What’s more important than technology to remote teams?
Until lately, or until they experienced working with remote teams, many leaders would have put technology as the number one priority for their teams. It seems logical: you can’t work efficiently and productively without the right tools, can you?
If there’s one thing that’s become clear over the last months, it’s that connection is more important than anything else. We still want to feel like part of the team even though we’re no longer sharing a workspace. Isolation can suck the life out of a person, draining their energy, creativity, and motivation.
Technology can’t replace communication, but it can support it, and it’s from communication that connections are built and maintained.
Today I’m going to share some tips you might like to use to help reduce the feeling of isolation which remote working can bring.
- Say good morning. When we walk into the workplace, we say good morning to the people we work with. Why not do it from wherever you are? Log into your collaboration or chat tools and say hello. Not only does it help your team to have regular contact with you, it makes you accessible and available should they need you.
- Schedule a regular chat time. This is like an informal team meeting – a chat over coffee. When you work from home, there are no set workdays or hours, so it’s possible that some team members won’t be online when the others are. By scheduling a regular meeting, everyone knows they need to work around that time. It keeps everyone in contact and if you call it a chat, rather than a meeting, your team can talk about their days, share ideas, ask questions and connect at a deeper level. Of course, it’s also a great time to find out how your team is faring. Use a tool like Zoom or your company’s collaboration hub so you can see each other as you chat. It’s much more personal.
- Encourage collaboration. Make sure your company provides user-friendly collaboration tools where teams can share their work, work jointly on a file or project and chat about it at the same time. You might have something like Microsoft Teams which lets people chat, meet, call, and collaborate all in one place, no matter where they are. Just remember to have different channels for work-related conversations and for a chat. If you have to scroll through lots of chat to find the data, it’s a sure way to lose information.
- Give people the right tools. This is where technology can play a role. A study by Zogby Analytics found “41% of workers surveyed say that their company doesn’t have (or doesn’t make known) a standard set of mobile communication tools for the organization.” As a result, team members rely on text and messaging apps for communication which means important information may be lost or not shared on time or with the right people. Although the survey is three years old, the situation does not seem to have changed much.
- Celebrate together. When you reach a milestone when someone has a great idea when someone goes above and beyond when it’s a birthday… Find something to celebrate together as a team. Celebrations are a wonderful way to enhance the feeling of connection wherever you are.
To be productive, your remote teams need the right tools and strategies for effective communication and collaboration. Digital technology is important and so are the guidelines you put in place for how to use your systems, however, nothing beats good old conversation for dispelling the sense of isolation.