When staying six feet apart became a mandate and offices around the world closed their doors, going remote was the obvious answer. Now, the remote workforce is 87% larger than it was pre-pandemic, and we’re finally wondering what it really takes to build a successful remote team.
Out of crisis mode, productivity is a top priority for every business. However, teams in remote work environments face unique challenges to productivity that require new tactics and tools to overcome. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the strategies, apps, and employee skill sets needed to create an efficient remote team.
How to build a remote team
Learning to build a remote team is a process that involves more than hopping on Zoom meetings and automating workflows. A good, productive remote team is the result of a business that invests in the right tools and strategies — and even remote hiring decisions that bring ideal remote workers onto your team. Here are four key steps you can take to perfect your remote team development.
1. Enhance collaboration and communication
When you start to build a remote team, it becomes pretty clear that communication isn’t a walk in the park — or a walk across the office, for that matter. When every employee is hundreds of miles away from their closest co-worker, your business needs team members who have top-notch communication skills. For example, professional body language (like good posture) for video calls and clear writing skills can reduce miscommunication on your team.
Once you’re confident you’ve got the best communicators on your team, you can use modern tech to make real-time collaboration happen. Tap into tools like:
- Video conferencing software like Zoom, which lets you jump on video calls to have productive, face-to-face conversations
- Project management software like Asana, which lets your team members follow up on specific tasks or projects
- Messaging platforms like Slack, which lets you chat with specific employees or teams, or join in on virtual water cooler conversations about non-work topics (pet pics, anyone?)
2. Help employees cultivate new skills
Some of the most valuable skills that remote workers should hold include adaptability, time management, and tech-savviness. These skills are hard to teach, which means finding someone who excels in these areas can help you build the foundations of a great remote team.
However, while you should hire for these soft skills, it’s also important to help employees cultivate new skills that are relevant to their roles. Here are two ways you can use regular video chats to support employee skill-building.
When you want an employee to upskill, there’s no better person to call than the one who was once in their shoes. A mentorship program can connect juniors with higher-ups who can offer training and advice from the perspective of a fellow team member, which helps lower-level employees prepare for bigger, brighter roles in your organization. Mentors and mentees can meet once per week on a video conference to work on personal and professional development.
Have you ever worked on a task without knowing if you’re doing it correctly at all? Feedback may be nerve-racking to get, but it’s also appreciated by most — especially in the remote work environment.
Managers can set up weekly or biweekly video calls to set expectations and offer constructive feedback to their remote employees, identifying what they can work on next while open to feedback in return. These calls can double as friendly check-ins, which keep business leaders and workers in tune with one another.
3. Motivate employees to accomplish goals
Employees can find distractions even when sitting in small cubicles with nothing but a pile of work — it’s a talent, really. When remote employees work from home surrounded by furry friends, food, and phones all day long, they don’t need to put in much effort to procrastinate.
So how do you motivate remote workers to get productive when you’re no longer a short walk away? Hiring self-starters can help you build a remote team that doesn’t fall behind. However, as time goes on, rewards can be key to maintaining employee engagement. Give employees who reach milestones a serotonin boost that no social media app can compete with. Here are two ways to gamify task completion and make remote work life more fun.
No matter how much they pretend to be humble, employees love getting recognized at work. Employee recognition motivates workers to put their best foot forward — so much so that it can boost productivity and performance by 14%.
Employee recognition software like Kazoo and Nectar can help you show your appreciation to virtual teams. When an employee does something noteworthy for your team, you can give them a digital shoutout and send them points, which they can accumulate and trade for big rewards of their choice. Your remote team members will always have perks to strive toward!
Teamwork is a necessity in every organization, but a little friendly competition within your team can also give productivity a boost. Consider setting up monthly competitions with enticing rewards for the best performing remote workers. For example, you can give a gift card to an HR pro who recruits the most new hires.
Pro tip: Create a temporary Slack channel for every new competition so employees can motivate each other by posting their progress and talking (ultra-friendly) trash.
4. Develop a strong remote team culture
There’s nothing like an office BFF to make even the most boring work days your best work days. When employees feel connected to one another, they’re more likely to take actions that benefit your business — and that leads to 12% higher profits for the average team.
When you want to build a remote team that functions at max productivity, you need to strengthen connections and tackle the unique challenge of loneliness that faces all too many employees. Here are two ideas to promote team bonding and develop a remote company culture.
Remote team-building activities
Bonding doesn’t occur when you’re chatting about payroll or brainstorming a campaign. The real magic happens when employees get to know each other at a personal level, during or after work hours. Remote teams can set up regular team-building activities, which can be as simple as a virtual happy hour, book club, trivia night, or pizza party. Make sure to schedule pizza deliveries to your employees’ doors and discuss who proudly proclaims allegiance to pineapple toppings.
Distributed teams are always working in different time zones, which can make it hard for everyone to meet up and connect over more than the occasional virtual all-hands meeting. Planning annual company retreats for a few days of in-person bonding can help your entire team collaborate better in the future.
Company retreats are more than fun hangouts and travel ops. They’re also the best time to discuss your team’s mission, purpose, and goals, so the entire group can feel inspired working toward the same vision. This retreat will further help you hire good culture fits as you continue to build a remote team.
Take remote team meetings to the next level with Anchor AI
When you want to build a remote team that’s highly productive and collaborative, start with people who have strong communication skills and are adaptable and tech-savvy. However, you need more than the right foundation to get your remote team moving in the right direction. Start implementing software like Zoom and Slack that can help your team members collaborate, get feedback, and even take part in virtual happy hours with their favorite drinks.
Want to make the most of all the virtual meetings you’re bound to be part of? Anchor AI can automate your notes — complete with time stamps, action items, speakers, and more — so you can focus on connecting and doing great things with your remote team. Sign up today to be one of the first to use Anchor AI.