The biggest paradigm shift in office spaces since the industrial revolution, Remote Workspaces are increasing exponentially across a unifying global market. To maximize the output during, immediately after and also in the long term, some simple pointers can go a long way. From the means and tools of communications employed to the deployment of appropriate security measures, each brick in this virtual foundation plays a pivotal part.
Fortunately, a set of best practices, protocols, processes and leadership techniques can be applied to overcome the remote work strategy challenges and ensure effective team performance.
Select and establish a single communication channel.
The most basic prerequisite is an efficient and synchronized set of communication tools. This keystone feature allows for replication of face-to-face communication whilst maintaining a serial log or a timeline for later referencing. Saved on a stable and trustworthy central database, this serves to categorize mutual decisions and deliverables. It further reduces ambiguity in expectations both among co-workers and also aids in maintaining transparency across different tiers of an organization.
A defined combination of formalized and informal software for communication helps develop a solid model for both existing employees and new recruits. Replicating in-office situations through such tools also enhances unity among various teams, and clear guidelines highlighting the use of specific tools helps build familiarity within an organization’s workforce.
Adapt Management Principles to the Virtual Workspace
Remote working strategies must restrict micro-management, measuring employees on their outcomes rather than the hours spent. Remote working set-ups inherently possess a degree of freedom and flexibility which needs to be respected by both ends of the workforce. Besides, a clear purpose must be aligned with enterprise goals and translated into individual responsibilities and tasks. In the context of virtual teams, a well-articulated purpose is not only energizing but also mandatory. It becomes the logical connective tissue in a work setting that lacks physical cues.
One possible approach is maintaining open feedback routes and flexibility in the virtual work environment which are discussed in the presence of all concerned periodically. While these may peak during and immediately after the transition period, they will decrease over time. This helps create and maintain an empathetic and transparent environment giving visibility to individual issues and paving the way to their solutions.
Build and sustain a trusting environment.
Perhaps the greatest threat to virtual teaming is a breakdown in trust among team members, and between the team and the enterprise, it serves. To avoid this fate, leaders must understand four pillars of trust — dependability, consistency, congruency and mutuality — and the success factors that reinforce each. With regular team engagement activities and informal communication in the play, the virtual team can overcome many hurdles which may come in the way.
Periodic Communication with the Client.
As for the business end of the deal, it is equally essential to establish a trusting relationship with a client. One can set about starting with defining deliverables, discussing key project details and milestones, outlining and implementing a communication plan, or simply getting to know one another a bit more. Owing to the fact that interaction with the client will be limited, the meetings have to be precise yet comprehensive. Setting and enforcing deadlines clearly outlined in the contract helps keep the project, the team and also the client on track.
Communication is key to successful remote work. By regularly analyzing, updating and discussing expectations, potential roadblocks can be avoided easily. It is essential to proactively reach out individually and as the management to both the team and the clients. The use of correct tools and sound regulations pave the way for a tightly knit virtual organization respected both internally and by working partners in the field.