As many businesses have shifted to remote operations in response to the pandemic, teams struggle to maintain productivity and collaboration without the same physical space. Organizations must find alternative ways to improve team performance while working remotely to maximize success.
These strategies include:
- establishing clear expectations through effective leadership,
- listening and giving feedback,
- encouraging autonomy and creativity through innovation,
- fostering the culture of your business as early as the onboarding process,
- investing in your talents, creating a sense of community within the team through various team building activities,
- giving positive reinforcements so your team stays productive.
By implementing these methods into their remote work environment, companies can ensure that teams remain productive and engaged even when working from home. We will discuss below the six alternative ways to improve remote team performance:
1. Effective Leadership
As many industries navigate the new normal and transition to a remote working environment, your remote workers must be on the same page to improve team productivity. Good leadership is vital; managers must set clear expectations among remote employees. This ensures that your remote workers involved understand their roles and are on the same page with you.
Leaders are good at goal-setting, but they should also be able to regularly communicate updates on the company’s vision, goals, challenges, and successes with their remote teams through different channels such as meetings or consultations. One can leverage various communication channels and instant messaging to remind remote team members about your company goals.
Transparency is another crucial element of effective communication and effective leadership. Activities such as discussing the company’s five-year plan can help your remote employees to focus. Sharing the vision and goals with your remote workers can also encourage employee engagement. This can be done through regular virtual meetings, email updates, or regular one-on-one checking.
Leaders should model the behavior they want to see in their team. If leaders want their remote teams to be collaborative, they should work collaboratively with their remote teams. Leaders should communicate effectively with their remote teams if they want their remote teams to be communicative. By modeling the desired behavior, leaders can set the tone for their remote employees and create a culture of success.
Leaders can also encourage participation and involvement by involving the team in decision-making and seeking their input on important issues. This can be done through different methods:
- team brainstorming sessions
- video calls
- individual feedback sessions
When employees feel like their input is valued and considered, they are more likely to feel invested in the team’s productivity and success.
Leaders should provide their remote teams with the support and resources they need to succeed. This can include training and development opportunities, access to other tools to work smarter, new technology, and even emotional support when needed. When your remote workforce feels supported, they are more likely to be engaged and motivated.
For example, a manager of remote teams could hold weekly video meetings to discuss progress toward the company’s goals, provide updates on new initiatives, and ask for feedback from their remote teams. They could also create a shared document where team members can collaborate and contribute ideas. The manager could also provide access to training and development resources to help remote employees improve their productivity and overcome challenges. By taking these steps, the manager creates a culture of transparency, collaboration, and support, which can enhance remote team productivity.
2. Listening and Giving Feedback
Appreciation and recognition of hard work can positively motivate productive work. As a manager, taking the time to acknowledge and give credit to remote employees for their exceptional work can significantly impact their productivity and employee wellbeing. Studies have shown that around 72% of employees believe that receiving recognition from their employer will motivate them to perform better.
However, it’s important to note that recognition should not be a substitute for a genuine performance appraisal. An effective performance appraisal should include an honest discussion about potential areas for improvement with employees. By discussing areas of weakness, employees will feel more comfortable sharing their concerns and identifying ways to minimize the impact of their shortcomings and improve business processes.
In companies, teams play a crucial role in achieving organizational goals, and it’s important to motivate employees to link their individual performance with team productivity. One way to do this is through team performance appraisals, which emphasize the role of the team in achieving organizational goals. Employees are encouraged to continue to work together and improve their productivity by providing feedback and recognition for team performance.
3. Encouraging Autonomy and Creativity Through Innovation
Business leaders must think outside the box and promote innovative practices within their remote teams. Innovation does not have to involve extravagant changes but can be as simple as implementing flexible work hours or shifting to working remotely. By implementing successful work schedules like the 9/80 work schedule, 4-day workweek, or open vacation schedule, businesses can improve productivity and employee satisfaction through employee work life balance.
Managing flexible schedules requires dedication and the implementation of time tracking tools to measure productivity. There are available free tracking tools, such as Time Clock Wizard, that enable you to track remote employees in different locations. You can also track their tasks through the task management feature to ensure their progress.
Providing remote employees with a natural and comfortable workspace can foster creativity and innovation, and flexible work hours allow employees to achieve better work life balance, resulting in happier and increased employee productivity. While some industries, like manufacturing, may find it challenging to implement flexible hours, simple solutions like offering employees the freedom to choose their start time can still have a positive impact.
Allowing employees the autonomy to choose their work schedule gives them a sense of control and encourages initiative in the workplace. This approach can reduce employees’ daily stress and increase their job satisfaction. By creating an environment that welcomes and encourages innovation, businesses can boost their performance, improve productivity, and stay ahead of the competition.
