For some organizations, working remotely has made a perfect alternative to the traditional method of work. This is also the case for project management as project managers have begun to move out of the 9-5 paradigm, managing teams and projects remotely. The needed shift towards virtual project management has led to increased efficiency for team members while reducing work time, building a flexible work/life balance of team members, ability to attract the best-skilled individual for a task from anywhere in the world and ultimately reducing the cost of running projects. Technologically advanced platforms like this have made it possible to gather a virtual team and manage projects from the comforts of your home.
Working remotely begs for reliable communications between team members to get the context of a situation properly. When a connection is not stable, a lot of meanings can be lost in the mix of things, thereby leading to miscommunication and affecting the productivity of team members. There are many ways to build a strong rapport with your virtual teammates while been miles apart from each other.
Texting is the primary way of communicating between remote workers, and sufficient writing skill is required to pass a message across correctly. In remote settings, you need to be able to get your point across clearly and in simple terms. Your texting skills should portray empathy, understanding, and be efficient to avoid wasted time, as you may be sending your messages across a different time zone.
Text-only communication provides room for miscommunication as a team member may misconstrue the written message from another. Texting only as a remote worker could also increase the friction that comes with working remotely, it is also distraction prone as a worker could leave virtual meetings and focus on something else outside the platform. Texts aren’t all bad, though, as a few minutes’ chit chat between team members over non-work related issues is a significant boost in helping the teammates form bonds.
While texts are the most convenient way of communicating on the Planless platform, a few minutes of video calls will help you feel more in touch with your team and avoid the issues of asynchronous communication like time lags or misunderstandings.
Virtual meetings give time for remote workers to discuss pushed aside issues over the working week. By scheduling weekly virtual meetings and checking in on individual team members, you can ensure you address concerns promptly, keep teammates in the loop of things, and even get to know them better.
A common problem with remote working is the difficulty in distinguishing between work hours and non-work hours. Since Planless connects you to your team 24/7, it is vital to define work hours so your teammates do not go on working in times when they should be at rest. If a team leader sets the work hours for 8 hours daily, teammates will be more productive as it will ensure they are all online during work hours, thereby fostering effective communication and a productive work relationship.
Since remote workers are not necessarily sourced from the same time zone, it is essential to rotate the work hours from time to time to accommodate team members in time zones that are not comfortable. This way, those teammates will not feel left out.
It is essential to meet your teammates in person when you can. If members of a team are within the same geographical location, they could schedule a hangout one weekend every month to bond over matters outside work. Planless provides a holiday tool for teams to take a break off work, and this time could be one for remote workers to attend holiday parties and events at the main office. For remote workers that are spread over ‘very’ long distances, a week-long or weekend retreat in a central location could afford the teams a chance at bonding. Putting a face to team member names will foster better performance at work.
Asserting yourself is crucial in keeping communication double-sided. Working remotely doesn’t give you an idea of your team mates’ mood or current state of mind as working in an office would. When you work remotely, you’re going to have to communicate with teammates in days when they’re not in the mood, and this is unavoidable. It is vital to have respect for others and keep an open mind despite having little or no knowledge to inform your decision.
Sometimes, the distance between workers is so high that it is impossible to schedule an in-person meet up with teammates. Going social accounts for building strong relationships with remote members of a team, it is not out of place to have an interest in the personal attention of teammates out of work. Going social may involve placing a brief conference call to every member of the team once in a while or creating a separate channel for discussing social topics and sharing fun interests outside of the work environment. Going social could also mean setting up a Facebook page or WhatsApp group for teammates.
The more teammates get involved with their lives outside of the virtual space, the better it is to get to know each other and build trust that will foster secure connections amongst them. It is essential to make these channels gender-appropriate and free from toxicity.
Sending out anonymous survey forms to remote workers is essential in building secure connections. These surveys will help management identify stumbling blocks that workers may be hesitant to bring up in virtual meetings or video calls. Also, it gives you an idea of how well you’re communicating and can direct you on ways you can improve.
Developing strong bonds not only fosters a healthy relationship amongst it, teammates, at remote jobs, it is also a boost for productivity.