We have become a nation of remote workers practically overnight. It’s a big adjustment under normal circumstances, and many teams are trying to pull off this radical cultural change under extreme stress and time pressure. We have worked virtually and engaged intentionally as a remote team for more than a decade, and we are eager to share what we’ve learned to make the transition easier for you.
1. Establish Clear Expectations of Each Team Member
We measure performance based on our results, not on hours “in the office” or length of lunch breaks. This may be a bit of a shift for companies, but it’s an important one to make, especially in a remote environment. Take the time to outline clear expectations of what each team member needs to focus on, and devote more time than usual to providing feedback and illuminating how that work connects to the current business goals.
If you find that your remote team isn’t engaged or has a high rate of turnover, it likely means they don’t have the tools, resources, and/or support to thrive. A great book I recommend reading from the founders of Basecamp is Remote: Office Not Required. It’s a quick, easy-to-read book with a lot of useful and practical tips on engaging, managing, and retaining a strong remote workforce.
2. Commit to Connecting Regularly
All-company video calls are an essential way we stay engaged. We have three per week, every other day, each with a specific agenda. We share updates, we track progress against our short-term and long-term goals, and we carve out time to celebrate achievements and milestones. We feel that seeing everyone’s face is important. We embrace cats on desks, barking dogs, and kids barging in. We find that these interruptions make us all human and strengthen our virtual connection.
3. Put Systems in Place to Facilitate Communication
Virtual communication tools catalyze opportunities to interact. We use Microsoft Teams and Sharefile to collaborate on client activities. We use Yammer to share articles, personal and family achievements, amusing GIFs, and what we’re watching on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime.
Instant messaging is another easy way to get quick questions answered or find out how the weekend went. It’s our way of having that quick “hallway” chat—regardless of where we’re located.
Weekly team calls keep you in touch. On our team calls we take a few minutes to check in on how people are doing. We also share mini wins. These calls ensure that everyone has a view of what the team is working on and where we are making an impact.
If you need assistance with the transition to remote or with keeping your team engaged, let’s talk. We’ve been working remotely for a long time and can partner with you to help keep your team and business on track during this period of uncertainty. We’ll share what works across organizations—including our own—to save you time and expensive trial and error.