By: Katie Johns
Globally, the preference for remote working has increased in leaps and bounds. The Silicon Republic estimates that remote working will rival fixed office locations by 2025. The future is clear: ‘Remote’ is becoming the most sought after address for the workplace.
Entrepreneurs, too, are increasingly opting for remote workers. It is cost-effective and brings in a diverse talent pool from distant locations and cultures. The entrepreneurial challenge then is to bring people together and transform them from individual locations into teams.
A collaborative effort is at the heart of successful projects. Knowledge sharing and effective communication systems are crucial to that success. Equally vital is keeping teams motivated and happy.
As an entrepreneur, you are required to continuously motivate your teams into delivering results to the rhythm of client expectations. It becomes even more critical when you have remote teams working on multiple projects simultaneously.
How best can you meet these challenges then?
A good project management software can resolve many of these concerns.
1. Get the Team Right
How you form your project team can greatly impact its outcome. With remote teams, time zones can be an issue. Set up your teams for efficient collaboration. Before they start work on the project, do a test run to expose strengths and potential weaknesses in their functioning as a team. Addressing this would protect the actual progress of the project.
2. Set out Rules for Work Timings
Remote working is not the same as freelancing and therefore, cannot have the same work-when-you-please liberties. Some flexibility during the start and end of workdays is acceptable. However, letting your remote team start and finish work at disparate times would cause chaos. Project management tools can help monitor when your people log in, work, take a break, and log off.
They help you create your project workflows, assign tasks and schedules. You can then see Gantt charts that give you a detailed picture on the schedule and progress of the tasks.
3. Institute Sops and Work Systems
Standard operating procedures that are well articulated for your business processes will curtail duplication of effort as well as eliminate lacunae. It is tempting to issue verbal instructions on calls, but backing it up with an email helps formalize the communication and reduces potential confusions.
4. Set Well-Defined KPIs
A well-formulated set of KPIs establishes the scope of role at every level in the team. In the absence of personal interactions with your team, it becomes essential for them to know and understand individual performance expectations in concrete terms. It is possible to measure productivity using project management software. If your enterprise is sales-driven, tools such as Trello, Zoho, ProProfs are a valuable aid.
5. Create a Free Flow of Communication
It is vital to have communication lines open for your virtual teams. Apart from formal reporting or work process type communications, team members must have a chat option, to use either formally and informally. A free to use an option such as Skype for chatting is already quite popular. Another possibility is to use project management software, which has greater online collaboration features.
6. Remote Access Tools
Certain discussions may get too long-winded on chat or call. A better way to do this is to allow screen sharing. Tools such as Slack allow remote access to another computer and AnyDesk both through your computer and mobile phone.
7. Get the Best Tools
Your remote workers must be equipped with the latest tools to ensure smooth functioning on a day-to-day basis. If technical glitches occur frequently due to slow, incompatible or inefficient systems, productivity and employee morale will both become casualties.
8. Virtual Phone Systems
Call conferencing or video conferencing using VoIP is a useful way to conduct team meetings. Particularly with video conferencing, the face time your team members get with you and each other is important for inculcating a sense of belonging and loyalty.
9. Training & Induction
Training and induction are important for remote employees. Invest time and effort to create a detailed video, for example, to orient them to organizational vision, mission, and values.
Schedule meetings at strategic intervals to review the work in progress. Keep in mind the time zones of the people involved before setting up the time. Further, allow team members to set up a meeting for critical issues when they need to discuss as a group or for seeking guidance or a decision.
11. Work Smart
ProProfs Project is a great project management tool for task-based communication. You can track work progress, monitor task completion, see who is working on what, and know where all tasks stand easily.
12. Review Often
Periodic reviews of work and individual performance are essential. It will keep your team players on track and the workflow streamlined.
13. Prioritize Data Security
Insist on the use of secure internet connections and strong passwords so as to protect your business systems and information.
14. Assigning Buddies
Newcomers tend to feel lost. Follow the common HR practice of assigning a mentor or a buddy to help them settle in and start contributing faster.
15. Value Your Team
More office employees, remote workers need to know that their work is appreciated and that they are making a valuable contribution. Keeping your remote teams updated about the organization, its events, opportunities, and future goals give them a chance to see themselves as part of the big picture.
Be Perfectly in Sync with Your Remote Teams
Creating the perfect outcome of effective collaboration that yields optimum output within requisite time-frames, requires artful management – and time. Let project management software and tools help you!
David is a technical writer, his works are regularly published in various papers and top-notch portals. His rich experience in project management software helps him offer the latest and fresh perspective on improved efficiency in workflows across organizations. His informative works on similar lines can be viewed on ProProfs Project.
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