Times have changed in the way companies do business, especially due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Now more than ever, employees and entire tech departments are working remotely. You may be thinking about building a productive and completely remote tech team, but you may not even know where to start. What’s the best way to create a telecommuting team that is successful, productive, and happy? These 9 steps create the ultimate guide to building the best technical telecommuting team!
1. Set the Standard: It’s normal for teams of telecommuters to undergo a period of trial and error, especially when they’re first formed, but you should also be willing to actively participate and set the standard. If you want things to be done a certain way, lead by example. Give clear, measurable benchmarks your team members should be hitting each day, week, month, quarter, and year. If you set clear goals and expectations for your telecommuting team they’ll be happier and more successful.
2. Communicate Context: The inherent motivation of a buzzing office or driven coworkers sitting next to you is taken away in a telecommuting environment. That’s why communicating context is more crucial than ever! If your telecommuting technical professionals know the goals for each project and are clued in on where the company is heading they’ll have an easier time staying focused and being productive because they can see exactly how their contributions fit into the bigger picture.
3. Offer Feedback: While it’s impossible to micromanage a team of telecommuters, some bosses or leaders will run to the opposite end and offer little to no feedback. If you want your telecommuting team to produce the best results possible, maintaining a regular feedback loop is necessary, especially for new employees. Additionally, you should encourage collaborators to offer each other valuable, honest feedback that encourages each other to keep improving and acknowledges the great work they’re doing every day.
4. Give Options: Emphasizing results and not processes is key when it comes to creating a successful, productive, and happy team of technical telecommuters. Part of the appeal of telecommuting is the increased free will so, chances are, you’ll attract a lot of tech agnostics who want to play around with tech, problem solve, and find the best technology to use in any given situation. If you leave room for your telecommuters to have options, they’ll produce fantastic results and be much happier while they’re working.
5. Cultivate Community: A sense of community is key if you want a team to collaborate and work well together but it can be difficult to establish when everyone is working from their own homes. Whether you want to make team t-shirts, host an annual team retreat, give everyone nicknames based on their strengths, or encourage employees to meet up outside of the office if they live close enough to each other you need to take the proper steps to ensure your telecommuting technical team has the same sense of community any good IT team does.
6. Embrace Mistakes: Not all mistakes mark the end of the world and, often, it’s important to embrace mistakes that offer great learning opportunities. You’ll need to be able to differentiate between one-time goofs, recurring habits, or a fatal error that hinders your telecommuting team’s ability to reach their true potential. Each form of mistakes requires a different response but, as long as you emphasize the need to learn from mistakes and not replicate them in the future, your telecommuting team will be on the right track.
7. Reward and Celebrate Small Wins: Praising efficiency, celebrating the end of a big project, applauding hard work, rewarding great results: these are a few motivational things that keep employees around. And they shouldn’t be forgotten when it comes to your team of telecommuting technologists! Keeping an eye on, rewarding, and celebrating small wins is an incredibly important aspect of a successful, productive, and happy team. Although it may be more challenging to see the little extra efforts your telecommuting employees put in each day because they’re not in the office under your supervision, you can see the results they produce, how quickly they respond, and how they’re improving. Make sure to celebrate those small wins if you want to keep your employees around for the long haul!
8. Habitual Communication: A lack of communication can derail any team but it can be especially detrimental to a team of telecommuting technologists. Make sure everyone on your telecommuting IT team gets in the habit of communicating on a regular, if not daily, basis. Whether you invest in a service like Slack, set up regular video chat meetings, or simply relay important information over email it’s crucial to create the habit of regular communication if you want your telecommuting team to succeed.
9. Don’t Impede on Work-Life Balance: The main draw of telecommuting is an increase of work-life balance, so why do so many telecommuters feel like they’re glued to their computers at all times? That starts at the management level and can easily be curbed. Don’t encourage team communication on the weekends, don’t schedule meetings at a time that won’t work well for someone in another time zone, etc. While everyone can be expected to buckle down during a particularly challenging project and work a little extra, you shouldn’t let telecommuting erode the weekends and free time of your telecommuting employees on a regular basis.Want to create the best team of telecommuting technologists this world has ever seen? Follow these 9 steps and you’ll be well on your way to establishing work-life balance and a successful, productive, and happy telecommuting team.