Young entrepreneurs striving to build their own brands don’t typically have the infrastructure or capital needed to band together a team under one roof. As a result, one sees many start-ups with founders and teams working remotely. While modern technology has made it exponentially easier to do this, many skilled professionals struggle with optimising tools and using the right tactics in order to be as effective as possible while working remotely.
Here are 3 habits to develop in order to collaborate successfully even when you’re in different cities.
Schedule regular check-ins
The power of a simple check-in is often under-appreciated. Getting in touch with your team regularly not only lets you know how they are faring with the day’s task, but also alerts you to possible disruptions, gaps in understanding and the capacity to pick up more work. While we often hear about the benefits of a flat org structure, if you have a large team, it’s best to develop a hierarchy and use it for check-ins. Instruct managers to check-in hourly with their team, while doing the same with them every two hours. Furthermore, ensure that your check-in schedule is flexible so that you can account for high-pressure days too. Free video conferencing tools like Zoom or Skype help go that extra mile in terms of connecting with team members compared to telephonic conversations.
Check-ins shouldn’t just be limited to processes used to check workflow. Fostering a sense of identification with a company can be challenging when working remotely, which is why you’ve got to take that extra step to ensure your team really feels like a team. Scheduling weekly team check- ins to discuss achievements and milestones, and to offer recognition to high-performers is a great way to boost employee engagement.
Stay organised to avoid confusion
There’s absolutely no sense in retaining multiple versions of documents just for the sake of archiving. It creates a messy pattern of thought and often just adds to confusion rather than eliminating the same. Use a platform like Slack or Sharepoint that allows you to collaborate on documents online, while retaining copies of old versions should you need to revert to one.
Additionally, use these platforms to their full capability. Instead of sending emails back and forth every time something needs to be updated, maintain a chat thread that facilitates instant responses and feedback. Project management tools like Asana, Microsoft Teams help not only organise your own tasks but also manage tasks for your teams keeping a chat like conversation thread without the need for emailing back and forth.
Share your calendar with your team
Many young professionals struggle with time management, particularly when they are working from home. Ask all members of your team to create daily calendars that mark their tasks as well as the estimated time needed to complete them. This adds more accountability to the team and helps low-performing individuals time themselves per task and improve their output. Additionally, it makes life easier for everyone else. If you’re always on the go and have a dozen meetings penned into your calendar, your team knows when not to get in touch with you. Using a calendar can also help you keep track of check-ins, helping you kill two birds with one stone.
When you’re living in a world that facilitates hyper-connectivity, there are no excuses for your team to fall behind on daily tasks. Use free tools like Google Drive and Calendar to start with, and then migrate to more complex ones like Slack or Sharepoint if your needs evolve beyond their offerings.