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7 Ways to Boost Your Remote Team’s Productivity
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How to Prevent Conflicts That Arise While Working with Remote Teams
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5 Apps You Need Right Away to Manage Your Remote Team!
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How to Manage Your Remote Team Better Starting Tomorrow

7 Ways to Boost Your Remote Team’s Productivity

These days companies overcome geographical barriers and are more prone than ever to hire employees from other states and, even, countries that are different from theirs. In this way, they are able to take advantage of labor costs as well as tax costs. Of course, you may face certain difficulties if you work with remote teams. Your team might lag behind if there is a lack of supervision, or the productivity of your team may decrease because of different time zones. In spite of all these challenges, it is worth having a remote team. All you need is to follow some tips to boost the productivity of your remote team. Here are some ways that you may consider to help in that process.

  • Develop a good relationship between your teams

The first thing that you need to increase the productivity of your remote team is to develop a good bond between the teams. If they have a good attitude, then it will affect their workflow in a positive way. This will help you to get efficient results. You can use apps or chat rooms and let your employees contact and communicate with each other, not only on a professional level but also on a personal level. Let them be a part of important projects of your company. Keep them well-informed about all the achievements of your company and always make sure to praise your team members for their hard work.

  • Tell them what you want exactly

If you are working with remote workers, it is essential to let them know what you expect from them. Tell them at what hours you want them to be available, how they will have to share files and how they should communicate with other members of the team. If there are strong guidelines for them to follow, then it will definitely help in increasing the productivity of your remote team.

  • Online file and document sharing

In order to get the work done, employees must have access to all the files and documents that they need. There are many companies that only use emails when it comes to file sharing. This has a number of disadvantages. Sometimes, employees forget to attach the file and sometimes the document can get lost. Above all, the document that is emailed stays only in the account of the receiver and the sender. To overcome all these problems, you can make use of social intranet document management systems. This will enable you to upload and share files from anywhere and at any time and all the members of your team can see any and all the changes made.

  • Share calendars

It is quite difficult to get all the members of a remote team to get together for a meeting for even a conference call. So to cope with this difficulty, you can make use of shared calendars and plan events and meetings effortlessly. All the members of the team can see who is available and when. Once the meeting is scheduled, everyone in the team will get notified.

  • Keep track of all the work

Your team members may become less motivated if the work schedule is flexible and if you have a team that is virtual. While it is possible in a physical setting to know when your employees arrive and leave, in a virtual setting, it is not possible. You can use Timedoctor for this, as this will let you know when your team arrives and leaves if they are working or chatting with friends, and much more. Also, you can use Basecamp, which is a great project management tool to track the productivity of your remote team.

  • Use virtual meeting tools

There are a number of means that an organization or a company uses in order to keep the workers of a remote team stay attached to their work. The importance of face-to-face meetings cannot be overemphasized. The lack of it can make your remote employees feel isolated and left out from the rest of the staff. You may find companies that require their remote workers to come to their office once a week or once a month. If that is not possible with your remote team, then you can make use of virtual meeting tools to make your remote team members feel validated. Getting to see all the other team members on a video chat will definitely let them connect with each other on a more personal level and help in strengthening bonds. This, in turn, will increase their productivity.

  • Communicate with clarity

In most cases, in-person communication can be regarded as the best means of communication. When you are face-to-face with someone, you get to pick up on things such as body language and tone. But when you are working with a remote team, this is not always possible and you need to make use of technology. To increase the productivity of your remote team, make sure you take that extra care to communicate with them. Use easy, clear and understandable language when sending messages. You need to state your needs explicitly via emails.  

Managing a remote team and giving their productivity a boost can be a real challenge, but if you make use of proper and effective tools and follow the above-mentioned ways, then you can make your remote team perform at their peak.

How to Prevent Conflicts That Arise While Working with Remote Teams

Nowadays, most companies prefer to work remotely. In fact, it has now become a standard business practice for them. By choosing remote working options, the employers can make the most talented team in their business. But only a team leader knows that conflict is inevitable. Conflict can be of two types – direct conflict and passive conflict. Whatever the conflict is, the workflow of your business will be disrupted and will affect your bottom line. The problems or conflicts can get multiplied during the managing of remote teams since no physical interaction is involved there. Not only that, while working remotely, not everyone is more productive. It has also been seen that some team members take advantage of remote working and goof off while they are supposed to be working. It is also difficult to contact staff who work from a distance at the time of an emergency.

