When you have a team of employees doing remote work on the net from home it can be a challenge to build team spirit or to motivate them as you would in an office. You can’t have informal chats around the water cooler or the luxury of being able to praise or discuss failure face-to-face. However, it’s vital to find a way of replicating this interaction with remote workers. Otherwise they can feel mentally isolated and detached, leading to collaboration and productivity problems.
So how can you build a team sprit with staff doing remote work on internet from home? Here are six tips that can help:
1) Create a clear vision on your goals – Ensure everyone understands what you are trying to achieve and why their contribution is important
2) Make time for small talk – Encourage internet employees to share funny stories, chat about the sports and have informal chats as you would in the office. Instant messenger and Skype are perfect toolsfor these brief ‘getting to know you’ conversations. Informal chats go a long way towards team and rapport building, which in turn leads to improved collaboration and productivity amongst internet employees.
3) Check progress regularly – Tools like 5pm Project Management Software and Dropbox make it possible to check the progress of progress at any time and from any location. This virtual equivalent of looking over an internet employee’s shoulder should be good motivation for them to work productively even when doing work on the net from home.
4) Measure output in results, rather than hours – Working with remote workers needs a slightly different approach to that in a 9-5 office. A key benefit for internet employees is the ability to work a more flexible work schedule. Using Hive Desk remote workers can clock in and out of the projects they are working on. It also provides you with productivity data and screen captures so you can monitor activity and encourage remote staff to work productively.
5) Create a team identity – Design a logo or motto with your mission statement. Send out t-shirts and baseball caps with the team name and encourage your internet employees to wear them on Skype or conference calls.
6) Organise weekly progress reports – Find time to get the whole team together onto a group video or voice call so you can discuss problems, offer praise or talk about where things are going wrong. Bringing your whole team together into a virtual meeting is a great way of making sure you’re all on the same page and problems are discussed openly.
Having internet employees working remotely certainly poses some challenges. But remote working is going to major trend, so it’s important to make good use of the communication and productivity tools available (like Skype, instant messenger and Hive Desk) to ensure remote workers feel like part of the team and stay motivated so you can keep projects on track even though people’s desks might be many miles apart.