So, you’ve purchased the extra laptops, invested in remote workspace technology and developed a flexible work schedule. You’re all ready to take a step back and let your organization’s telecommuting program take off, right? Wrong.
Simply putting the technology in place and enabling your employees to work at home will not automatically result in a productive business. In order for your flexible work initiative to be successful, your organization requires effective and engaging management. With team members in and out of the office, it is extremely important that leaders create a sense of connectivity and comradery.
How can your organization ensure its telecommuting program is a success? What can managers do to keep their team members connected even when they aren’t sharing physical office space?
- Encourage virtual meetings: Effective communication involves nonverbal cues and body language. Fortunately, video calls go a long way to re-create an in-person experience. Being able to actually see the members of your team helps build a level of rapport that is vital to creating true comradery. Consider substituting standing calls and team meetings with video conferencing to help facilitate strong teamwork. Teleconference programs – such as Skype, WebEx, and GoToMeeting – make having a virtual face-to-face meeting easier than ever before.
- Collaborate and share documents and files: Sharing documents is a great way to keep your entire team in the loop and on track with ongoing group projects. With Google Drive, every team member can view and edit documents at the same time. From project lists to spreadsheets, your employees can collaborate remotely without missing a beat.
- Schedule an in-office day: Online meetings, chats and video conferencing can only go so far. Your team still needs to spend some amount of in-person time in a common space. Develop a schedule where once a month—or whatever timeframe works best for your organization—the entire team is in the office. It is important to ensure that your team spends a portion of their working time together physically.
- Take a team retreat: It can be as simple as a quarterly lunch out of the office or as elaborate as a weeklong retreat. Either way, it is essential that you provide your team with an opportunity to spend time together away from the office. This is a great way for the team to learn more about each other, improve rapport, and develop more personal connections.
Telecommuting can be a great opportunity for your organization to increase employee engagement and retention. However, it is vital that team leaders consistently interact with their staffs and encourage a culture of kinship and comradery in order to build a flourishing team. Connectivity is the key to ensuring the success of your remote employees.