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It wasn’t that many years ago when to complete a piece of work you had to be physically at a particular place and with the right people. Many of our clients operate businesses with teams who are both office based and work remotely.
Some businesses seem far better at managing a remote workforce and achieving virtual collaboration than others, so what are their secrets?
These 5 tips can help geographically dispersed or virtual teams to perform.
1 Mix communications. We have a wealth of ways to communicate, text, email, phone, skype, video conferencing to name a few. Use all the tools you have available to communicate to build trust and build the team.
To communicate effectively you need the right equipment. For example If there are more than 2 of you in a room conferencing others, the call will be ineffective on a standard speaker-phone or mobile. The remote team will be left unable to hear, frustrated and disengaged.
2 Increase cross-cultural awareness. For global teams that means understanding more about working norms in each country. For local businesses and SME’s with a mobile workforce, it means understanding the particular strains of working remotely compared to in an office
3 Create team rules and norms. These may blend office and remote working norms. Even discussing what is ‘normal’ for individuals who are office and field based builds understanding and enables the team all work as far as possible to the same norms
4 Build trust. When a team is geographically dispersed, and unlikely to meet face to face regularly build time into meetings, calls and other contacts for ‘small talk’ so all the team get to know each other as people. Have photos of team members available so when calling each knows what the other looks like.
5 Make the first meeting face to face. An initial face to face meeting sets the tone, establishes connections and makes it so much easier to communicate effectively throughout the life of the project.
HBT can support you to get the right tools and equipment to enable all your teams to communicate effectively and become more productive.
We are a partner for Swyx, which provides a solution to many of the problems facing business owners with staff working across different locations.
Contact us on 02476 867 422 for a free site visit to audit your requirements and no obligation quote.