It is a well-known fact that employees and employers prefer remote workers as it comes with a lot of advantages. These days, everyone wants to find the optimal balance between their professional and personal lives. Working from remote locations is great for employees, as it boosts their morale while improving their productivity.
For employers, this type of work style is a blessing in disguise, as it helps them cut down on costs. At the same time, they get to pick from a wider talent pool, as geographical restrictions no longer come into play. As a result, they can hire staff who can meet the requirements of the organization. By ensuring high levels of satisfaction among employees, there is a higher retention rate, which is a huge plus point for companies.
However, the biggest problem faced by organisations is getting remote workers to work as a team. Whether you have a small or large number of freelancers, this always tends to be the challenge. Here is a guide to improving collaboration among remote workers, so that your company continues to benefit it:
1. Ask managers to be proactive
When managers have to deal with remote employees, they cannot use conventional practices to ensure the staff is effective. Even small mistakes can cause a lot of problems when dealing with digital nomads.
You need to teach your managers to be proactive, to avoid running into issues. For example, they should make it a point to check with the remote employees regularly. They can create a schedule which allows them to communicate with digital nomads about tasks at specific times. Also, it is essential for managers to ensure that all the remote employees are on the same page, as the on-site staff.
2. Celebrate events virtually
It is essential that the digital nomads feel they are a part of the team, even though they are working in remote locations. A great way to ensure your employees feel important is to celebrate important events with them in a virtual space. For example, if it is the birthday of a remote employee, you can send a cake to his/her location and ask him/her to cut it while skyping the entire event.
Finding a unique way to celebrate important events is excellent for remote employees. As they feel important, it will start to improve the way they collaborate with the rest of the team.
3. Encourage self-management
It isn’t easy for employees to work from remote locations, as there tends to numerous distractions. For example, if they are at home, they have to deal with pets and children, while cooking food and ensuring everything is clean. On top of that, there are distractions such as watching TV shows and movies, which consume significant portions of their time.
To improve collaboration, it is essential that you invest in self-management programs for your remote employees. These initiatives will ensure the digital nomads learn how to prioritise tasks and manage their time.
4. Establish a virtual chill zone
Remember the times when you formed a bond with your colleagues while heading to the water cooler? Small talk is an essential part of team building, as it teaches your employees a sense of camaraderie and cohesion.
If your remote employees only talk about work, the conversation tends to be a bit stale. A better way is to encourage them to speak to one another, without the feeling of being monitored by your managers. You need to establish a virtual chill zone, where remote employees can express their opinions freely. Although they are small distractions, they work well in improving collaboration among digital nomads.
5. Make the most of technology
Thanks to technology, ensuring your business is in touch with your remote employees is easier than ever. There are a ton of apps available on both the Google Play Store and Apple App Store, which you can use to improve collaboration.
There are several available, including MS Teams, Wire, Slack & Front (to name but a few). They allow you to communicate with your remote employees directly. You can use this platform to send files, pin messages, and create channels for messaging all your staff at the same time, as well as manage multiple message threads.
Another popular application is Float, which allows you to keep track of your resources. With this software, you can take a look at what your remote employees are working on at the moment, and assign projects accordingly.
6. Pay attention to conversations
The beauty of technology is that you can get your point across to your remote employees, without the need of having a face-to-face conversation. The advantage is that it gives a chance for your introverted digital nomads to speak out and express their opinions.
At the same time, there is a chance of miscommunication, which can cause unnecessary problems. Remote employees are unable to look at your face or body language to understand the severity of the situation. To avoid this problem, you need to change the way you communicate with your remote employees. For example, it is an urgent task; you can make a video call so that the digital nomad understands what he/she should complete clearly.
7. Utilise team building activities
An excellent way to improve collaboration among your remote employees is to make use of team building activities. The advantage is that you don’t need to go anywhere to participate in them. Your employees can enjoy some of these activities from their home.
For example, you can host an online gaming day on Friday, if your staff is into this type of thing. By playing video games together, it teaches your employees how to work as a team and improve their communication skills. However, make it a point to restrict the number of hours you spend in this activity, to avoid it becoming unproductive.
It is evident that employers and employees opting for remote work is a sign that this trend will continue to remain popular among professionals. As more and more millennials join the workforce, knowing how to handle the needs of digital nomads is essential. With the help of this guide, facing problems with collaboration among remote employees will become a thing of the past.