Managing teams across different offices can be a learning curve, and it can take time to refine and perfect a way of doing things. Giving teams a sense of independence, but also being involved enough to make sure they’re happy and productive, is a balance that can be achieved. Here is some advice that will act as a springboard for team leaders to establish what works best for them and their teams.
1. Leverage technology for better communication
Communication is paramount and having the right tools is important to ensure that everyone can stay in touch easily, as well as get the information they need quickly when they need it. This means using tools such as Skype, Yammer, Sqwiggle, and Google Hangouts to help with online meetings and video chats. These are free or inexpensive solutions that help to keep the lines of communication open and flowing. Just remember to make sure everyone has access and knows how to use the tools – which can be ensured through proper on-boarding and training when an employee first joins the business. Also encourage remote staff to communicate with each other so they can exchange ideas, share experiences, and feel as though they’re part of a greater whole.
2. Establish a shared vision
It’s important that a team fully understands what the business goals are – this is a crucial responsibility for a team leader. If the vision is coherent and consistent, this will help with the alignment of goals across teams. Also, encourage communication as much as possible. Whether it be between teams or other departments within the business, make sure the team understands the vision and goals.
3. Build a stronger team rapport
When communicating with remote employees, it can be easy to only talk about work but also try to chat about local events such as sports, activities or other interests. Establishing robust relationships can be challenging with individuals, however getting to know the team on a personal level is important to developing a rapport. This can also contribute towards higher job satisfaction and productivity levels. Building a strong rapport with remote staff is great for morale, encourages a more collaborative approach and can help them open up about any problems they may have.
4. Embrace video calling
Make sure to utilize face-to-face conversations using video calling applications. Consider using applications such as (WhatsApp video, Facetime, Skype). Incorporating the visual aspect continues to provide a human element that can also increase productivity among team members.
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