As studies confirm, remote workers tend to be more productive than their in-office colleagues in light of several reasons. As employees themselves note, it is mainly connected with their flexibility, lack of stress, and a possibility to choose and organize the working space themselves, resulting in saving time. However, remote employment entails some drawbacks, as was recently discovered by Joseph Granny and David Maxfield from HBR. The poll they conducted among both in-office and remote employees evidenced that people working remotely feel more left out from everyday business processes, explaining it by the fact that they aren’t physically present in the workplace. However, it doesn’t mean that managers should bring all their employees to the office to make them feel a part of a team, as well as send employees to work remotely – it won’t necessarily increase their productivity. The key role in making the team efficient and satisfied, whether it is working distantly or onsite, is a task of a manager. And here are some ideas, how to ensure that:
Managers are responsible for organizing regular meetups with the whole team, as well as one-to-one check-ins. It’s essential to make sure that the necessary connections are established with and between the employees, especially if a team or a part thereof works remotely. As a manager, you have to be sure that every member of your team is updated on the current state of events. Therefore, all the members shall use the same communication tools and platforms to integrate everyone into everyday processes – messengers, chat rooms and project management apps help with that.
Ensure, that remote workers can reach out, when they need you. It’s easier for those in office to simply pass by, however, it takes some effort to contact a person, being on distance. Modern technologies can greatly assist in that – it’s enough to have your smartphone nearby will social media apps and messengers installed. Be sure to check them regularly, and answer at your earliest convenience.
Managers and team leaders shall be the connecting link between the employees. Be sure to create a team spirit and establish effective teamwork through team-building and integration activities. When some problems occur between the remote and onsite teams, try to be a mediator, use the communication skills and try to solve it with respect to all parties involved. It’s essential to demonstrate the same attitude to all workers, to avoid the situation in which some of them feel left behind – a common concern for remote teams.
Keep autonomy/integration balance
Since some of the remote workers are willing to have their own pace and working plan, allow them to do so, but ensure it coincides with the team tasks. It’s crucial to create a sense of common goal in a team, even though everyone is responsible for separate projects. All members should be aware of what others are doing and follow the team goal while having some autonomy in a choosing individual style of work.