4. Fostering the Culture of Your Business
While many small business owners prioritize skill when hiring new employees, it is also crucial to consider cultural fit. Cultural fit involves evaluating whether a new potential employee will mesh well with the existing teams and how they will impact the team’s performance.
Beyond cultural fit, small business owners should consider new hires’ potential and soft skills. Interviewers can weed out mismatches and identify candidates who will complement and strengthen their productive team by looking at some skills, such as project management and time management. This boosts group performance in the long run.
Investing in talent can have significant benefits for small businesses. By prioritizing cultural fit and soft skills in the hiring process, small business owners can build a strong, productive team aligned with the company’s vision and values. This fosters a positive company culture, improving employee morale and engagement. A strong company culture can also attract top talent, helping small businesses compete with larger companies.
In addition to attracting top talent, maintaining a positive company culture also involves recognizing and rewarding good performance. This is especially important for remote teams, where the lack of physical proximity can make employees feel disconnected and undervalued. By implementing a rewards system for remote workers, businesses can create a culture of appreciation and foster a sense of teamwork and motivation, ultimately leading to increased productivity and job satisfaction.
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Giving positive reinforcements as your team stays productive
In any workplace, recognizing and rewarding good performance is crucial in maintaining a positive and productive environment. Rewarding your remote team for their hard work not only incentivizes them to keep up their performance but also helps to build a culture of recognition and appreciation within the organization.
It is important to create a culture of recognizing and rewarding good work in the first place. This can be done by setting clear performance expectations and goals and acknowledging and rewarding members who meet or exceed them. When good work is consistently recognized and rewarded, it becomes part of the workplace culture and motivates employees to strive for excellence.
However, not all rewards are created equal, and it’s important to tailor them to each team member’s individual preferences and motivations. For example, an employee who is a working mother might value extra vacation days more than a monetary bonus, as it allows her to spend more time with her family. Conversely, a younger, single employee might prefer a monetary reward or travel benefits. By personalizing rewards, employees feel recognized and valued, increasing the perceived value of the reward beyond its objective value.
Additionally, rewards don’t always have to be monetary. Allowing members to attend retreats or participate in team-building activities can also be effective. These activities recognize good performance and foster bonding and collaboration, improving communication and better team performance.
Overall, rewards play a crucial role in boosting team performance. By establishing a culture of recognition and appreciation and tailoring rewards to members’ individual preferences, employees are motivated to strive for excellence and feel valued and recognized for their hard work. Whether it’s a bonus, extra vacation days, or team-building activities, rewards are essential in building positive and productive workplace culture.
5. Investing in Your Talents
Rather than solely focusing on new technology and tools, a company can benefit greatly by investing in its members’ growth and development. A person who feels valued and supported is likelier to be engaged and productive in better overall performance.
Another way to invest in talents is by offering career advancement opportunities. Employees who feel they have a clear career path within the company are more likely to stay engaged and committed. By offering promotions, increased responsibilities, and the chance to lead projects, a company can encourage its remote employees to grow and take on more significant roles within the team’s processes.
6. Creating a Sense of Community Within the Team Through Various Team Building Activities
Team building activities can be a great way to foster team bonding and improve remote team productivity. When team members feel under the weather or overwhelmed, it can be difficult to stay productive and motivated, especially when working remotely. Team building activities such as fun, laid-back, informal video meetings can help address this issue by providing a fun and informal way for team members to stay connected and perform remote work together.
When remote team members participate in team building activities, they can communicate with each other in a more informal setting. This can help break down barriers that may exist in a remote work environment, allow team members to get to know each other better, promote employee wellbeing, and increase productivity. Improved communication can lead to more effective collaboration and problem-solving in the workplace.
Team building activities also encourage creative thinking, problem solving skills, improved communication skills, and overall good mental well being. When team members are given a challenge or task to complete together, they can pool their ideas and brainstorm solutions. This can help them develop new approaches and perspectives to apply to their work processes and help promote employee engagement.
It can also be a fun and rewarding way to recognize and celebrate members’ accomplishments. When members feel appreciated and recognized, they are more likely to stay motivated and engaged in their work. Increased motivation and engagement then increase members’ productive hours.
When members have strong relationships with each other, they are more likely to work well together and perform at a higher level. Team building activities can help create a sense of camaraderie and trust among team members, which can translate into better performance and results.
While some team building activities can be costly, many low-cost or even free options can be just as effective. For example, one can host virtual meetings for a board game night. A potluck dinner is also a great way for members to bond and connect.
Many businesses have shifted to remote operations. While this has allowed for increased flexibility and reduced costs, it has also presented challenges for teams trying to maintain productivity and collaboration. With the loss of the traditional physical workspace, remote teams must find new ways to stay connected, motivated, and focused. Despite the challenges, with the right tools and strategies in place, businesses can continue to thrive and be productive in the new normal of remote work. By implementing the abovementioned strategies, businesses can maximize success in their remote work environment and maintain productivity and collaboration among their teams.