Over the past few years, workers have come to terms with working remotely, whether that’s from home or their local cafe. There are clear benefits to this kind of arrangement, including the ability to map out your day better, the independence it gives you, and the elimination of that long, stressful daily commute. Still, there are clear downsides, too, including the lack of interaction with your colleagues, which can often lead to breakthroughs in your work. In order to mitigate this particular downside, this guide is all about how you can better interact and collaborate online.
If you’re not yet using a work-specific instant messenger service, this is the time to invest in one. There are some mainstream options here, in the form of Slack or Microsoft Teams, which perform the job of getting your team communicating perfectly. Often, an instant message is replied to far sooner than an email, and will help your team resolve small issues faster, while also collaborating together in group chats.
Most instant messenger services also have a conference calling function that can help your teams quickly discuss issues, or meet for a morning conversation about the work set for the day ahead. Given that working from home can lead your teams to feel isolated or alone, using a team chat function can help them not only collaborate better but also catch up and chat – as they would over the water cooler in the office.
Managing documents is a huge responsibility for your staff while they’re working from home. Being able to collaborate over those documents is important. The ability to quickly review one another’s work, or to work on the same document at the same time online, can help your workers to work faster and with a greater degree of accuracy. Sharing collaborative documents is also how you’ll be able to watch the work of your staff over the course of the day.
There are several platforms that offer this service, some of which are provided by the software giants such as Google and Microsoft, while others are more bespoke to different types of business. You should select the software you use based on its overall utility for your firm and how easy it is for your staff to pick up and use without having to go through training beforehand.
As well as working on documents together as a team, you’ll also want your team to have access to all the information, documents, and resources they need to perform their jobs with skill and agility. That means using some form of document manager to help you keep track of all your work and to find resources with ease. Make use of DAM digital asset management platform to achieve this, with all of your most important documents easily accessible, based on the cloud, for your staff to reach for in times of need.
There are several benefits to using a DAM program for different departments’ needs. For instance, a marketing department having access to all their previous marketing material can help them draw together new campaigns quicker. Finance teams can have access to all your log books from previous months and years. Access to information matters. This is paramount for the effective running of your business when employees are working from home.
While the above tips are all practical in nature, and rely on you engaging with the right kind of software on the market, there are also systems that you can put in place to help your staff work more effectively online. These include daily meetings to ensure everyone’s on the same page, and one-to-one breakout rooms or coffee dates to help your staff get to know one another, and to help you check in with staff that you might be seeing once a week or less.
These could remain informal, but it might be more useful for you to schedule regular meetings with your staff and to encourage moments of the day in which all your staff should do is have conversations with one another – be they about work or their weekend activities. These conversations can germinate new ideas, air frustrations, and be a useful platform for providing feedback on your team’s performance.
When workers are in the office, they are generally expected to be at their desks between two times, often 9-5. That means that, even if a worker has technically finished their work for the day, they will feel compelled to stay in their office chair until the usual clocking-out time. One of the benefits of remote working is that your staff can clock out early without feeling the pressure to be present in the office, which is a great way to incentivize harder, faster work.
Put in place a company policy, if possible, that sets daily targets for your workers. If they reach those targets, you should allow your workers to take the rest of the day off. This will often mean that workers are finished half an hour or so before their scheduled clocking-off time, but the flexibility you’re granting them here will be recognized and appreciated by staff, especially those with families to nurture at home.
When you’re managing a team from home, it’s natural to feel all at sea. What you’ve learned about management to date will have been all about face-to-face meetings and getting the best out of your staff when they’re working together in an office environment. Changing your technique to manage people in the online space can feel daunting, as many managers have shared over the course of the past two years.
Still, it’s certainly possible to manage teams effectively from home. You’ll just need to adapt your technique, tweaking your approach so that you can motivate your workers, providing feedback on their performance without meeting them in your office. Read online some of the tips provided by managers who’ve long taken care of teams in a remote setting to learn how you can fine-tune your approach to managing teams from a distance.
There you have it: some key tips to helping your team work collaboratively when they’re working from home.