Establishing a remote work team can lower stress levels, boost productivity, increase diversity and job satisfaction.
However, working remotely doesn’t have to be all or nothing. If your staff are local, offering the option to work remotely, part-time allows employees more flexibility and better work-life balance.
The key to building a successful global remote team, whether fully remote or partially, is having a detailed policy and communication strategy. This helps everyone on your team to understand the expectations.
Develop a robust digital communication plan
Communication continues to be one of the significant challenges for local and global remote workforces. To mitigate this, set up your team with proper channels designated for specific types of communication.
- Ensure the team comprehends how to navigate all the technology implemented. Email is great for detailed information sharing.
- While instant messaging is useful to quick responses.
- Face to face interaction with employees and customers keeps communication personal. Ensuring eye contact helps you and your teams to connect. But it also allows each person to communicate and interpret tone and emotion.
Designate specific channels for different communication types. Establishing a comprehensive and transparent process prevents communication frustrations.
Determine team communication expectations
Teams or people accustomed to sitting, working and communicating in a shared physical space can often find the change in daily work challenging or even isolating.
It is clear that digital communication is no substitute for personal team member interaction, however, there are ways to help mitigate the shift in working styles.
Schedule your team’s meetings, 1:1s and deadlines in face-to-face interaction via video. These schedules will help leaders manage expectations and help employees develop a routine, even if your team is global.
Unless there is a specific reason, encourage all team members to have their cameras turned on while making video calls. The act of seeing a familiar face helps everyone to feel more connected. It also makes it easier to engage with team members that are new or not known well.
Make explicit your working time expectations and take into consideration differences in time zones. Working from home or a co-work space isn’t easy for some. Set clear expectations and routines to help your employees adjust.
Establish daily personal routines
Daily routines help ensure consistency, productivity and a sense of stability. It gives team leaders the chance to show their teams how they structure their days. You may need to provide direction and encouragement to adjust based on their needs.
Speak with your team members about how they best manage their personal lives and remain flexible to meet their daily responsibilities. Remember, working from home is sometimes uncharted territory for employees, but the tide is turning.
Establish daily check-ins. Even with set morning routines, kicking the day off with specific expectations paints a clearer picture of the day ahead.
Set clear performance expectations
Team leaders must set realistic expectations for their team members as they establish a global work from home policy. While this is standard for employees during all circumstances, communicate that quality and output must remain equal with any on-site employment. Make yourself available to answer any questions and set or reset expectations.
To keep business moving, managers and all team members must be aware of how quickly they need to reply to all communications. This is especially true if the team is truly global. It is good to set a clear timeframe in your interactions. It will depend on your individual business need and varies between organisations. Whatever you decide, make it explicit and include it in your global remote work communication policy.
Establishing a global remote team does not have to be complicated. The key to building one is having detailed policy and procedures on communication and setting clear and concise expectations from the outset.
© The Remote Work Index