This is a guest post by Alex Brown, Senior Marketing Manager | ProjectManager.com
It can be difficult to know how to keep those coffee shop employees engaged. As more and more employees take advantage of flexible work schedules, and contract teams become more common, it is vital that employers know how to make the most out of their remote teams productivity.
Like it or not, a more casual work life is catching on and new technology tools are available that make remote work more productive than ever (unless they have a cat ???? ).
So what are some effective ways that are helping companies reap the rewards of remote teams?
Use Online Collaboration Tools
Software tools like these have been around for almost two decades now. They are, however, becoming more effective each year with better collaboration and sharing features.
You can choose to go for a ‘wider’ approach and use a process management tool that allows you to manage other processes as well as your team’s projects, or specific project management software if your job demands more specific project management tools such as automatically updated Gantt chart schedules.
Either way, both types of tools are excellent for improving your team’s communication and offer a lot more transparency so that managers can see their team’s progress real-time.
When your team is spread out, tools like these help keep everything in one centralized place and keep everyone on track.
There are many downloadable PM tools, but with a remote team your tool needs to be updated in real-time with online, cloud-based capabilities. That way your team member in New York can wake up and see all of the work your team member is finishing up in London as it happens.
Get Better Video Conferencing Tools
Have as many of these as possible. Checking in with your whole team in virtual meetings will keep your remote teams connected and build relationships that are crucial to success that you cannot build simply through chats and emails.
Video conferencing tools are adding new features each year like screen-sharing, noise cancellation and speaker highlighting that emphasizes the screen of the speaker to the rest of conference attendees.
If your team can meet in person once or twice, that will help build team camaraderie and help you understand the different personalities of your team and how to manage them best.
Engage Them in the Company Culture
Working remote can get a little lonely. Many managers give up on company culture when it comes to remote teams, but it is a good investment in team productivity for the same reasons it is a good investment for in-person teams.
The only difference is you need to get a little more creative. Share your favorite break hobbies and promote competitions among your team. What’s your favorite music streaming app? How about creating a throwback Thursday playlist to share with your team?
Make Tuesdays T-rex Tuesday and have everyone share a gif of a T-rex (or check out this article to learn 13 Ridiculous Things You Can Do With An Inflatable T-Rex Costume).
Do weird things like these to keep your team members engaged and having fun – even if they all may be in different cities, countries or continents.
This type of worker is becoming more and more common and it is important that you (manager) know now that the tried and true of 9-5 employee management won’t work with this new crew.
Implement some of these tips and tools we’ve mentioned above and you will see your employees happier and more productive in ways that are more creative and innovative than in the past.
Ultimately that’s what’s best about having remote teams – they’ll think of your next marketing or development strategy that otherwise would have been crushed in the cubicles of yesterday.
Alex writes about online project software, collaboration tools, PM best practices, and other tech trends at ProjectManager.com.