13 Ways to Strengthen Morale and Maximize Efficiency in your Remote Team
During the pandemic, remote working has become the new normal for many organizations. We have grown accustomed to attending meetings while at home through video conferences. We have swapped our offices for our living rooms, bedrooms or home-offices. But some businesses have been working remotely for years already. There is much we can learn from them and what they discovered about this method of working before the virus or the lockdown was even thought of.
As we move into the future, remote working is bound to become more common. With these 13 tips based on the experience of organizations already well versed in remote working, you and your team can adapt to this new reality with ease and fluidity.
13 Tips for Effective Remote Working
Our first point is simple but powerful. The introduction of fun can help adjust a team to this new way of working. Group coffee breaks, game sessions, or spontaneous musical breaks can bring optimism into the team and often spark creativity in the group.
2. Introduce New Routines
Vital to any workplace is the concept of shared routines. They help to bring colleagues together in a fun and unique way, and in so doing ultimately increase productivity and effectiveness by creating strong team bonds.
Think about the strains that are particular to working remotely, and try and think of ways to alleviate these. Maybe a weekly quiz? Prizes? A weekly happy hour? These can help to make the otherwise impersonal and cold virtual working experience more human.
3. Make Your Meetings Home-Working Oriented
Even if there are only a few colleagues working remotely while the rest are in person, it is vital to ensure that everything you plan for your team is based on the concept of remote working. This makes sure that no one is left out of the process, and all activities are optimized for this type of working. Software such as MURAL or Miro can help with this.
4. Emphasize Collaboration
Video conference meetings can be dull and unengaging. Introduce and integrate tools and methods of making the meetings as collaborative as possible to keep the team energized and involved. Use a voting system to help decide on what to talk about in the meeting, or give the role of meeting leader to a different colleague each time.
5. Have Video Meetings Often
Due to the nature of remote working, employees may be on opposite sides of the planet. Because of this, it’s important to maintain the bonds between each colleague, as the usual casual chats that accompany traditional office working are no longer present. The informal nature of each person being in their homes is all a part of the team-building process.
6. Make Your Office “Base” Fluid
Due to having no fixed office, it may be tempting to set up an “HQ” or “base” – a local office among your colleagues which are considered the home of your team. It’s important not to do this when remote working. The benefit of this is that the “home” of your business and team can be anywhere, and as such the center of the work is wherever each of your colleagues is. This gives them ownership over the work.
7. Focus on Clarity
This is a rule which should be followed anyway, but it is especially important when working remotely. Ensure that your teams are clear on what is being discussed and worked on. Also, make sure there are clear goals you are all trying to achieve. Remote working can be difficult at times, and it can make it harder to communicate. This makes it even more important that everyone involved is on the same page.
8. Be Sensitive About Work Times
Remember that the world of remote working has no time zone. For some team members, it may be midnight when it is two in the afternoon for you. If it is impossible to accommodate everyone, make compromises. Everyone should feel equally valued in the team.
9. Encourage Individuality
The great benefit of remote working is integrating a diverse workforce. Team members could be from completely different cultures and regions to the rest. Encourage everyone to be themselves and bring their own mindsets to the meetings. This not only helps the team to bond and work better together but also brings a diversity of thought to the team.
10. The Employee is the Priority
It can be easy to forget about each individual employee when remote working. Make sure to take time to check in on each employee and team member. Build this into the technology of remote working and keep it in mind from the beginning.
11. Work With Other Organizations
You are not alone in making these massive changes. Other companies like yours, including ones local to you, are in the same boat. Have crossover meetings with peers and colleagues from other companies. Raise issues about remote working and work through them together. The more minds the better, and you will all benefit in the future. Goodwill between organizations is only a good thing.
12. Team-Bonding Through Purpose
It can be easy for team members to feel isolated when working remotely. The most powerful way of reinforcing a team mindset is to be clear on your goals as a group. Have that as your central focus at every meeting, and make it something to rally around. This will not only improve morale, but also productivity.
13. Recognize All Victories, Large and Small
This is a big change for everyone. It may be stressful, time-consuming, and expensive at the beginning. To alleviate these stresses only our workforce, make sure to celebrate every victory no matter what. Project complete? Have a drink together via video conference in the evening. These types of social interactions and fixes are vital to maintaining effective remote working.