Kevin McMahon of Intrado shares five pieces of advice for better managing a remote-working team.
Remote work has been steadily gaining traction over the past several years. With recent spikes driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, many business leaders are for the first time responsible for managing a remote workforce.
Despite the thousands of books written on how to successfully manage remote workers, leaders still struggle to maintain company culture and keep employees engaged and productive.
1. Align Your Collaboration Tools to Match Your Employees’ Communication Preferences
Collaboration with far-flung employees is not an easy feat if you don’t have the tools to support the ways in which remote workers communicate best.
With the wide range of age groups in the workforce today, some of your employees will prefer the instant response of persistent communication mediums like instant messaging (IM), while others might prefer to pick up the phone.
Beyond generational predilections, your teams will also have situational preferences.
So, the first and arguably most crucial step is to ensure that your Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) solution provides access to the meeting and collaboration tools that match your teams’ preferences.
2. Make Sure the Collaboration User Experience Is the Same for all Remote Workers
Optimal collaboration happens when everyone has the same ability to access the tool, the same performance from the tool and the same feature set. Intrado’s UCaaS platforms offer a universal user experience. For example, you don’t want someone on a desktop to have richer functionality than someone on their mobile phone.
That might work with some applications, but with collaboration, UX parity is key.
3. Implement Collaboration Governance Protocols
Team collaboration apps like Cisco Webex Teams and Microsoft Teams have become central to modern UCaaS strategies. They enable colleagues to create dedicated spaces for real-time collaboration where they can share files, whiteboard and brainstorm and seamlessly escalate chat-based sessions to audio and video meetings within a single application.
As these tools become more popular and widely adopted across the organization, oftentimes multiple users are quickly creating new channels that overlap existing channels, and old or duplicate channels that are no longer needed aren’t properly archived.
However, providing employees with a few simple guidelines for creating, naming and archiving channels as well as for managing notification settings can go a long way toward increasing the efficiency of using these tools.
4. Turn the Camera On
Although some employees might be resistant, adding video to your virtual meetings can take collaboration to the next level. From increasing engagement, improving productivity and facilitating stronger teamwork, video provides countless benefits.
To drive video adoption, it’s important to select high-performing, user-friendly tools and to provide both office-based and remote workers with training and resources to help increase their comfort level and ensure they are camera ready.
5. Keep the Water Cooler Chat Alive to Build Company Culture
Forming new personal bonds or deepening existing bonds with a virtual team might be the trickiest part of managing a remote workforce. Make maintaining company culture a priority by scheduling a few minutes at the start of meetings to catch up on current events or use an ice-breaker question to get your team to weigh in with personal opinions.
Make use of music streaming services to create a shared team playlist, schedule virtual coffee breaks and take advantage of the face-to-face time you get with video.