Working remotely can be challenging. Having a team scattered across the United States, or even the globe, can lead to some huge inefficiencies. Not to mention, creativity and communication are both more challenging virtually. How can you build a better, more creative workforce from home?
The first step to a better at-home workforce is communication. A lot of your message can get lost via communication barriers. Like it or not, as great as videoconferencing is for letting us connect at any moment, screens can be a barrier to both communication and creativity.
Use communication and collaboration software to help strengthen your team in these areas. Software that allows you to store projects in one place where anyone on a team can access files, instantly connect via video, chat or call, and more passively communicate, can help your team feel like they’re working in the same room, rather than hallway across the world from each other.
It’s also important to overcommunicate and use as many channels as possible to get your message across. Make sure your message and directives are clear and concise. If you’re communicating with your team via email, phone and chat about the same project, make sure your message is the same across all channels. It can also be helpful to ask team members to share what they think you’re asking for before starting a project. This feedback will help you make sure you’re getting your message across.
If you’re finding that your message isn’t getting across, it may be time for some virtual team building. Team building activities can help you better get to know your team on a personal level. They can also help you better understand your team’s strengths, weaknesses and communication styles.
Activities are prevalent online as well. Virtual escape rooms are one great example of an activity that’s both fun and will help you better understand your team. They can also help your team better understand how they can work together and help them think creatively together.
Another option is virtual games teammates can play together. Teams can learn communication styles by playing together instead of working together. These laid back and fun experiences can really help improve communication and creativity.
Have Virtual Down Time
In an office setting, a lot of times teammates make connections in down time rather than in organized meetings. They learn which coworkers they work well with while chatting at the coffee pot or outside a cubicle. These connections lead to teams working more efficiently.
This is hard to recreate online, but it is possible. Have teammates meet for virtual happy hours. Utilize breakout rooms to get teams into smaller groups as well. If possible, give team members the opportunity to chat on the side, not in the meeting chat. This will help build individual connections.
Prepare Your Team
Another way to help build your virtual team is to make sure they’re prepared to work online. Team members should have the technology needed to easily connect and work. This includes computers, phones and network access.
For instance, it can be extremely beneficial to ask teams to keep cameras on in a virtual meeting. You can see who is present and who is multitasking. Teams can only do this if they have good webcam technology though.
Provide Tech Training
It can also be painful to wait for a team mate who doesn’t seem to know how to use technology to get on the call or remember to turn their mic off. This lag creates frustration for other team members and inefficiencies in working. Making sure team members are trained on how to use this technology can really benefit your team by helping them feel more confident and prepared to take on each day.
There are so many ways you can build a virtual team that is efficient and works well together. Just make sure you are looking out for barriers to efficient online work.