The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many businesses to function with a completely virtual workforce. Several months into the pandemic and many companies are gradually reverting to on-site operations. Because of this, it’s not uncommon for some businesses to have some of their staff working from home while the rest work from the office.
Such an arrangement can pose a number of challenges for managers, especially in terms of maintaining smooth on-site and remote team collaboration. For instance, the people in the office tend to work within an established period while those at home may follow a more relaxed pace, making it difficult to coordinate activities with one another. In any case, you must be prepared with initiatives to iron out any differences and maintain the efficiency of both remote and on-site teams.
What can you do to improve on-site and remote team collaboration?
To facilitate effective teamwork, managers can implement the following tips:
1. Invest in collaboration and communication tools
Cooperation is impossible without communication, so providing channels through which team members can share information should be your priority. If you haven’t invested in tools designed specifically for this purpose, then these are your must-haves:
- Chat apps like Slack and Google Hangouts
This category of tools allows your staff to chat in real time. Unlike email threads, chat threads are faster and easier to follow. These tools also support file sharing.
- Video conferencing tools like Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams
These apps allow users to conduct video conferences with many participants.
- Workflow apps like Trello, Asana, and Basecamp
With these tools, you can assign tasks to your staff and keep track of their progress.
Most communication and collaboration tools have free versions, but if you want to enjoy the full extent of their benefits, then you should consider investing in their paid versions.
2. Keep meetings regular
If you already use collaboration apps, then you should maximize these by having everyone catch up with one another through regular virtual meetings. Make sure both remote and on-site teams are present for these.
Meetings are crucial not just because they help you stay updated on everyone’s tasks, but also because they supply the dose of human interaction everyone needs. Especially for remote workers, seeing their colleagues can help beat feelings of isolation and improve their morale.
3. Set clear expectations
Unlike on-site staff, remote workers have to prepare meals, care for their kids, or feed their pets, among other personal responsibilities, while working. This is why remote workers usually require a more flexible schedule than office workers do.
This becomes a problem when the differences in pace lead to uncompleted tasks. As a manager, you need to set and manage expectations. For instance, you may require your remote staff to finish certain tasks by a given time or have your on-site employees adjust deadlines to accommodate any disparity. Strive for a compromise that puts no one at a disadvantage and improves the team’s outcomes instead.
4. Influence your team culture
Your team culture affects how your team members handle work-related issues. A culture that promotes a dog-eat-dog mentality will only lead to frustration and inefficiency. Instead, work towards establishing a culture that promotes cooperation.
One way to do this is by encouraging your team members to provide and receive feedback. Regularly check up on your staff and get their opinion on the present state of their job, the company, and their co-workers. Give them a chance to review and provide recommendations for their colleagues’ work. Providing feedback will promote more open communication among your employees and lead to more efficient collaboration.
5. Lead, don’t direct
A boss commands; a leader inspires. Keep in mind that your approach as a manager will have considerable impact on how your staff handles the situation at hand. Instead of micromanaging your on-site and remote teams, concentrate on being an effective intermediary for everyone.
As a leader, you are in a good position to understand your staff’s needs, so make full use of the opportunity. Be the one who maintains the peace and steers team members toward a better understanding of one another’s capabilities and circumstances.
Managing an efficient team is easier said than done. At Tech Squared, we help our clients find the IT solutions they need to weather any challenge, so they can focus on their team and other crucial aspects of their business. Discover how working with us can help your business achieve its full potential by downloading this free eBook today.