Best Integration Solutions for Businesses Working with Remote Teams
Before the pandemic, remote work for many companies felt like a privilege. Fast forward to today, and remote work for some is no longer a benefit but a requirement. Even though teleworking can result in increased productivity, working with remote teams brings with it challenges such as poor communication and collaboration. Thankfully, your business can overcome such difficulties by adopting remote work integration best practices.
Common Challenges of Working with Remote Teams
1. Time zones
A significant problem of working with remote teams is figuring out how to communicate across time zones. There can be lots of communication delays among team members. Planning meetings would mean some employees would need to be flexible. Additionally, the installation of asynchronous communication tools would help reduce this strain.
2. Poor work-life balance
A 2019 report on the “State of remote work” revealed that many remote employees struggle to unplug from their work, which could lead to a poor work-life balance.
3. Feelings of isolation
Sometimes, remote employees feel disconnected from their colleagues. The lack of physical connections can make remote workers feel like they miss significant team moments. Besides that, they may also feel like they do not fit in with the company culture.
4. Lack of direction
Self-discipline and initiative are crucial for remote teams. However, being away from other colleagues and their managers can make it difficult to focus on individual targets. Furthermore, their managers might also struggle to build engagement.
Solving these challenges is imperative to increasing engagement and boosting productivity.
How to Integrate Your Office and Remote Employees
Here are some of the best ways to keep remote workers engaged.
1. Define company culture
As a leader, you must be intentional in defining and documenting your company’s culture. You must also continually reinforce such values to ensure your company limits the “five dysfunctions of teams,” namely:
- Poor commitment
- Lack of trust
- Disregard of results
- Fear of conflict
- Lack of accountability
2. Set expectations
A FlexJobs survey found that remote workers are more productive. This productivity is, however, dependent on the clarity of functions. Your company can overcome this challenge by setting clear expectations. It would be wise to introduce workflow management tools to create transparency and accountability.
3. Introduce team collaboration tools
Communication and collaboration are vital facets when your goal is to keep your workers engaged and promote retention. Thankfully, many collaboration tools are available for streamlining remote communication.
- Video conferencing tools like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Hubspot meetings, and Google Hangouts.
- Visual collaboration tools such as online whiteboards and shared screens
- Document tools such as Google workspace and Office 365
- Time management tools like Google Calendar and Microsoft Outlook Calendar
- Instant messaging tools such as Slack, Google chat and WhatsApp
4. Develop a work-from-home policy
Having a remote work policy is necessary for improving communication. Your company can set clear guidelines around appropriate communication channels. This policy should also communicate rules regarding reasonable response hours and team collaboration tools.
5. Define goals for remote teams
Providing measurable goals ensures remote employees stay engaged and focused on the company goals. We recommend setting your team monthly and quarterly goals. And also, make sure every team member understands their role and the desired outcome. As a manager, It would also help if you developed short term, medium, and long term goals for each team member to give them direction.
6. Encourage teamwork
Creating a collaborative work environment can be challenging when dealing with remote teams that often work independently. However, as the team leader, several strategies could help you achieve effective teamwork. These include:
- Involving the team during decision-making
- Holding regular meetings. These including daily check-ins and weekly updates meetings
- Introducing communication channels that enable side discussions, file sharing, and team bonding
- Foster real-time communication through video calls
7. Show appreciation
It’s easy for remote teams to feel unappreciated. Such feelings can significantly impact their motivation levels. And since they’re not in the office where you can take them out to lunch, you need to find ways to acknowledge their efforts. Some simple acts include sending gift cards or holding a team meeting to celebrate them.
8. Train your departmental heads
The remote work environment doesn’t sorely affect remote workers but also managers. Therefore, it is essential to build your team leaders’ capacities to help their skills match the demands of the remote world. Such training helps them understand their members’ skillsets and weaknesses.
9. Develop a feedback culture
Creating a positive feedback culture requires building trust. For starters, you can schedule regular one-on-ones with each team member. Secondly, your workers need to feel comfortable and know that their comments won’t result in a blowback. It would also be a good idea to make these feedback sessions a routine and set clear expectations.
10. Promote leadership visibility
The leadership team plays a crucial role in integrating remote workers. This statement is especially true today because of the current uncertainty in the work environment. Fortunately, there are things your leadership team can do to improve visibility. These include:
- Blogs. The senior team can use blogs to share educational and inspirational content
- Real-time communication. Paying attention to and participating in employee conversations is a surefire way to build employee engagement
- Short videos. Remote workers rarely meet their leaders. Videos are an excellent way to show leaders’ personalities and to reinforce company values to remote employees.
While remote work isn’t a new practice, the current events signify that the post-pandemic workforce will include in-person and telework. Additionally, the success of such work environments heavily relies on collaboration and effective communication. Here, the solution, therefore, is to introduce integrated audiovisual technology that will meet your company’s needs.
Mint Solutions is a digital workplace service provider offering commercial av integration in Tampa. Our services include unified communications, meeting solutions, and education technology. Ready to integrate your office and remote teams? Contact us at (813) 235-8497 to begin your project.