Have you decided that it is time to move your business online? Are you ready to let your employee’s work from wherever they want?
While it is easy to smash the cubical, forgo the expense of a physical-office rent and wax philosophical about the freedom of working remotely. Beware, a mismanaged or neglected team can sink productivity and destroy your company’s profits and future.
Online teams allow for unique opportunities but require staying tuned-in to prevent some common pitfalls.
To bolster your chances of a happy, well-functioning, industrious online team pay close attention to how you organize your business and how you proceed with management.
With the right management techniques & functional digital office platforms, it is possible to build a superstar team who effectively powers your business.
If you have yet to read about what makes an online office successful, here is a helpful article.
1. Sign-up the Best Team from the Beginning
We have said it before, but here it is again. Take the time to hire the right people for your team from the start.
Remote work requires certain personality traits and your hiring process should include adequate questions and testing that sheds light on a potential employee’s work habits and personality.
Some people face too many distractions from a home office, and others may suffer negatively from feeling isolated if they work independently & remotely. You’ll want to know the strengths and weaknesses of your team such that you can manage those elements appropriately.
2. Facilitate a Team Feeling
Create a corporate culture that increases camaraderie and cultivate the idea that everyone is aiming at the same common goal for a common cause. Encourage working together while acknowledging the individual differences and strengths of what each person brings to the table. Two ways to do this are:
• Factor in extra time to encourage small-talk as a pre-requisite before meetings so that co-workers can build connections.
• Consider strategically assigning collaboration on projects to create new, partnerships, strengthen existing ones, and get people invested in working together.
3. Emphasize Togetherness
Design ways to introduce new members of the team to each other. As your team grows resist the urge to notify everyone of a new addition via a ‘welcome email’. Instead, introduce new team members with fanfare. At the least, have a video introduction and if possible have the team meet in-person or pair the new employee with an old-hand to help them learn the ropes. Other introduction rituals could include having a conference call with the whole team, work space video tours, or icebreaker introductory questions.
4. Display Emotional Intelligence
Some traits must be maximized in an online-setting especially when things aren’t necessarily as easy-to-read as in a face-to-face environment. Employees and management should display a high degree of emotional intelligence and do their best to foster trust within the group, call out damaging types of unconstructive criticism, and work to ensure the inclusion of all team member personalities. This means managing to ensure that strong personalities dial-it-back in meetings and that soft-spoken personalities get a chance to speak.
5. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate!
When misunderstandings happen between team members and/or management it can quickly zap the energy and enthusiasm of the team. These mistakes can be more common with an online team because as humans we depend so much on body language and online work does not allow for body language.
These are good communication practices:
• Lead by Example – Show your team what you want and what you expect by communicating as you want to be communicated with and as you want them to communicate with each other.
• Check in Consistently – Check in more than is needed with remote employees. To allow for this – organize teams and leaders into manageable sizes.
• Ask Questions – Do this and don’t make assumptions.
6. Choose the Right Medium to Foster a Team Spirit
There are numerous ways to communicate and each offers certain pro’s and con’s.
Choose the best based on what you know about the personalities on your team paired with what you are working to achieve.
If you are interested in finding a suitable digital office platform – here is a helpful article.
- Video calls – These help to ensure focus of team members, as it takes out the temptation to multi-task. It also provides a literal picture of the co-worker which can assist teamwork.
- Regular phone calls – Traditional voice phone calls offer the ability to touch-base immediately but may be difficult due to time-zones or result in unwanted interruptions of concentration.
- Emails – While quick to send, unless expected response times are established – it may result in delayed responses. Tone may also be tricky to pick up over email and so communication may not be as clear as the sender may perceive.
- Group Threads – Offer the ability for the group to interact in real time. They can also share humorous memes and the like to create a sense of community even when working from different continents. Read more about Apps and Platforms perfect for online offices here.
- Text Messages & Chat Apps – These can instantly deliver short urgent messages to employees who might be away from their desk.
7. Be Proactive about Problem Solving
When a problem arises, it must be identified quickly and dealt with effectively. Otherwise people will not engage and contribute their best creative energies to the work at hand.
Encourage participation at every level and develop a company culture in which concerns can be raised. This will allow potential problems to get aired before they turn into major ones.
8. Get the Online Crew Together in Person
Nothing takes the place of meeting face-to-face so pick a regular meeting time. Maybe each team member won’t be able to make it every time but regular attendance should be encouraged. Don’t underestimate how much of a difference making connections in-person when a project hits rough going.
If employees are working over large distances consider building into your budget finances for annual gatherings where everyone can remember how cool their co-workers are in person.
Prestigio Equals Possibilities
Prestigio provides the technology you need to build and manage an effective team online.
Our devices are affordable so that even brand-new Start-Ups can access the boost technology provides and get connected.
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