Unite remote workers

How to unite remote workers?

The concept of virtual or remote teams is not a new phenomenon. However, advances in technology, globalisation, organisational structures and ways of working have meant that this approach has grown significantly over the last few years.

Thuiswerken maar toch een groepsgevoel - Hays.nl
Read time: 2½ minutes | By: Hays Marketing

A team of remote workers and managing from afar requires a different approach to managing people who are in the same room as you.

It means new communication methodologies and techniques to get the best out of each other, whilst improving organisational and personal performance.

Not having employees working in front of you can at times create obstacles to communication, collaboration, relationship building and knowledge sharing within your team. Therefore the idea of having both a unified and remote workforce can seem contradictory. But when following the below steps, you will see that this can work fine.

4 tips to unite remote workers

1. A clear communication strategy

When managing remote workers, it is important that you establish the best means of communication and keep this communication frequent. You can use, for example, Skype, Microsoft Teams or Fuze. Regular and inclusive conversations - with camaras on -  will enable you to communicate common goals and discuss what everyone needs from one antoher. Keep the conversation open and give each attendee a chance to speak and provide updates. This will build a stronger sense of team spirit and unity.

But also just a "good morning" message (including selfie from your home workplace) increases the group feeling. For example, create a WhatsApp group and let everyone use WhatApp Web. Another platform for more informal messages, such as sharing a success or asking a question, is Yammer.

With a group of remote workers, it is not recommended to only use email. The danger of constant email throughout each stage of a wider project is that you can end up with a never ending email thread, people forgetting to cc other people in, conversations getting side-tracked and the common objective being lost. Due to the lack of a camera, email is also more impersonal than the aforementioned platforms.

2. Minimise absences

Try to avoid any absences on the call – as these calls are your equivalent to team meetings. It is the only way to ensure that remote workers are being kept in the loop and part of their team.

3. Encourage knowledge sharing

Encourage a culture of knowledge sharing. For example, ask employees to create a webinar, podcast or powerpoint. This can be presented for example during a "lunch & learn" (via the aforementioned platforms such as Skype or Fuze). Kick off with the first presentation yourself.

This will help to unify your team and encourage them to appreciate one another’s value and purpose. 

4. Be perceptive

In a meeting – you can read people’s body language and facial expression to gauge mood, which can help you to identify and diffuse any possible conflicts, tensions or issues between team members. This is something you cannot get on an audio call – so where possible, try to use a platform where people can turn on their cameras and everyone can see each other.

Whilst video calling can help mitigate the problem, it can still be tricky to read people’s body language and facial expressions, particularly when you factor in aspects like camera quality and angle. Therefore you should also pay extra attention to people’s voices- identifying any changes in tone, pitch or pace- thereby nipping any potential problems in the bud.

When using the above tips, you will see that 'remote workers' and 'a team feeling' can go together very well.

More tips for working from home situation

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