Remote collaboration has become more prevalent, so learning the art of working remotely is crucial. In fact, the US has been steadily growing its remote workforce as companies transition into a fully remote workplace. In response, other countries around the world are promptly following suit.
As an employer, how should your business respond to this development? If you are an employee, what must you do to adapt to this new, dynamic job market? Fortunately, this guide can assist you in understanding these global changes in the workplace. We will discuss recent information and current methods pertaining to the new work climate.
Facts About Remote Collaboration
Some assume that most still work in offices, but statistics prove otherwise. In the US, most employees work from home since it allows them to work comfortably anywhere. Not only that, but employers also enjoy increased productivity and efficiency from people working remotely. Still, work experiences share a host of pros and cons, and remote work is no exception.
Remote Collaboration Trend
The transition to remote work has been spreading for years, so much that only 17% of people still work in offices. What’s more, 41% of remote workers say they save more time compared to conventional desk jobs. This has also been beneficial to employers as 29% of employees increased their productivity due to home-based work.
All workplaces have their share of difficulties, even when working remotely. The main gripe in remote work is the lack of direct communication. Fortunately, there are numerous online collaboration tools for building a remote team like Wrike or GoToMeeting.
These are useful for remote collaboration with team members, but you must use new methods in project management too.
Fine Tuning Distanced Collaboration
Remote team collaboration brings a host of dilemmas for employers to tackle. This is mainly because you aren’t physically nearby your teams working at home. Furthermore, your members themselves are separated by huge distances and distinct time zones. Overall, this challenges teams to stay connected and communicate in real-time despite these issues.
The first step is to have an online collaboration tool, but the next ones involve specialized management techniques. Particularly, it involves a modern approach to the “carrot-and-stick” adage.
The “carrot” means positive reinforcement, engaging team members, announcing their efforts, and providing rewards. Meanwhile, the “stick” means providing structure in workflow by requiring rules and processes.
Setting Ground Rules
Rules are not mere penalties for improper work behavior. More importantly, they give order and structure to your workflow, guiding your team in working efficiently. Unlike the traditional office setting, you won’t be there to keep a close eye on workers. By having ground rules, it may minimize or eliminate errors in your workflow.
There are two caveats in remote collaboration you must consider. First, minimize the number of members in your teams in order to enhance communication and productivity. A study found that having 20 or more people remotely working muddles coordination and reduces productivity. Second, adjust to your members’ individual needs to fit their varied backgrounds.
Find Ways for Motivation
Aside from structuring your remote workflow, you should also provide incentives for your employees. You may not be able to provide physical rewards, but you may set up milestones instead. When they reach certain markers, you may announce their achievements among members to inspire members.
While you are physically distant, you may still let members know your concern for their well-being. You may send them personalized emails to express your appreciation for their performance. Moreover, you may offer other perks such as online courses or souvenirs to further motivate your employees remotely.
Communicate Rather than Check
One aspect that remote work lacks is those “water cooler conversations” typical for office settings. Members are separated by enormous distances, so they won’t have the chance to socialize with fellow members.
In addition, merely conversing with employees via status reports and updates makes you feel more distant. As a result, the lack of personal investment causes lower productivity.
In order to enhance remote collaboration, improving internal and external communication is a must. First, you should promote conversations among members with video conferencing. Host one specifically let employees who are working remotely to socialize with each other. Aside from this team-building exercise, you may launch “buddy systems” or “coaching sessions” to improve socialization further.
Of course, you should still try to meet teams physically if possible. Humans are social animals, so we find it difficult to relate with people solely through video calls. In fact, members may consider each other as foes due to the lack of physical interactions.
By meeting face-to-face, members find it easier to collaborate with real people, not just faces on Skype.
Additionally, meeting them on a field trip fosters positive memories that fortify team-building. People are more inclined to work with people they spent good memories with, after all. If circumstances prevent meeting in an idyllic setting, still try to meet them in coffee shops or other locations nearby. What’s important is the physical interaction among members.
The trend towards remote work requires more creativity for businesses. Your company must be able to adapt to swift, dramatic changes in the market, so finding new solutions is always necessary.
For instance, if you can’t meet to party with your members, you may order them food in their own countries. Then, you may hold an online conference with everyone while eating in order to simulate a business gathering.
Working remotely is more efficient when tasks are divided into smaller ones. You may find remote collaboration tools or other recent services to organize tasks better. These may also facilitate sharing information within teams, but attempting other methods is always encouraged.
Formulate new methods and tools that can help your company compete despite abrupt dynamic trends.
The future is remote work, so understanding and adapting quickly is essential. Many innovations like cloud-based services are rapidly changing the working landscape. That’s why you must find new methods and tools to give you a competing edge early.
Done right, remote work will mean more productivity for your business and more convenience for your employees.
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