As technology improves and work culture changes, more businesses are embracing remote work to improve work-life balance, remain competitive, or tap into talent across different geographies. Many people like the flexibility that remote work offers, with reduced commute time or the ability to clock in from anywhere in the world.
Building teams for a distributed workforce can be a challenge – more so than for a group of people that work in the same physical location. It takes careful planning to make sure the employees can work effectively, stay focused, and build positive working relationships with their colleagues.
We’ve been working with and enabling remote teams for 30 years, implementing processes and technology to support our clients as they scale their businesses. We recommend the following best practices.
Best practices for remote teams
Create clear policies and processes. Define and communicate clear policy and processes around digital culture and remote work arrangements. This should include health and safety protocols, expectations around digital culture etiquette, hours worked (and how to avoid burnout), and improved processes tuned for a remote workforce. Communicate your policies with employees and clients to minimize disruption and acknowledge that people are working in a diverse set of environments.
Manage change. Lead from the top down, this should start with clarity and positivity. One way to lessen the pain of change is to provide employees with clarity around the reason, vision, and plan for the change. Train on new tools and processes to ensure a smooth transition from in person to remote work. Communicate and then communicate more.
Implement the right tools and technology. Providing your employees with the right collaboration tools is key to a successful remote culture. Cloud-based content management systems help people collaborate, share, and co-work. Video enabled tools like Teams and Zoom help people keep an open dialogue through chat and create connection through face time. Cameras and whiteboard tools encourage brainstorming and idea sharing. Be sure to think through data privacy and data governance best practices.
Provide prompt support. New tools and protocols mean new questions. Create an infrastructure to provide prompt support. IT help desk, supported by virtual assistants that can answer FAQs and triage requests, helping people navigate a new ecosystem effectively. Support teams may need to scale quickly to accommodate change.
Create culture. Face-to-face communication builds relationships and trust and reduces friction. Establishing and maintaining a video-first culture increases the effectiveness of meetings and team building. Be sure to spend time at the start or close of meetings on non-business related, relationship building conversation – the same as you would in the office kitchen.
“As businesses evolve and respond to global pressures, demanding flexibility and agile work environments across departments, teams, and geographies, it’s key to shift culturally and build the right infrastructure to support a remote workforce,” said Logic20/20’s SVP of North America Travis Jones. “We help businesses implement remote work tools and technology and support the shift through training and the best practices in change management.”