In other words, it can be said that there are certain difficulties in the logistics, but it is not that difficult to a handle a remotely distributed team efficiently. In order to prevent conflicts that arise while working with remote teams, and manage the team effectively, you can follow these effective practices discussed below.

  • Have an official communication system:

To ensure team cohesiveness, you can fix meetings daily or sometimes multiple times in a day, depending on the type of business or work you do. It is true that there are chances for misunderstanding between remote teammates who are scattered across the world. So for a more effective way of communication, the meetings can be recorded, so that if anyone is confused about any topic, s/he can check back to the recorded history. Effective communication systems can be the key to lead a remote team successfully. Set up a system for official communication and make sure that employees comply.

  • Find out the suitable tools for communication:

According to the productivity professionals, a meeting via video conference is the most effective way to engage remote participants. Otherwise, on a conference call, employees can be engaged in multiple tasks, or they can be out of their working zone.

There are a number of tools available for communications including social networks, digital whiteboards, chat rooms and many others. Though email is the most widely used among others, it is often not that efficient. For better communication, you can train your employees to use other communication tools, but video conferencing is a must-have tool while working with your remote team.

  • Closely monitor your team to observe the dynamics:

It is a good idea to break your work up into teams to get more productive work. In order to do so, you have to make sure that your team members are well trained to use the tools for effective intra-team communication. If cfor instance, the team lead cannot control a certain team too well, other team members will do work that makes no sense and is not pertinent to the larger plan. Therefore, every manager of your remotely located teams has to have great communication skills and maintain accountability to you and the other executives. They should also have a good grasp of all the activities of their team, and be quick to understand what is going on.

  • Set some goals and make your people responsible:

Remote workers are most susceptible to the temptation to slack off. That is why it is highly important to lay down some rules and responsibilities for every remote employee and make sure that these are stringently adhered to.

  • Choose your remote partner wisely:

You should pick people who have sound character and who can take initiative. It is strongly recommended that you take an insightful and thorough interview before hiring them, and verify all the references. If you sense a bad attitude in them or you feel something is not right, then you should not ignore your gut feeling.

Working with remote teams implies adopting alternative strategies. In order to prevent conflict and get more effective remote teams, you might have to exert yourself more in every aspect of your work life.

However, the upside of working with remote teams is huge. This is the reason that nowadays, most offices prefer to work with remote or distributed teams. If the teams are managed properly, they can be proved to be highly effective for your business.

5 Apps You Need Right Away to Manage Your Remote Team!

The trend of hiring remote teams is something that more and more companies and nonprofits are recognizing and welcoming with open arms. For years, there have been myths surrounding the subject of hiring remote teams for work. A few of the common myths were: Remote workers aren’t as highly skilled, remote workers are not as dedicated to the company as regular workers are, or that it is difficult to find reliable remote teams. With these myths being proven to be inaccurate and/or misleading, having a remote team is no longer taboo. With the growing acceptance of remote working, it is a party for freelancers. Freelancers, retired professionals, qualified housewives, students, and people who may find it difficult to be physically present at the office are now able to find jobs in the market without facing any sort of obstacles.

However, that is not to say that the system of remote hiring is without its problems. Apart from the fact that there can be times that remote workers find it difficult to coordinate their tasks and schedule with the rest of the office, there is the risk of remote workers becoming psychologically isolated, or distanced, from the rest of the office. However, there is a way to avoid that. There is certain office coordination and employee tracking software available, which can serve to maintain a basic minimum communicative connection between the employer and the employee, as well as between the various people of a team. A few of these apps are mentioned below in no particular order of prominence and effectiveness:

Skype: This is really the first thing to come off the top of anyone’s head. Skype is one of the finest real-time messaging and video-chat service in existence. iIt also is the most popular VoIP software in use at the moment. It’s not really surprising that it’s the most professionally-accepted means of inter-employee or inter-group (team) communication in today’s era.

