Remote collaboration has moved from an abstract concept to a necessary tool for many businesses thanks to COVID-19 and has now become a normal way of working that seems to be here for the long haul.
When telecommuting works correctly, we’ve seen companies note vast improvements for efficient communication between employees and managers, as well as a sharp uptick in the creation of new ideas for products and services thanks to the need for out-of-the-box thinking to accommodate these new work environments.
As more companies shift into hiring remote workers or offering work-from-home opportunities there begins to be a noticeable friction that develops. What causes this friction?
Companies who struggle adjusting to this new workforce are running at a deficit when it comes to understanding the intrinsic motivations that are caused by behavior. Managers and teammates both feel this and not accounting for behavior in a more digital world can create a ripple effect that affects not only productivity, but morale, turnover rates, and revenue.
So how can you make sure that your employees have the right support to complete projects successfully in remote settings? Here are a few ideas.
The Anatomy of a Successful Remote Collaboration Policy
- Understand how behavior drives your team – Starting without a baseline understanding of behavior will leave you at a deficit and make it harder for both managers and colleagues to motivate their teammates. We’ve seen companies use the Aptology platform solely for this and vastly increase their employee productivity levels. Be sure to create a common understanding of these behaviors so that you can make production as easy as possible:
- How do your employees prefer to communicate?
- Do they flourish working independently or in a collaborative setting?
- How do they normally set goals?
- What goes into their decision-making process?
- Make remote collaboration accessible to all – If you have team members who were previously wary of using tech or felt overwhelmed being thrust into remote collaboration environments, make sure that you offer them easy-but-thorough onboarding procedures. Also, be sure that there are clear paths of communication for team members by setting up a company-wide set of tools to be used. This will help stop any confusion as to which apps should be used and where information may be kept.
If you have employees that are global, you may run into issues with collaboration needs bumping up against an array of timezones. Consider removing the need for mandatory 8-5 working hours and instead opt for smaller mandatory windows of 2-3 hours per workday. That way you can offer your team the ability to have a set time of when team projects can be collaborated on and reduce the stress that comes with chasing down team members who live across the globe.
- Establish routines – By normalizing the usage of remote collaboration tools by your C-Suite, you’ll notice a trickle-down effect that makes it easier for employees who were unsure if remote work was worthwhile. Set up weekly “fireside chat” style calls with executives or team managers and have regular tech support hours for those who might not be used to working with remote team members before so that it becomes less of a novelty and more of an understood regular practice.
Having a set of established routines will also mitigate any potential worries of employee self-motivation or time waste as it sets up expectations of how time will be spent and shows examples of best practices.
- Create internal processes – Set up a solid foundation for remote collaboration procedures and make these available to your employees. By having an established set of rules that outline expectations your employees will feel more comfortable navigating remote work projects and feel less overwhelmed by the vastness of video conferences and remote meetings.
- Offer opportunities that mimic in-person events – One of the biggest drawbacks we’ve noticed when surveying employees for our Talent Optimization metrics is that working remotely can make some employees feel isolated or lonely. If you previously offered team-building exercises pre-pandemic, consider looking for ways you can bring them back in a more remote setting. Offer to cover the tab for a lunch delivery and have a group lunch video conference or set up breakaway “watercooler” rooms for small groups of employees to chat and socialize.
Telecommuting and remote work opportunities are here for the long haul. Instead of shying away from it, embrace the new talent that it allows your company to have available and make it as easy as possible for remote employees to be accessible. If you’re unsure of which employees may flourish and which may need more help with remote environments, we can help you learn that information with our Talent Optimization services.