July 23, 2020
7 minutes of reading
Opinions expressed by Business owner collaborators are theirs.
This article was written by Mitchell Terpstra, a NEXT entrepreneur created by Assemble expert. If you are looking to take the NEXT step in your business, we invite you to take a look NEXT entrepreneur created by Assemble.
Consider for a moment the current paradigm from nine to five, with the butt in the head of American working life. Where does it come from?
The first wave of the industrial revolution took off in Britain’s textile factories in the 18th century. The workers had to operate looms that would transform large-scale cotton, linen or wool into yarns used to make clothing, rugs, upholstery and other products.
Productivity depended on human bodies gathered under one roof and dealing with machinery. Human dexterity or decision making was needed to help machines generate maximum performance and at the same time oversee quality control. This has become the default provision for many industrial sectors.
Today the script was shot. Outside of the manufacturing sector, most workers no longer need to gather within the same four walls to deal with large and bulky machinery. Indeed, today’s digital tools, rather than requiring attendance, largely free employees of the need to be confined under one roof. Welcome to the lost workplace.
What’s more, three out of five he said he wanted to continue working remotely if possible.
If you are an entrepreneur who suddenly finds himself in charge of managing a remote team of employees, here are three areas to focus on to prepare your team for success.
1. Communicate, communicate, communicate.
Communication is over 90 percent of remote team management. However, with team members working outside a common workspace, numerous communication methods are suddenly off the table.
Reminders with sticky notes, chat on the office door, intercom telephone updates, ad hoc round tables and dozens of other small in-person communication methods are no longer available. Without all these options at your disposal, communication can sometimes become random or inattentive, allowing hypotheses to replace a clear direction in the mind of your team members and to launch off-track projects.
As your team members move to work remotely, your communication methods will also have to adapt. Recognize the importance of streamlining your communications so that the transmission of important information is as efficient as possible, team members stay up to date on projects and everyone feels responsible without being completely overwhelmed by a flood of calls, emails, chat and soon.
As a result, many managers often frustrate team members by choosing an inappropriate communication method. We all heard the “meeting that could have been an email” complaint. Avoid being that foreman considering, is this primarily a self-explanatory passage of information? Go with email. Or are important back and forth needed to generate ideas and build consensus? Better to go with a conference call or video chat. A specific advantage of video chat is the ability of team members to collect the numerous non-verbal cues that are absent from written communication.
On the other hand, an advantage of email is the ability to archive important messages, search for keywords and retrieve them when necessary. However, free apps like Otter are also bringing this functionality to conference calls. Otter can record your team’s voice conversations and provide automatic transcriptions based on those recordings, giving your team members a searchable document to retrieve key information later when they need it.
2. Make sure your team has adequate resources.
In your company, how much of the new employee’s first day or week is normally used to present them to all available resources, equipment and staff? From ergonomic office chairs to snack bars, the first few working days have the excited aura of a primary school show-and-tell session.
Yet all that thought of resources tends to come out the window remote workers. Granted, part of the benefit of remote workers is the reduction of costs, including office space and related resources. And of course, that doesn’t mean you have to ship an expensive espresso machine to each of your remote employees. But their obstacles to success are your obstacles. Part of checking in with team members should be making sure they have all the tools they need to facilitate the workflow and get the best job they are capable of. Asking them to reflect on their workflow and identify productivity blocks can clarify which resources might be in order.
It is also important to consider that there may be a difference between your more experienced remote workers and team members who were thrown into remote work for the first time because of COVID-19. The latter may not be used to thinking about structuring their workspace for comfort, productivity and workflow.
It may not be possible to install them with your own desk. It could be as simple as setting your computer on a pile of books. Even small improvements, like a WiFi amplifier, noise canceling headphones, or a better camera if they present themselves to customers on your behalf, can make a big difference.
3. Foster team spirit.
Let’s face it: people want to belong. In particular for Americans, work is one of the main ways we choose to define ourselves and seek a sense of belonging. Many psychologists have pointed out that employees tend to continue working for companies when they have positive relationships with their colleagues and productivity also often increases.
This sense of belonging becomes complicated when collaborators are dispersed and significant face-to-face interactions are minimized. Even the most delicate moments in the workplace – the obligatory birthday celebrations, the water-cooler pow-wow, the haste to grab free donuts in the mess hall, etc. – contribute decisively to making people feel.
Without these connection possibilities, remote working increases the likelihood that team members will feel isolated from each other and less aligned with the organization’s mission. In fact, second “Status of remote buffer report”“Loneliness was the second most cited response from respondents when asked about their struggles to work remotely.
To keep that sense of camaraderie alive that helps teams work well together, team leaders should create opportunities for team members to bring themselves into remote workplace interactions. Remote interactions in the workplace often fail to always be at work.
Team leaders should create channels where colleagues can interact on a more personal level, perhaps to share common interests, establish helpful mentor-pupil relationships or celebrate goals.
If the workforce is split between employees and remote workers, keep in mind that remote workers may feel like second-class employees, only there to send completed tasks. Consider giving them more command roles to balance that sense of importance perceived, even if incorrect, in the eyes of the organization.
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