Benefits like flextime, telecommuting, and unlimited PTO are all the rage in the IT industry lately! These work-life balance improving perks help retain the best employees. However, some people don’t know how to set up a team that can telecommute well. 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 participate actively 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 isn’t there in a telecommuting environment. That’s why communicating context is more crucial than ever! Keep your technical professionals in the loop. If you know the goals for each project, they’ll have an easier time staying focused and being productive. And they will 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. Maintaining a regular feedback loop is necessary if you want your telecommuting team to produce the best results possible, especially for new employees. Additionally, it would help if you encouraged collaborators to offer each other valuable, honest feedback that enables them to keep improving and acknowledge the great work they’re doing every day.
4. Give Options:
Emphasizing results and not processes is key 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 vital if you want a team to collaborate and work well together, but it can be challenging 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 excellent 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 incredibly detrimental to a team of telecommuting technologists. Make sure everyone on your telecommuting IT team gets in the habit of communicating regularly, if not daily, basis. Whether you invest in a service like Slack, set up regular video chat meetings, or 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? 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 regularly. 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.
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