Mudassir Iqbal

How to Self-organize for Teamwork in Virtual Space

Have you ever worked with remote staff before? If you are still open for business—and given the current economic situation, thanks to COVID-19—your answer is probably affirmative. This means you probably already know how frustrating managing a remote team can be. Working with a remote team can run the gamut of emotions, from exhilarating to exhausting.

It’s easy to lose control of what your remote team is doing or if they’re doing anything at all. It is not uncommon to have remote staff record high productivity numbers on the beginning only to have those numbers taper off suddenly. To organize and manage people for remote work needs an entirely different set of rules than co-location operations.

Gregory Chapman is the editor-in-chief at essay writing service review outfit, Best Writers Online. As he puts it, “Managing remote staff is sort of like heaven or hell. It could be perpetual torment or bliss. Either way, it will feel like an eternity.”

With most companies currently operating a remote work model, it’s worth remembering that remote working can also be a source of great strength and competitive advantage. You have to do it right, though. Here are a few things you can implement right now to manage your remote teamwork success. These tips will also help your staff to better prepare themselves for this new reality.

Track all the major productivity parameters.

To a large extent, the only difference is that your team members are working from different locations. Every other primary principle governing the co-location workspace still applies. You need an eye on the productivity metrics for everybody in the team.

How frequently do they clock in for work? How many daily hours do they work on average? How much of their daily or weekly tasks do they complete per time? These metrics are not challenging to track in a co-location environment because workers have to physically come in every day and work the same set of hours. With a virtual space, things are different. Team members have different life situations and may consequently have to work different hours. Others may be too exposed to distractions that impede their productivity.

You need to find a way to encourage them to be proactive about distractions and putting in the work. Use a project management/surveillance software to track your team members’ progress and what they are doing on their devices during work hours. If your team knows that you can see everything they do on their devices, they’ll focus more on their work responsibilities. This is an excellent way to keep everyone accountable.

Put in place remote work-sensitive systems.

When there is no established system for how work is carried out, it can create confusion among workers, cause unnecessary disputes, stall productivity, and threaten deadlines. This scenario has less of an effect on co-location workspaces. This is because when employees are physically present, they can quickly brainstorm and collaborate to solve problems. If an emergency crash meeting is needed to straighten out a working system issue, it can be done promptly.

Things are not this smooth with a virtual workspace. Your remote workers can sometimes be engulfed in their own world and not communicate with colleagues and management as frequently as recommended to stay in the loop. This can cause some straying; some employees may end up developing their own method of work that doesn’t compliment what the other team members are doing. This can cause more problems than not doing the work at all.

It is responsible to develop and document a tested and standardized system of working. If you manage an international remote team, the different time zones should be considered when designing the system. Every remote worker should understand this system like their own name. This understanding makes it easier for them to work in a symbiotic manner and keep abreast of any system changes.

Incorporate a mix of consistency and flexibility in your work schedule.

You already know that remote workers may not always have the same work hours. But this doesn’t mean that the hours they do have always have to be set in stone. The sweet spot to get the most productivity encourages a mix of flexibility and consistency.

Make it too flexible, and it will be impossible to keep them working towards the same goal in a trackable, scalable, and efficient way. Make it too rigid and taskmaster-like, and you may start to see employee burnout and an unpleasant churn rate.

Finding that perfect connection between rock-solid and fluid is an art form and depends totally on your company and its employees. Tiffany Porter, Chief Writer at paper writing service review company, Online Writers Rating, says, “The idea of roses with thorns may not sound appealing, but you can’t deny how beautiful they look together.”

This is the same sentiment you should have towards developing work schedules that make sense for individual employees and the company’s bottom line. Consistency and flexibility make the most sense when they are combined intelligently.

Adopt a leadership structure built on collaboration.

No project manager is omnipresent. No manager can be in every location, and every situation, they should be involved in without fail. It’s a herculean task, especially for project managers of huge teams.

In such cases, it makes sense to adopt collaborative leadership. Every now and then delegate leadership responsibilities to different team members. These members will need to keep open a seamless communication line between themselves, the project lead, and the other team members.

In this shared power model, every team member understands the responsibility of leadership. This promotes more trust and communication among members. They’ll see themselves more through the lenses of friendship and equality and not status, work experience, or age. Remote teamwork will always benefit from collaborative leadership.

Hire the right people full-time with a short-term probationary period.

You want to make sure from the beginning that the people you’re hiring can fit into the mold of a remote worker. Check out their home situation. Are their non-work responsibilities too much to allow proper job functioning? Do they have too many dependents? Do they leave alone and never have time for people? Distractions and isolation are similar problems.

Ensure that the people you hire have as little hurdles as possible to give their best to their work. After you find these people, ensure to insert a short-term probationary period. Use this time to glean how well they work with others, understand their roles, and fit with the rest of the team. If they pass these tests, then bring them on as full-time staff.

Embrace technology

A virtual space is perfect for team management and employee self-organization, but it almost always demands you embrace tech to make your work more comfortable and effective.

Use document sharing and collaboration tools like those Google offers. Incorporate project management apps to disseminate and track work. Use emails, video conferencing and screen sharing software, and more. These make communication and collaboration much more effective.

Final Words

There is so much more to uncover for preparing and managing the ideal virtual team. It’s going to take some work, commitment, and possibly many iterations to get it right for your company. But the benefits are worth much more than any energy you put into making it happen.

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