DEV Community

Cover image for 8 Best Tips for Remote Teams to Boost Productivity at Virtual Office
Olivier Chauvin
Olivier Chauvin

Posted on

8 Best Tips for Remote Teams to Boost Productivity at Virtual Office

We are living in a fast-paced society where everything needs to be done quickly without any hassles. Nothing kills joy and productivity more than being chained to a desk for 8 hours a day and 5 days a week. Managers have found a better way to boost productivity and save infrastructure cost by supporting remote work for full-time employees. According to OwlLabs research, “companies that offer remote-friendly options see 25% less turnover than those who do not.”

Employees are happier when they can choose to work from home or at a rustic coffee shop, no matter if they are night owls or early birds, they have different options to make the schedule work best for their creativity and productivity.

Though it is inevitable that remote teams can deliver many benefits for companies overall, it still remains as a challenge for managers to ensure productivity for the whole team. Given the fact that each team member has a very different work schedule, team collaboration can suffer if not being handled carefully.

We have put together some tips to help entrepreneurs manage high-performing and productive remote teams.

1. Adopt an effective collaboration tool

It is critical for the whole team to have a platform to share the work and collaborate together other than using email loops and messaging. One of the top challenges for remote teams is to keep track of the progress and streamline workflow with the time and location differences. A cloud-based project management software is a perfect option to help teams coordinate and collaborate. Everything is laid out neatly within a single platform where anyone can access and be in sync with the whole team.

2. Set a clear agenda

One of the worst nightmares for remote team collaboration is to get lost in the information loop, especially if you are dealing with an international team who speak different languages. Important messages can be easily lost in translation. As an entrepreneur or manager, you should set a clear objective for each project and create different milestones so that your team can easily check in and track the progress.

3. Digitize the workflow

Not only you need a good project management software to keep everyone on the same page, you should digitize every communication channel or file storage system as well. There are tons of productivity apps that guarantee to actually make differences to teamwork efficiency. By making every information available and accessible with an internet connection, you have saved hundreds of hours for the team to find the note sticking somewhere on the desk or arguing about the project deadlines.

4. Schedule conference calls and video-based coaching regularly

The perk of being a virtual employee is to have a relaxing working environment, but sometimes it can backfire on the productivity. It is very easy to get lost and mess up the whole plan when you cannot run into your supervisor’s office anytime to ask questions or just turn the chair around to discuss with your teammates. Many remote teams swear by a good video conference app to enhance their face-to-face communication. Just schedule a weekly or monthly call, get everyone join the session from anywhere and discuss the projects. Even 10 - 15 minutes can make a huge impact on the team productivity.

Remote teams productivity

5. Build the trust among team members

Some people have trust issues, it is completely understandable. But an entrepreneur that wants to embrace a remote workforce cannot have trust issues. There is always uncertainty about whether or not your team members are working or they are actually lying in Hawaii with a glass of Maitai on a Wednesday afternoon. Some remotely working guidelines should be established, such as standard response time, time-tracking tasks, regular updates and reports, etc.

6. Have time for 1:1 review session

It is difficult to manage a team that locates literally everywhere in the world. A company that supports work-from-home culture should really take feedback seriously in order to establish close bonds between team members and provide guidance when needed. Managers should schedule periodical 1:1 review session with the team members (the meeting can be easily conducted with a conference call app) to learn about the concerns or suggestions that might fly under manager radar or give out support when necessary.

7. Data analysis is the key

If you are managing a remote team, chances are sometimes you will find it very challenging to evaluate the workforce performance. Without the face-to-face conversation, monitoring employees’ productivity can be quite tricky. To get deeper insight into worker efficiency, data analysis can help you spot which projects need immediate attention or which employees may need some extra coaching effort. You can also share the data analysis with the team so that everyone learns more about their productivity and how to improve if necessary.

8. Remove the remote once in a while

Working remotely can sometimes make employees feel isolated. Once in a while, you should get the whole team together and spend quality time to share the work experiences or just having face-to-face conversations. Team collaboration can be greatly benefited with some interactions among team members. It helps build strong relationships, create trust among workers, boost productivity and enhance team adaptation.

Remote team becomes a trend that a lot of enterprises embrace in order to expand their international market. A remote team can be an invaluable asset to the whole company. However, if managers fail to handle the working remotely culture, productivity can suffer and might result in revenue lost. Managers should be the one who glued the team together, and with the above tips, remotely working should be a very relaxing experience.

Top comments (2)

vicky209 profile image

Great article! My team gets expanded lately and most of the positions are outsourced to international workforce. We're been dealing with a lot of stress and hidden tension between managers and team members.

Most of the problems can be solved easily with communication, but working remotely makes it so difficult to schedule a talk that everyone can join. Time difference sucks. But working remotely is so rewarding as well, I've learn so much more about other cultures and got to know some wonderful people from the other side of the globe.

cecilelebleu profile image
Cécile Lebleu

I agree in general, though I have my doubts about regular conference calls or video meetings.
1- I am terribly camera shy and can’t really make a call without having an anxiety attack, and that’s a lot more common than people would like to admit.
2- I have worked before in a team where we had conference calls every week. From the get go it was an hour waiting for everyone to tune in and get the sound or video going, then two more hours having 3 people talk about something awfully specific, and then a 20 minute actually important catch up with half of the team.

So instead of having mandatory calls all the time, I suggest it’s better to have these calls between “managers” or between people who want to and benefit from them, all while having a clear subject to tackle specified from the beginning, and having no more than 3 or 4 people in the meeting. Brainstorming, technical assistance, and detailed talks about other business areas (management vs development vos marketing) should all be conducted in separate meetings, chats, or message threads. A meeting is like a conversation, and someone who doesn’t have an opinion (designer in a tech talk) or can’t share their opinion (subordinate in a managers’ meeting) simply should not be invited, out of respect for their time.

A very useful resource for teams, in my opinion, is having a common “documentation”. Thoroughly and carefully made, for tech and development, but also for brand assets, client management, and even economy, depending on the company or group. Having a common place where everyone can view and possibly edit the rules of the game, the guidelines and communication and company personality, is an invaluable resource that can help anyone within the organization.