Sunday, June 7, 2020

5 Tips for Remote Teams

The whole internet and also my workspace seems to be freaking out about working remotely and working from home. It has been 2+ months now that most of us are locked up at home and working remotely. Having an Asia-Pacific wide work role, I just realized that I have always worked remotely with geographically dispersed teams and other than the fact that I am spending a lot more time physically at home, nothing really has changed work-wise. My workload has of course increased in the pandemic, but I don't think there is any drop in me and my team's work efficiency.

I believe you must have already read a lot of articles by now about leading remote teams, so here is my list for you:
  1. Communicate a lot more and a lot often - Unlike when you are sitting next to each other in the same office, casual conversations do not happen remotely. So make sure you as a manager make it a point to talk to your team much more often and over-communicate.
  2. Do video calls - While this sounds creepy, our brain is still wired to interpret other people's emotions by looking at their faces when they are speaking. It is bit of an effort for some people as they have to "get dressed" and be "presentable" but this is the single most important thing to build rapport!
  3. Use shared drives, shared folders and all the tools available to collaborate - Email is old school. While email is important, a lot of collaborative tools make it easy for multiple people to collaborate and work simultaneously on software, documents, presentations etc. Use them everywhere!
  4. Track progress and items through a central repository - Trello is my tool of choice to track items that my team is working on. Choose yours, and use it de facto for all deliverables!
  5. Do not expect people to be always online - I think this is a golden rule for building trust. Let your team work in hours that are most comfortable to them. There is no point in making them respond to emails/ instant messages instantly. Everyone is responsible and setting such unreasonable expectations just makes people more stressed and distracted.

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