Remote Team Management: How to improve the success of your remote team

Post by
Glen Creaser
Remote Team Management: How to improve the success of your remote team

How to improve the success of your remote team

Looking to get the best work out of your remote employees? These easy steps will help!

Accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the most notable trends affecting the bulk of the world’s workforce is the shift to permanent remote work. Some of the world’s largest and most influential companies are realizing the benefits that arise from their shifts to virtual work and are announcing their decisions to never return to their pre-COVID office space. In fact, 74% of companies will include remote work after the pandemic according to a 2020 survey. Why is this? Let’s look at the numbers:

  • A company that allows remote work for only half the time saves an average of $11,000 per employee (GWA)
  • Approximately $4,500 is saved by each employee if they spend half their days working remotely (Productive Leaders)
  • Making workplace changes like these would save the US a total of $700 Billion annually; that’s 64% of the US government’s entire yearly budget (Productive Leaders)

But what’s the biggest worry of business leaders making the shift to telecommuting, and what’s holding others back from making this permanent change?

"We're evolving into a remote-first company, and my biggest fear is losing the meaningful connections and bonds we've built across all teams”
- Zak Hemraj, CEO of Loopio

The truth is, for most companies this isn’t just a fear - it’s a reality. A survey of 4000 individuals by Facebook revealed that 54% of remote employees feel disconnected from their company. This prevents great ideas from coming to fruition, limits intrapreneurial opportunities, and detaches individuals from company culture. According to a study done by Fierce Inc., 86% of employees and executives cite lack of collaboration or ineffective communication for workplace failures and 97% believe lack of alignment within a team impacts the outcome of a task or project. Data also concludes that companies are 4.5x more likely to retain their best employees if they communicate effectively.

The following three simple steps are quick and effective ways to eliminate these fears so you can be confident that your remote team is successful.

1. Connect Outside of Work

Social engagement is defined as an individual’s level of participation in a community, or in this case, your virtual organization. Getting your team together in a social setting increases loyalty, reduces stress, and boosts happiness. Most notably, a study by the McKinsey Global Institute shows that socially engaged employees are often up to 25% more productive. Afino offers a suite of creative and engaging ways to get your team together and socializing with one another. Some examples of these activities include a virtual escape room, team trivia, or shark tank jumble.

2. Check-In

This piece of advice is simple and straightforward, however often overlooked and forgotten. Never underestimate the power of simple pulse checks! Regular check-ins with your employees, whether it be quick surveys or scheduled one-on-ones, keep your employees engaged and feeling connected. These check-ins should be focused on the more pressing issues of remote work such as health & wellness, recognition, and happiness. This will allow you to identify steps you can take to improve the employee experience at your company, leading to improved morale, productivity, and retention rates.

Pro Tip: Never send your team a survey exceeding 10 questions, or one that takes over 5 minutes to fill out.

3. Encourage Feedback

There’s no better way to help your employees understand their value than to make their voices heard, and take action on meeting their needs. The secret sauce to this step is the “taking action” part. If you do not take the necessary steps to improve on the feedback given, this becomes a redundant task. Your team will not take the opportunity for feedback seriously as long as they are feeling unheard. A study by Cornell University concluded that 42% of people will withhold information if they don’t see any potential gain from participating. This step may seem like a daunting task, and an organizational nightmare, however there are resources out there that make it a piece of cake (try Afino)!

Pro Tip: Be sure to offer anonymous feedback opportunities; it is an excellent way to receive the most open and truthful responses.

Following these three simple steps are critical in the new era of work. Creating opportunities for your team to socialize, frequently checking in on more than just their work, and inviting honest thoughts and opinions from your employees is a recipe for a team that will not only succeed; it will thrive. It’s time to reap the benefits of remote work without facing any of the downfalls!