Transition Your Remote Workforce into Cohesive Team
Cloud 9 Supplier Spotlight: 8x8
Transition Your Remote Workforce into Cohesive Team
Tip #1: Establish Common Goals, Policies, and Expectations
Where does most workplace conflict originate? From poor communication or a lack of clear expectations. Never assume your employees know what you expect. Remote work means different things to different people. It’s important to create guidelines around working hours, communication expectations and more. Here are a few things to consider as you develop policies for your virtual team.
- Working hours—When do you expect employees to log on and begin their day? Do you want them to design their schedules to fit a traditional consecutive 8-hour day? Do they need to be available for early morning or late evening phone calls to accommodate other time zones? When should they take a break for lunch? Are you less concerned about the hours worked and more concerned about results? Decide what works best for your business, customers, and teams, and let everyone know!
- Communication response times—How quickly would you like employees to respond to customer emails? Colleagues? What about IMs? Text messages? For reference, a Google Consumer Study revealed more than 80% of customers expect a reply to email within 24 hours. 37% expect a response within an hour. And according to FastCompany, more than 70% of people expect a response from coworkers within four hours.
- Time-off requests—When the crisis is over, one of the hottest topics at water coolers around the globe will be vacation plans. Most employees in an office are aware of their teammates’ holiday plans. Those sorts of conversations don’t always happen between remote employees and their peers, so it’s important to establish a process for documenting time-off. It’s also helpful to have a shared team vacation calendar, so everyone is in the loop. Make sure your remote workers understand your time-off policies and how to log their days off.
- Meetings—Managers need to establish a regular meeting cadence with remote employees. When building remote employee engagement, the adage “out of sight, out of mind” won’t work. Set up a time to meet one-on-one and stick to it. It’s tempting to cancel one-on-one meetings when workloads pile up. Don’t. Those opportunities to connect are essential! They allow you to build trust and establish a relationship with team members you don’t see face to face every day. Relationships are a vital ingredient to team success. Use the time together to check in on progress and offer performance feedback.
Tip #2: Communicate Regularly, Clearly, and Effectively
Tip #3: On the Flip-Side: Resist the Urge to Overcommunicate
- Set an agenda and limit it to 2-3 items. Share the agenda at least 24 hours in advance so attendees can come prepared
- Limit the invitees. Consider the agenda. Who are the decision-makers that will be essential to include?
- Start on time and end on time
- When hosting virtual meetings, use video and screen share when possible. These features help foster interaction and keep attendees focused
- Institute a no cell phone rule
- If possible, reduce one-hour meetings to 45-minutes. This gives attendees time to debrief, organize their notes, and make it to the next meeting on time
- Consider whether you really need to hold a meeting at all. Status updates, for example, are often better suited for email or collaboration tools. Save meetings for conversations that can’t take place productively via other channels
- Ex: brainstorming, decision making
- Be sure to take good notes! As the meeting organizer, you should always send out a summary/recap. Be sure to include action items, next steps, and deadlines
Tip #4: Share in the Fun
- Monday: Music Monday—invite team members to create and share their favorite playlist that showcases their favorite decade of music. Have everyone vote on the best playlists and offer up prizes for the winners
- Tuesday: Transformation Tuesday- make a difference together! Plan a volunteer outing that office employees can participate in together. Offer remote team members the opportunity to travel in to take part (if reasonable) or encourage them to take some time off to give back to a local cause. Bonus points if you choose a volunteer theme that unites everyone or aligns with your company mission. Ex: fighting hunger, literacy, etc.
- Wednesday: Wacky Tacky Wednesday— encourage everyone to adorn their corporate swag. Ask remote workers to share pics of their attire, and crown winners for the most creative outfits
- Thursday: Throwback Thursday—invite team members to dress in fashion from their favorite decade. Again, ask remote workers to share pics, too. Take a vote and crown winners for a few decades
- Friday: Food Truck Friday—to get remote team members in on the action, offer them a gift card to a restaurant that serves a similar cuisine
- Are you offering a catered lunch in the office? Treat your virtual employees to lunch that day, too. Send a gift card to a food delivery service available in their area.
- Make lunch and learn sessions available via video conference so that remote workers can participate, too.
- Are you having an office holiday party? Make every effort to invite and provide arrangements for remote team members to attend, too.
- Are you closing early for the summer picnic? Encourage remote workers to log off early and enjoy some outside time.
The bottom line? Don’t save all the fun activities for your brick and mortar locations. There are tons of creative ways to engage all your team members, regardless of where they work.
Bringing It All Together
8×8 is transforming the future of business communications as a leading Software-as-a-Service provider of voice, video, chat, contact center and enterprise-class API solutions powered by one global cloud communications platform. We’re empowering workforces worldwide to create connections that increase the speed and efficiency of collaboration. An 8-time Leader in the Gartner UCaaS Magic Quadrant and the only UCaaS Leader also in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for CCaaS, we’ve built a cloud communications platform that delivers reliability to customers while loyally rewarding partners.
We are unified communications industry experts.
Cloud 9: we are unified communications industry experts.