In the modern era, more and more teams are making the transition to work virtually. This movement to online platforms may challenge management staff and office productivity; however, with the right knowledge, it is possible to establish a strong, interconnected, and effective remote team. For years, I have managed global teams through online interfaces, even working long-term with employees I never had the chance to physically meet. Through this blog post, I will share with you my advice for organizations moving to virtual platforms.
Develop and Cultivate Trust with your Manager
This is a primary concern for many managers as they transition to a remote team. Leaders may find it difficult to trust that work will be completed or that their employees will be at their top productivity levels. There is a basis for these fears; some team members will take advantage of this lack of oversight and mismanage their time. However, this is not the case for all employees and by increasing trust through open communication and visibility, teams can continue to function effectively even virtually. Ensure that you and your work are visible with frequent updates to your manager. Send weekly emails regarding your work status and the goals you have met. Stay connected with your team and keep informed about the ongoings of your organization.
Communication is incredibly important to all workplaces, but it can be easy to fall off the grid when working virtually. Make an effort to increase communication with your team through visibility updates and check-ins. Additionally, remain present during virtual communication. In the age of Skype and Zoom, conducting online face-to-face interactions are relatively easy, but it can be equally easy to mentally disengage from these calls. Refrain from muting yourself and actively engage in the discussions instead. Remember that your word choice and voice tone matters a great deal when communicating through phone or video calls. I often make an effort to answer phone calls while standing to ensure that my voice sounds strong, confident, and professional. By increasing communication and remaining engaged with virtual meetings, your remote team will stay connected and high-functioning.
Minimize Outside Distractions
Whether in the workplace or at home, we are all faced with different distractions. Create a list of things that are frequent distractions and work actively to limit them. Whether this means moving to a different space in your house to reduce noise or limiting social media use during work hours. Decreasing these distractions will increase your overall productivity. Designating a room, desk, or even table area as your workspace may increase your overall focus and attention during your remote work. Make sure to keep this area clean and organized and ensure that it is removed from possible distractions.
Set Important Limits
Working from home can blur the boundaries between personal and professional life, causing high-focused individuals to lead long and intensive workdays. To keep a healthy work-life balance, make sure to know when you’re going to log in and out. Keep track of your hours and ensure that you are not exceeding a healthy amount of work. In addition to this, take regular breaks during the workday to hydrate, snack, or even complete small household chores. Similar to meeting with your co-workers in the break room, these brief moments away from work will increase your productivity when you return to your computer. Through these steps, you can create a healthy routine for your virtual work life.
I hope these tips will help you become more comfortable with virtual teams and increase the productivity of your organization. By taking simple steps to increase employee visibility, enhance communication, decrease possible distractions, and create a healthy work-life balance, your remote team will be set up for success.
Dima Ghawi is the founder of a global talent development company with a primary mission for advancing individuals in leadership. Through keynote speeches, training programs, and executive coaching, Dima has empowered thousands of professionals across the globe to expand their leadership potential. Reach her at DimaGhawi.com and BreakingVases.com.