15 Clearcut Ways to Keep a Remote Team Connected
by Joe Frabotta
There are many benefits to running a remote team, including cost-effectiveness, efficiency, satisfaction of employees, and having access to a wider talent pool. However, it also comes with its fair share of challenges. One is that team members may feel disconnected from one another and the company as a whole. To help you overcome this particular problem, this article will help you learn how to keep a remote team connected. Here are 15 ways to do just that.
Encourage Quality Home Office Environments
Remote workers could be operating from a beach, their bed, a train, or any number of other locations. In many instances, these aren’t set up for working and can leave a worker disconnected from the rest of the team. You should encourage staff members to use a proper home office or coworking space so that they have access to all the technology needed to stay connected. For instance, Anyplace Select provides a webcam, fast WiFi, and a microphone to facilitate quick and effective communication.
Have Back-Up Internet Options
Fast, reliable, and stable internet is the key to staying connected. However, there’s always a chance it can cut out at a crucial moment. Having a backup option can overcome this problem. You could consider providing your remote team with an unlimited mobile data plan so that if their WiFi disconnects, they can log straight back in using 5g. Alternatively, encourage team members to work near a coworking space or cafe where they can get back online if their home office internet goes down.
Use the Same Remote Work Tools
The rise of remote work has been enabled because of improved software technologies. If you’re not utilizing remote work tools, then you could be missing out. These help team members manage their workloads and coordinate with colleagues. Of course, everyone on your team should be using the same systems, whether that’s Slack, Gitlab, or anything else.
Utilize Asynchronous Communication
Remote teams are spread out, often globally. As a result, they tend to work across time zones. Your team could include a developer in Devon, a marketing manager in Marseille, and a sales executive in Sydney. This makes it difficult for messages to be sent and received both instantly and simultaneously. Rather, communication is asynchronous. Fortunately, your company can really thrive using asynchronous communication. It helps teams stay connected by encouraging proactive, mindful, and stress-free communication.
Hold Regular Appraisal Meetings
Creating successful remote teams is all about generating a sense of belonging. Remote workers are often completing tasks in solitude and don’t get the immediate positive affirmation that traditional office workers receive. You can help team members feel valued and connect to the cause by holding regular appraisal meetings.
These are dedicated video meetings or phone calls that discuss what an employee is doing well and where they can improve. It’s also a chance for them to voice their concerns about their workload or the company culture, allowing the business to improve as well.
Work on Your Workflow
Many businesses are so busy doing work that they don’t have time to put proper processes and systems in place. Workflow is a system that all team members use to track progress and keep on top of tasks and deadlines. It works automatically, meaning that team members are always connected to what needs doing, even if they can’t contact colleagues directly. Utilize software to coordinate the setting and completing of tasks.
Organize Annual Meetups
Face-to-face meetings, even if infrequent, can really take work relationships to the next level. Video calls go some way to turning a faceless employee into a human being but nothing beats physical meetups. Once a year is a good target to aim for.
If possible, fly all team members to a single location, where you can bond while exploring a new city. Many remote companies will invite all their employees to places like Split, Tallinn, or Chiang Mai, which are known to be great digital nomad cities. This allows your team to continue working while also enjoying a vacation so that they bond and connect more deeply.
Build a Strong Company Culture
In the days when business took place in a single office environment, it was easy to build a company culture. Staff members were generally from the same area and of a similar background. The culture developed organically. As a 100% remote company, you may have to work a bit harder on this. With a global workforce, try to find the things that all workers have in common and build on this to create a unique brand image. This will be something that everyone can get behind and identify with. Help them feel like part of something important.
Prioritize Mental Wellness
Remote workers often don’t know when to shut off and, as a result, are prone to experience burnout. This isn’t good either for them or the success of your business. Therefore, it’s important to become educated on mental health for remote workers. Help them to manage their own emotional wellbeing, encouraging them to take breaks. You could offer free access to meditation or self-improvement tools, as well. This will improve the sustainability of your business but also help remote workers feel connected to your brand.
Share Relevant Documents
There’s nothing more frustrating than logging on to begin work, only to find that you can’t access an important document. If the owner of the document lives in California but the remote worker who needs access lives in Thailand, then they may have to wait several hours before getting a response. Make sure all employees know how to keep documents open for all team members so that relevant information is available as and when workers need it.
Use a Company Email Address
By creating a dedicated work email address for all team members, you can prevent important messages from getting lost. Many remote workers won’t have a dedicated work account, meaning that your important company updates are going to their personal email addresses along with a wave of spam and newsletters. Make messages easy to find and hard to miss by only communicating to and from company email addresses.
Set Clearly Defined Goals
To ensure that your entire team is moving in the same direction, you need to set clear goals. Give each team member a personalized list of goals. This could cover daily goals, weekly goals, monthly goals, and even annual goals. It helps them ensure that they’re on the right track and that they’re helping the company progress. Make sure these goals are easily accessible and fully understood. Team members should be able to reach you for further clarification if needed.
A well-connected team is one that feels appreciated for their hard work. When team members exceed expectations and go beyond the goals you set, why not reward them? Perhaps you could offer them extra paid leave or cover their flight or accommodation costs. Offering rewards like this helps keep employees motivated and engaged with the aims of the company.
Hold Employees Accountable
It can be hard to keep track of your employees when they work remotely, meaning they can fly under the radar. In some cases, this may lead to a team member not completing their work on time or to a high enough standard. Other staff members will notice this and, if nothing is done, will feel that your company engages in unequal treatment. Rectify this by putting processes in place that ensure workers are held accountable for the work they do.
Respect the Freedom of Your Remote Workers
Remote workers are a special breed. They appreciate freedom more than other kinds of workers and therefore like to stick to their own schedule. Don’t be too demanding of them, allowing them to travel as much as they please and do work for other clients. As long as they’re delivering results, that’s all that matters. If you maintain this respect for your entire team, then they’ll be enthusiastic with their colleagues and managers. They’ll also buy into the goals of your business.
Now that you know how to keep a remote team connected, you can start taking advantage of the incredible benefits that a remote workforce offers. Help your team members to build their dream home office so they can be both productive and connected. Implementing the 15 tips above will help you build a team that is motivated and excited about working towards your business ambitions.
Where to next? Find flexible month-to-month rentals across the globe on Anyplace.
Joe Frabotta is the Director of Marketing at Anyplace. He's a part-time nomad, traveling + working throughout the year but also having a home base in the mountains of Asheville, NC. When he's not working, you'll probably find him playing guitar, doing a section hike on the Appalachian Trail, or cooking up a storm in the kitchen.