Overcome Remote Team Challenges with Cutting-Edge Platform SolutionsThe Flow TeamLast Updated: August 12, 2020
The challenges you and your remote team members face probably aren’t unique—even if the work you do is one-of-a-kind. But that’s a good thing because it means solutions already exist; other teams have been there before.
It’s time to identify exactly what your remote team challenges are and which tools and techniques will help move you in the right direction. So, we’re going to line up some of the common pain points remote teams often run into. Then, we’ll show you how to knock them all down without getting a scratch.
How to Tackle Common Pain Points for Remote Teams
If you’re an ad agency or a design firm, you may not feel that you share the same pain points with a finance team or a non-profit. But when a team is remote—whether it’s full-time, part-time, or temporary—common issues always come up.
For each remote team challenge, we’ve included suggestions for techniques or tools to improve the remote workflow. Many of these tips will help strengthen morale as well.
Scheduling Workflow Across Multiple Time Zones
One of the biggest benefits of the remote work model is that managers can hire team members based solely on their qualifications. Local geography no longer has to influence the decision. Unfortunately, this presents a challenge for remote teams, too. When not everyone is online (or even awake) at the same time, critical project updates can slip through the cracks.
But managing team workflow from multiple time zones can happen smoothly if you:
- Provide a shared calendar that lists everyone’s location or time zone and asks team members to note their work hours—even if times are approximate.
- Stagger individual schedules and workloads based on time zones to ensure there is collaboration overlap.
- Book meetings well in advance so that team members who aren’t typically online can either adjust their schedule for the day or plan to watch the recorded meeting when they are back “in the office.”
- Track project timelines as well as individual workloads with the calendars, Gantt charts, or Kanban boards.
- Allow for more flexibility with roles that aren’t client-facing, allowing team members to work when they’re at their most productive.
Facilitating Communication That Informs Rather Than Bombards
There can be a tendency to bombard team members with emails, messages, and calls—even when a team works together under the same roof. That temptation only increases when everyone is remote. But a constant barrage of information is more disruptive than helpful.
To facilitate communication that is essential and timely, utilize a chat tool that helps the team exchange ideas in several ways:
- Group chat channels for projects and teams are great for broad updates, like the renewal of a client contract or to announce when someone is out sick.
- In-task conversations are a must-have as well since they keep task-specific information easy to find and discuss.
- Direct messaging is also important because not everything, like weekly team-member check-ins, should be public.
Encourage team members to customize their notifications, too. Creating boundaries around conversations is crucial for maintaining focus and receiving relevant updates. One of the best ways to do this is by changing settings to indicate availability—or when it’s after hours.
Boosting Productivity by Shrinking Distractions
Many newer productivity tools also help to decrease distractions—a very common issue that many remote workers face. Adjusting notifications for messages in a chat tool is one example. Other tools also let you choose which projects, tasks, or people to follow for specific updates. You can even organize this information in a central location, along with your own projects, to-dos, and team calendar. With a single hub for storing data, you waste less time trying to find information. With fewer distractions, team productivity continues to increase.
Guiding Team Progress Without Constraining Workflow
With a centralized hub where the team can find multiple remote tools, guiding their progress toward a project’s finish line is smooth-sailing. You won’t have to micromanage their workflow to do so—and weigh on morale in the process.
Here are some ways you can help your team stay on track and improve their progress:
- Break up tasks—especially large, complicated, or potentially time-consuming ones—into subtasks that are easy to accomplish.
- Set start and due dates for all tasks and subtasks to help team members budget their time. Use priority labels, like urgent, when an assignment needs to move up the ladder.
- Set recurring tasks to repeat daily, weekly, or monthly. It’s even helpful for quarterly and annual to-dos to be scheduled to repeat as well without having to think about it down the road.
- Attach files, links, and additional resources within a task, making these things easy to find and the task faster to finish.
- Integrate with other apps your team may already use and love, whether it’s Slack, OneDrive, or Zapier.
Creating a Sense of Connection and a Spirit of Collaboration
Feelings of isolation are unfortunately common when teams work from home—especially for full-time remote situations. In fact, it can leave many team members questioning whether remote work is right for them. This isolation compounds if team collaboration is also lacking.
Regular team meetings, fireside chats, and company trainings keep people feeling connected. They also create a safe space for ideas to flow as people get to know each other better. Adding non-work events, like Happy Hours, to the calendar solidifies these connections even more. All of these events go a long way toward inspiring a collaborative spirit within the team.
Investing in online collaboration tools, like G-Suite or Flow, gives team members a way to feel connected during the course of actual work. With visibility across projects, individual workloads, and the exchange of information, everyone is connected. And the drive to collaborate is easier.
Affirming Team Culture and Higher Purpose
One of the benefits of having an office to go to is that the company’s culture is more easily seen, heard, and felt. When the workplace reminds team members of a larger vision they all share, coming to the office can feel like coming home. Of course, inclusivity and meaning aren’t lost just because everyone works remotely. But it can take more effort to affirm the company’s culture without everyone physically working together.
Making that effort will always be time well spent. So, whether you use chat channels, events on the calendar, or old-fashioned email, don’t let the company’s higher purpose fall too far from sight. And express the worth of each team member in reaching those higher goals.
Surmount All Remote Team Challenges in One Easy Step
There isn’t any reason that each of these solutions can’t be implemented quickly and easily, especially when you use a software platform that is an all-in-one tool. If it is intuitive enough, it can be learned easily even as the existing workflows progress. Likewise, when the tool’s design itself increases engagement, there’s no challenge your remote team can’t overcome. Under these conditions, team members can stay focused on what matters: accomplishing work they’re proud of—together, despite physical boundaries.
And by surmounting the everyday difficulties that all teams face, surviving future growth spurts will be an easy task, too—if your software also has the capacity to evolve.
Flow is the easy-to-implement solution for all of your remote team challenges. Surmounting current obstacles is only the beginning. Take the first step towards making remote work easier: start your free trial today!
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