Skitch: This one is not available anymore, but older versions of it can still be found and downloaded online.  Its specialty is that it allows you to capture screenshots very quick. You can edit the screenshots in this app before sending them, which helps to communicate the exact plan or order in fine detail and with the most precise directions.

Dropbox: This is one of the most popular mediums of cloud storage. Here, you can keep records of all work done by every single employee for a specific time period.  All folders and files on the company network can be saved here under the appropriate heads. In this way, an employer/team head is able to keep track of all the work done within stipulated deadlines. It also is helpful as an unbiased evaluation of the performance of employees; whether office-goers or remote.  A huge advantage of Dropbox is that all you have to do is install dropbox into all the systems and then share it with all the computer systems you want to. Dropbox has the provision of restoring any deleted file or folder within thirty days of deletion.

Slack: This is one of the greatest apps. It has brought about a sea of change to the world of virtual business integration and communication. Although it has not quite displaced Skype completely, it is used simultaneously with Skype in a lot of places. It has all but killed professional emailing, though. A large part of its popularity can be attributed to its excellent in-built group communication system.

Wunderlist: This is mainly a task management tool. It’s simple user interface and easy-to-use controls are the reasons that have made it so popular. Owing to this, it is really easy to track all employee activity and the inbuilt task management tool allows you to prioritize your tasks.

In conclusion, these are the top five applications that help to ease the process of remote team recruitment and remote worker management. Every single company looking to recruit teams that will be working remotely should pay heed and make use of at least one of these apps.

How to Manage Your Remote Team Better Starting Tomorrow

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Working with a virtual team of remote hires has many upsides like most employers discover. As your office overhead costs come down and you begin working with the best of talent from across the world, you’ll soon be thanking yourself for making the decision when you did. However, like all workplaces, whether real-time or virtual, you’ll face a bunch of challenges. In fact, working with freelancers can change the dynamics of the workplace completely. On the other hand, technology with its many developments has made it extremely easy to iron out the snags and continue to run your operations efficiently. Here are some of the most common issues many employers face and how to work your way around them.

Aligning and Coordination

Given that different people are working on the various segments of the operations, it becomes very vital to ensure that their activities are carefully aligned with one another. If you have a small enterprise, you might prefer to oversee the functioning yourself. But, if you run a larger setup, you could assign a project manager to run the operations and provide you with regular updates. Thus, communication is the key. Choose a single platform where all conversations and messages can be exchanged. In this way, you can instantly instantly convey each instruction to every member of the team. Request that everyone send in acknowledgements that they have received the messages.

You might also want to schedule a one-on-one meeting with each of your remote hires, at least once a week. Make yourself available to answer questions and solve problems. To keep your team working efficiently, you’ll need to create a personal connection with them.

Ensuring Timely Task Completion

Making sure that deadlines are met on time is very essential for the business to run smoothly. You’ll want to ensure that you’re able to deliver products and services on time to your customers. To make sure everyone is performing on schedule despite the time zone differences, create spreadsheets or use any other web application. Put down all the tasks and deadlines and ask your team members to update it each time they complete an assignment. This strategy can also help you in more ways than one. The workflow is maintained and each worker knows when one segment is complete and it’s time to begin with the next. When it’s time to make payments for the work the remote workers do for you, you’ll only need to check the spreadsheet or app.

Dealing with Freelancer Personal Issues

Like your in-house team, you’ll have to deal with situations where your people are sick, need to take vacations or have personal and family issues to manage. A smart employee prepares for such situations in advance. Plan your team in such as way so that even if one freelancer is not available, you have a backup person who can deal with the tasks. If you can find remote hires that are adept at managing more than one activity, they could help you overcome this snag. You could also schedule the different stages of the project in such a way that even if there are delays in receiving assignments, the deadline of the project is not affected. Advance planning always pays off.

Locating Files Easily

Given the volume of emails and communication exchanged back and forth, locating files and assignments when they are sent as attachments can become tricky. A better option is to get your team to use cloud storage and allow access to multiple stakeholders. Create different folders of the various tasks and assignments and get your remote hires to upload data in the correct folders. This strategy can help not just you, but also your freelancers to locate the files easily.

Any kind of business has to deal with operational challenges from time to time. But, a smart entrepreneur can work around them using the appropriate technology, and ensure that the enterprise continues to perform efficiently.

 

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