while others are still asleep.
- (10) Work together collaboratively
- You can use numerous communication and collaboration tools to boost your remote team’s productivity and efficiency. One of the most commonly used is Slack. You can use this tool to increase communication and project management, and it integrates seamlessly with other top-notch services such as Trello, Google Drive, Github, Heroku, and Asana. Another online communication tool that you can use across all your remote team members is Microsoft Teams. It allows for high-quality face-to-face video conversations, screen sharing, and instant messaging between team members. With the improved collaboration tools available today, it’s getting easier to connect with co-workers regardless of their location. The only thing that matters is ensuring each team member has access to these tools no matter where they are right now.
- (11) Lead effectively
- If you want your employees to perform well, they need a clear indication of where they stand concerning their goals. You can do this by giving them proper assignments with clear milestones. Ensure that they complete such tasks within an appropriate time frame. If not, what you’re doing might be too complex for them. Follow up these assignments through regular updates on the work progress. Your team will always know where they stand. Once you set to task your team, you need to maintain an open line of communication with them. It means you should be available at all times in case your employees have any questions or concerns.
- (12) Offer regular feedback to team members
- Team members can put in all their effort. However, if managers do not provide proper recognition and feedback, it is difficult for them to stay focused. Team leaders should never underestimate the effect regular encouragement has on employees. It applies not only to remote workers but also when they are in an office environment. Ensure that you give your team members the much-needed appreciation. Saying ‘thank you’ occasionally goes a long way in motivating them towards better productivity. Workers should always be allowed to express their views and give feedback. Employers should encourage them to do so. If there is an issue about which they feel strongly, you must know. These conversations will enable both parties to understand each other better and work more efficiently.
- (13) Promote self-care among employees
- Remote teams need to adopt good habits. You can do this by encouraging everyone to take breaks during work hours, eat healthily, exercise regularly, and do meditation or journaling before work. An important step is also giving your team more responsibilities as this leads them to feel more valuable and invested in the company’s growth. It is best to encourage team members to ask questions and reach out for help when needed. For self-care policies to work, it’s crucial to acknowledge what makes your team unique and find ways to capitalize on that. For example, if team members are in different time zones, use the difference in waking hours by scheduling calls at convenient times for everyone.
- (14) Trust your employees
- Managers need to use their strategic thinking for them to be successful leaders. Nobody likes leaders constantly breathing down their necks and telling them what to do. Don’t forget about giving remote teams some space by themselves or else risk burning out any employees who may have got more responsibility than they can handle at one time before coming back complaining about being overworked. A great way to form a bond of trust is by giving your team the freedom and ability. When you put everyone’s faith in each other, it is clear that they do their job well.
- (15) Remain futuristic
- A great leader needs to keep in touch with their team, and that includes two-way communication. Leaders who are successful at what they do will get the most out of remote working by actively listening and speaking when necessary. It is common for employees to have conversations about past work. However, not much is about what is happening now and the future tasks. It makes sense that this would be bad for employers because they want their employees to focus on solving the problems at hand instead of looking too far ahead or backwards. Past mistakes are never an easy thing to talk about, but they can be great for learning. If you don’t have any actionable strategies, your team won’t learn anything from these past problems. Issues will keep coming up again.
Teams must work independently, so they can provide maximum creativity, which leads to increased outcomes. Leaders need to let go of control a bit but maintain an open line of communication. You see this method in use by companies who have successfully increased productivity from their remote teams.
Finally, it’s essential that leaders remain futuristic with their goals and not just focus on how things got done in the past. We must always be thinking about how we can do better!
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