One of the key aspects of being a Virtual Assistant is working remotely. It’s one of those situations where it truly ‘does what is says on the can’. It’s virtual.
We thought this would be a great opportunity to talk about remote teams and give you some tips on how to maintain productivity and collaboration whilst working in remote or geographically dispersed teams.
We can all agree that the Covid-19 pandemic has brought with it many challenges, however it has also shed the light on remote working, with lots of companies becoming more open to exploring the concept of working flexibly. Many organisations are adopting a remote working strategy for their workforce and finding that it not only has benefits in the short team, but that it is also a plausible long-term strategy which doesn’t lead to compromises on productivity, quality and working relationships.
Read on for some helpful tips!
Be sure to communicate frequently and openly. Regular and effective communication between colleagues creates an environment of trust and confidence within the team, leading to improved working relationships.
Managers – whilst working remotely, make sure you are available for your team, in case they need guidance. This is especially important for new team members. Because you don’t have as much face to face contact, the need to make yourself present and available in the virtual world is heightened. Reach out to all of your team members regularly, to check in on them and ensure they feel connected and are on track.
This leads us to our next point…
Technology is as important as ever in enabling you to achieve individual and team goals. Be sure to make use of some of the fantastic collaboration tools that are available to you. There are so many out there, so test them out and see which works as a good fit for you and your team.
Some of the options available include:
Microsoft Teams, WebEx Teams, Zoom, Skype, MiCollab, Slack, Voxer, Asana, WhatsApp, and the list goes on!
Set Clear Goals
Ensure that goals are clearly communicated to all team members and monitored closely to maintain productivity. Focus on achieving quality outcomes and don’t be afraid to have a discussion if the remote working relationship isn’t working out. It’s not for everyone.
Communicating expectations around work outputs, including individual and team goals should continue as you would in a regular office environment.
The cycle goes on: Set goals, monitor performance, evaluate, give feedback, repeat!
Be aware of time zones
Make sure you are conscious of any differences in time zones across your team. You can use apps such as World Time Buddy, which allow you to add multiple locations, to clearly convert between time zones and see what time it is for your different team members. You can also add different time zones to calendar invites.
If you are operating within a 24/7 roster, be sure to have clear handover processes so that team members logging on at various stages in the day know what stage outstanding tasks are at.
Although right now, the unique Covid-19 situation has resulted in some blurred lines between personal and professional responsibilities, we must not forget to set boundaries between the two.
For some, this means having the discipline to switch off at the end of the day. Having a ritual like putting your laptop into a drawer once you are finished work or announcing to the family that you are finished for the day, can help.
Don’t forget to continue to build positive relationships with your team. Building solid working relationships increases collaboration, inclusion and engagement within teams. So, organise that Friday afternoon virtual drinks or schedule a virtual lunch with a colleague one day!
A few years ago, we led a team who choose to do a Virtual Secret Santa amongst our VIC and NSW team members. It was a great hit! Ideas like this can make all the difference, when unable to engage in traditional face to face team building activities.
We hope that some of these strategies will help you and your team to achieve an effective rhythm whilst working remotely.