While remote work has been around for a decade, it gathered pace during the pandemic. The trend is big as employees and business owners acclaim it alike. Employees love the convenience of working from home as it enables them to save commute costs and time. Moreover, they have the freedom to work with employers around the world and enjoy work vacations. Organizations can save a fortune on rent, utilities, and commute benefits.
But you may have some qualms about building a remote team as an entrepreneur. Challenges abound when you embark on the mission, as you need to get top talent on board and ensure they deliver the highest productivity levels. Fortunately, you can rely on technology to achieve the goal. Here is some valuable tech advice to build a productive remote team.
Get tech-savvy people on board.
Building a remote team from scratch may actually be easier than training existing resources. You can get tech-savvy people on board and save big on training expenses. Look beyond the hard skills of candidates, and assess their tech capabilities to ensure they fit seamlessly into the WFH model. Likewise, soft skills such as communication, collaboration, empathy, and team bonding make them apt for remote working. Your HR team can refresh its skill checklist to ease the hiring process and bring ideal candidates for your company as it transitions to the new operational model.
Establish a high-value culture early
While getting the right employees for your team gives you a good start, you cannot overlook the importance of establishing a high-value tech-focused culture. In fact, the sooner you create it, the more you can get out of your team members. Without a robust culture, your employees cannot contribute to their full potential. Culture gives them direction and defines the work methodology for workers. Discuss it during recruitment, onboarding, and later when they join the team. A headstart with culture makes people productive from day one.
Lack of good communication is perhaps the most critical concern for remote teams because people are not in a single location. The possibility of lags, misunderstandings, and conflicts abound when they cannot connect face to face. Fortunately, technology can facilitate clear and consistent communication, regardless of the location of your employees. You only need to provide them with the right tools and apps to connect effectively. Likewise, ensure seamless commutation with clients, suppliers, and business partners. Besides providing tools, you must set communication protocols and systems everyone on the team must follow.
Enhance virtual meetings
Communication is step one for productive remote teams, but virtual meetings are even more crucial to bring everyone on the same page. Business owners and workers are already comfortable with apps like Zoom, Google Hangouts, and Skype for virtual meetings. While these apps have a video chat functionality, you can rely on a screen mirror app to take virtual meetings a notch higher. You can use it to cast the meeting on your smart TV to make the screen visible to everyone on the call. A mirror app also helps employees to cast presentations through a big screen.
Track projects in real-time
Another measure to build a productive team is to keep an eye on ongoing projects. You can use a project management tool like Basecamp or Trello to track and manage projects in real time. With these tools, you can organize tasks and documents in a shared location, so everyone knows where the project stands. They can also access and upload resources like files and documents to work as a cohesive unit. The process enables teams to deliver projects on time and with quality and promotes good bonding between members.
Provide quality hardware
Employers often focus too much on tools and apps when it comes to empowering a remote team with technology. But providing them with quality hardware is equally vital to maximizing their productivity levels. The latest laptops should be top of your checklist, as your employees will require them to align with the hybrid model. You may opt for desktops if you plan to stick with a permanent WFH arrangement. A desk phone, cell phone, secondary monitors, printer, and scanner are other hardware elements you may consider giving, depending on the roles and responsibilities of individual employees. You can also fund them for setting up an ergonomic and distraction-free home office that enhances their productivity.
Although remote work has several upsides, distraction is one of the most challenging downsides employees encounter. You can imagine the kind of distractions workers may face while working from home or in busy co-working spaces. Moreover, they may switch tabs and browse social media during work hours because no one is watching. While micromanagement is not the best way to manage a remote team, you can rely on technology to block distractions. For example, you can use screen monitoring apps to check employee activities during work hours. Likewise, some tools can temporarily block distracting websites to ensure complete focus on work.
Go the extra mile with cybersecurity.
Although cybersecurity does not seem to affect remote work productivity, it can make a difference. Employees tend to be less productive when they are apprehensive about hacking attacks and data breaches. You can eliminate the apprehension by going the extra mile with your remote cybersecurity policy. Secure your network with firewalls, run the latest versions of OS and software, and fortify computers with antivirus apps. Also, invest in employee training and awareness so that they follow best security practices like strong passwords and avoid phishing emails and suspicious links.
Maximizing the productivity of your remote team need not be a daunting challenge. You can start by hiring tech-savvy resources who can give their best while working from anywhere. At the same time, empower them with the best tools, technology, and hardware to ensure they give their best. Trust is an equally crucial factor because it motivates your team members to invest more effort in their roles. Follow this simple tech checklist to win the remote work game for your business.