3 tips for working with remote team members
If you don’t already work with a remote team member, chances are you soon will.
Flexjobs reports that 3.9 million Americans (2.9% of the total U.S. workforce) now work from home at least half of the time. And in 2017, “remote/work from home” was the fourth most popular job search term of the year.
These numbers are not surprising as more companies embrace the many benefits of remote work. With these new benefits come new responsibilities for leaders to ensure dispersed team members are able to connect, communicate and collaborate without interruption.
Connecting a remote team may seem like a daunting task. But with a “flexibility first” outlook and the right team collaboration tools, it is possible to make your remote colleagues feel a part of the team, regardless of their physical location.
Get started with a few tips:
1. Strengthen Your Team
Strong team bonds are the start of better engagement, communication and often, happier employees. And while it may be challenging to bond with remote team members the same as you would with those who are in-office, well-laid groundwork can help employees unite and work together.
Take, as an example, the kind of office banter and water cooler chat that creates familiarity. Between remote workers, this becomes a 1-on-1 chat conversation, where sending a GIF or video reaction shot stands in place of visiting someone’s office. Even in a different format, humor translates and connects employees.
2. Be Flexible
Scheduling a 9 a.m. phone call seems easy enough until you realize it means a key stakeholder in another country has to wake up at 2 a.m. to join. For another worker, the call occurs on a religious holiday. Or maybe it’s an employee who is just not a morning person and their schedule is second shift.
Differences in variables such as time zones, travel schedules and even work styles are why flexibility is key for remote team members. Address the need by recording a meeting for those unable to join to watch later and ensuring team members have access to video conferencing technology that allows them to meet face-to-face from wherever they are.
3. (Literally) Get Everyone on the Same Page With Tech Tools
With today’s collaboration tech tools, it’s easier than ever for decentralized team members to connect, meet and work right alongside their in-office team mates. The key is finding a tool designed to meet your teams where and how they work, with technology so uncomplicated that what you’re working on always remains the focus.
For team members who are visual learners, whiteboard capabilities give them a canvas to quickly and creatively demonstrate their thoughts and ideas in real-time. HD quality audio and video, instant screen sharing and the ability to meet using any mobile device – regardless of carrier – are also helpful tools. Staying organized on the latest version of collaborative files across multiple devices – phone, laptop, tablet or desktop – ensures that no team member gets left behind on the latest details and updates. And getting in touch with one, some, or all team members is simple with instant messaging from all those devices.
Remote working is on the rise. Luckily, technology is helping to set the pace with highly secure collaborative tools that make offsite connecting as rich and full as meeting face-to-face.
What’s worked for you when it comes to connecting with remote team members? Share your ideas with us and see how Cisco Webex Teams connects teams across the city and around the world.
Oct 16, 2020 — Nishchala Singhal, Kathryn Parkes, & Mani Pande
Oct 14, 2020 — Paulo Jorge N. Correia
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Mar 02, 2020 — Sri Srinivasan, SVP and GM, Team Collaboration Group at Cisco
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