7 Tips to Build a Productive Remote TeamMarch 19, 2020
Last week, we released a blog highlighting some of our top tips on video conferencing etiquette - a highly relevant topic due to the unfolding Covid-19 pandemic. With more and more calls to close workplaces and introduce remote working, we’ve taken some time out to advise our followers on mastering this practice for themselves and their own businesses. So, here it is: 7 tips to build a productive remote working team. Check it out, stay safe and consider implementing these tips in your own workplace.
Headline after headline suggests that remote working is going to become a fairly common practice as we all make adjustments to our lifestyles over the coming period. Here at Damson Cloud, remote working is nothing new: our team often works remotely, meeting regularly at shared working locations when required. However, there are some general principles we try to stick to. We engage with each other in the same way that we might engage with each other in an office setting, and that is primarily thanks to products like Google Workspace (formerly G Suite). However, we do believe in introducing some extras to ensure that remote working is happy, productive and organised.
Try Video Calls and Screen Sharing
There are of course some challenges with remote working. We find that these typically arise when you have one or two members of staff remote working who may be joining a conference call in an office.
From our own perspective, we used to have a Dublin-based office, with some of our team members working outside of Ireland. In the morning, we would begin a video call with a screen share, and remote workers would join in on that call. The call was perpetual and projected on the wall - so remote workers could jump in and out of that call whenever they needed to. In essence, this meant that remote workers could engage with us in a way that was as simple as opening an office door. We felt this was a great idea - especially given that remote workers are often forgotten (especially when there’s only a couple of them).
Create a Shared Space
However, when you have a fully remote team, things can be a little bit different. When you have just a couple of remote workers, you do need to make that special effort to ensure that they are tended to and not left without communication. When your whole team is working remotely, it's vital to create those shared spaces for people, and there are a couple of ways of achieving that. For example, you may choose to go for what we refer to as ‘stand-up’ meetings, where the whole team participates in conference calls, discussing their plans for the week - and this can be done twice a week.
Create a Social Remote Working Culture
It’s important to remember that we are social creatures. We’ve heard of customers regularly organising conference calls where they may enjoy coffee or a bite to eat together. Those little things that may seem a little serendipitous in an office setting may feel slightly forced on a video call. However, it’s all about creating that space for community and communication.
Something that we also encourage is meeting up in person from time to time, keeping that communication open and ongoing. At Damson, we try to do this ourselves once, if not twice a month. We’ve also seen examples of larger remote working teams meeting up once a year. We think taking steps like this is essential in building your company culture, as well as the community around it.
Find Tools That Work For You
We also recommend checking out some Google tools, including Hangouts, Chat and products like Slack and WhatsApp. These allow companies to encourage more informal channels of communication as opposed to the rigid formality of emails. We’ve made great use out of the Google Chat tool in the Google Partner ecosystem, taking part in various group chats. These are really great, and people can share stuff that they’ve seen, including photos and screenshots. People don’t feel that they have to be so formal using tools like these, and being able to pick up your mobile device to use these tools adds to that relaxed and informal vibe. From our own standpoint, this was a great way to engage with remote staff on an ongoing basis.
Group Chat and Notification Etiquette
Any form of instant messenger, including Google Chat and WhatsApp can get busy - and we all know what it’s like to be in a buzzing group chat. It’s important to know when to mute these chats in your personal time, for example, or to turn off notifications if you’re in a meeting. It’s also worth bearing in mind that notifications may appear on your screen in a screen sharing scenario - so please exercise caution.
Provide Equipment and Infrastructure
If you’re planning to work remotely, it’s crucial to provide your employees with the tools and equipment they need to do their job properly. This includes the hardware they will need as well as strong broadband. You should certainly support your staff in this way. In the past, we had our own issues with broadband going down. As a solution, we offered our staff mobile broadband access, allowing them to work in the event of their direct connection failing. Making sure those devices and elements of infrastructure are there is absolutely crucial.
Project Management and Oversight
This isn’t an exhaustive list, but we’re going to finish on this one important point: having some form of project management or joint task management tool. This is really vital when you have a remote team, and it means that a manager can get a full overview over what their team members are working on, and in many cases they can view their staffs’ progress on any particular task. This is a great way of getting an overview of the company as a whole without having to link in with individual members of staff on a daily basis. There’s lots of task management tools out there, and it pays to experiment to find the right one for your setup.
More About Damson Cloud
When it comes to remote working, we’d love to hear what you all think. Are there any vital remote working tools, hardware or methodologies you think we may have missed? WHat areas within remote working couldn’t you live without? Let us know in the comments, and don’t forget to like, subscribe and share!
As a longstanding member of the Google Cloud Partner program, Damson Cloud specialise in bringing people and ideas together through new ways of working. We champion change management and digital transformation using some of the internet’s most trusted solutions, including Google Workspace, Happeo and Jamboard. To find out more about our services, check out our library of tutorial videos or our blog.