There are so many goals and projects in most every business that require the combined efforts of a team. Each team member has specific parts of the puzzle to create and provide that, when put together, achieve the overriding desired outcome. The challenge goes beyond the skills needed to complete the project. The challenge is creating the team that has the needed components to bring about the success. It is increased when teams are remote.
Two categories of components contribute to the degree of accomplishment and effectiveness that a team can anticipate.
The productivity components include the likes of … team leadership … accountability … alignment behind the vision and purpose … goals and strategies … decision making. These look quite the same whether working under one roof or remotely. These don’t necessarily require being under one roof to implement and maintain. They are process related.
The key positivity components include the likes of … communication within and among team members … respect … trust … camaraderie. These speak to relationships among team members and require an ongoing effort and plan to achieve and maintain.
Having and sustaining the ‘positivity’ is neither easy nor a given when team members are in part or completely working independently and outside of an office environment. Removing the in-person capability of teamwork adds an added challenge of finding creative ways to incorporate these critical elements into team interaction. The workforce today and going forward is bound to be comprised of both in-office and remote members. It becomes critically important that any organization devises ways to hold onto the positive aspects. Let’s examine how one might enhance these important elements in the new normal work environment of today and beyond.
The more we know about someone the more likely we are to value and enjoy their presence on the team. Thus, getting to know them on a more personal level enhance the understanding we have of them.
- What is their life comprised of outside of their work?
- What do they enjoy doing in their ‘away’ time?
- What are some things they have struggled with and have overcome that gives you a sense of who they are and how they have handled challenges?
- The more revealing one is to others the more they will be seen for their ‘human’ elements and build the desire sense of trust.
Whether remote or in office the things that develop and build a sense of respect among team members is very much the same. The method of communication is similar and perhaps only more challenging when conveying these things remotely.
- Encourage other team members to share their valuable ideas.
- Treat people how you want to be treated … with kindness, courtesy and politeness.
- Actively listen to others input from within the team.
- Use other people’s ideas often to increase productivity and efficiency.
Effectively communicating within a business or a team has always been a challenge in various ways. Working with a remote team only increases the need to be more sensitive to the critical nature of finding effective ways create this by incorporating these …
- Showing empathy and remembering members are humans also dealing with added challenges associated with working remotely.
- Say the often-overlooked niceties … like ‘good morning’ and ‘how was your weekend?
- Let the team devise ways to make video meetings more effective … is it around frequency? Or is it related to a more well-defined agenda?
- Encourage and expand the personal connections through ‘fun’ times and activities that allow the team to have that lunch together or share fun things done over the weekend.
Developing a sense of togetherness and collaborative friendship is not an automatic given. Yet understanding the value of it and how it contributes to team success makes doing these things positive contributors.
- Create opportunities for ‘group’ chats … sessions designed to discuss ‘whatever’ comes up that is not related to the specific work being done by the group.
- Create a process for adding a new member to the team … one that introduces the person and allow them the opportunity to tell the group about themselves … professionally and personally.
- Allow every team member equal time to express their thoughts and provide opinions.
- Create a virtual breakroom … a place where all are encouraged to share things of personal interest, challenge and accomplishment.
It appears to be a given that the business environment of the immanent future is going to be comprised of people working in an office full-time, those working remotely full-time and those who are doing a combination of the two. The most effective and productive teams need to have the positivity components identified above. Thus, it is imperative that organizations make a concentrated effort to devise ways to incorporate them into the ‘remote’ team effort. Doing so will make it possible for teams to retain both the positive and the productive elements that contributes to the most effective and successful team efforts.