by Vaishali Badgujar
Creating an outstanding remote team can be one of the most rewarding aspects of your job. Communication is a pivotal in a dream team, and if done correctly, it can produce stellar results. Unlike traditional workplaces however, there’s no after work happy hour to build bonds. Between mostly online interaction and flexible work hours, teamwork has a whole new meaning. Due to this, remote group dynamics take a different skill set in order to be successful.
As the team manager, how can you ensure your remote team is motivated? Here are some tried-and-true ways to motivate a remote team:
Check In (But Not Too Often)
More so than a traditional office, you have to build a lot of trust when working remotely. Instead of walking to your co-worker’s desk to see progress, you have to trust that your colleague is reaching deadlines on time, and will ask you questions if needed. If you check in too much it may create more of a stressful distraction than motivation. How often are you checking in to make sure the project gets completed?
As a team manager, there’s a careful balance between attentiveness and micromanaging.
No One Person Should Dominate a Conference Call
A successful conference call accomplishes many things. It discusses projects and issues in real time, takes place of an in-person meeting, and can present new ideas in ways that email and chat cannot. However, due to different personality types, it’s very easy to have one person dominate the conversation, while others passively listen. When this happens, people tend to tune out and are not actively engaged. Be sure to limit someone’s speaking time to a certain length, and ask specific questions to get comprehensive answers from your team.
The Email and Chat Spiral
If you have team members that are actively working on something together, it’s easy to get bogged down by a mountain of chat that you’ve missed, or a pile of emails clogging up your inbox. When this happens, you might accidentally miss important information. Consider setting up a system, asking your team to keep pressing collective topics to chat, while emails can have a longer wait time in responding.
You can also schedule specific times during the day where you directly respond to emails so you don’t feel glued to your inbox.
There’s More Than One Type of Communication
When we’re in school, we recognize that everyone learns differently. If there’s more than one way to illustrate a new task, do it. Consider finding a YouTube tutorial or making a quick video that is relevant to what you’re talking about. If someone needs things explained to them via phone session, schedule a weekly call instead of an email check-in. Even though it’s a remote workspace, there are many ways to engage with your employees so they don’t feel like they are left in the dark.
Tackle Issues, Not Avoid Them
When you work remotely, brushing things under the rug may feel obvious. Minimize a screen and you can avoid responding to emails, side-step certain chat conversations, and be blissfully ignorant until further notice. Much like the email and chat spiral, however, things will start to build up. As a team manager, tackling issues head on before they get out of control is how you’ll be respected as a manager, and help the workflow run efficiently.
Bring Traditional “Teamwork” Building Skills to a Remote Environment
With the proper tools, your remote team will feel far less “remote”.
There are several team building techniques that can be translated to the online world. For one, communication. Check in with a positive and open attitude, and watch your team members respond accordingly. Hold open ended team meetings to discuss how the group dynamic can change for the better.
Between making sure everyone feels involved and invested, to building a bigger and better team with different personality types, Your remote team is going to be a strong force to be reckoned with.
To learn more about becoming a more successful remote leader, read The Long Distance Leader: Rules for Remarkable Remote Leadership.
About the author:
Vaishali Badgujar is a digital marketer at Time Doctor, a SaaS time tracking and productivity tool for companies & freelancers. She is an inbound marketing expert & specializes in SEO.