Creating Remote Team Magic, No Spells Required
There are many elements necessary to making a business work, and because of technology, being in the same proximity of your coworkers is no longer a necessity. Device unification and apps are just the surface of what is vital to a successful distributed team, or team with workers in different physical locations. We’ve boiled it down to four elements every winning remote team has to have, no trips to Hogwarts needed.
Every successful company has one thing in common: a unified sense of purpose shared by all workers. This sense of purpose can come in many forms: a mission/vision statement, core values, or personality type. All employees sharing this sense of purpose creates a higher likelihood of similar communication and teamwork styles. For example, the company culture of Heart Technologies is our vision statement: Innovative technology solutions backed by good old-fashioned customer service. All Heart employees value providing our customers with the most advanced technological solutions and the best customer service we can offer. Because we all share this vision, we are driven in our communications with one another to always achieve this ultimate goal. When employees are working remotely, we are still able to complete tasks and work together because our shared values provide the connection needed to effectively communicate with one another and achieve results.
Regardless of where employees are located, communication is always one of the most important elements of a team. Remote working does require more physical effort than asking your coworker in the cubicle across from you, but this also creates a more tangible record of correspondence. For example, if we are both in the office, I will walk to my coworker’s office to get a questions answered. If he is not in the office, I will send him an email or video chat request. Although we are now removing that face-to-face interaction, we are able to supplement that with written records or the ability to record or screenshot a conversation that can be referenced later.
Remote workers also increases communication productivity. Meetings and conference calls all have a work-related purpose, unlike standing around the water cooler on Monday morning. Any communication probably has a list or agenda that is being worked off of, and workers are prepared for the conversation because it is (usually) previously planned. There is no messing around with papers or running back to your desk–it is all in front of you, and the purpose is to clearly and concisely communicate your ideas and share insights.
Because people believe it is harder to work on a distributed team, they are more likely to stay proactive on their portion of the project. The team needs a larger margin of error time when separated. Project elements such as the transfer of files and documents taking longer than expected or formatting issues require more time necessary in order to ensure that the project is completed correctly and in a timely manner. This puts an added pressure on the team, resulting in less procrastination, heightened communication, and higher productivity levels.
In addition, the Internet provides us with a multitude of web apps and websites that can benefit distributed teams. File sharing tools, screen sharers, video and voice chats, content sharers, and so many more outlets for teamwork exist. Smart and successful distributed teams take advantage of these tools, and as an end result, increase their productivity levels and build stronger team relationships.
It’s important to have team members who share the same values, but it’s also equally important to have an equal spread of personalities. Think about a football team. There’s a quarterback whose leadership drives the ball across the goal line. There are centers and running backs who are there to assist the quarterback in scoring touchdowns. There are wide receivers, blockers, tight ends, and guards all focused on shutting the opposition down as a way to help the others achieve success.
Whether you’re playing a game of tackle ball or pitching a campaign to a prospective client, you need these diverse people to make the team work. Not every person can be the quarterback. If so, there’d be no touchdowns. Your team needs people who are outspoken and people that are more reserved. There needs to be creatives and dreamers as well as grounded realists and analytical thinkers. You need the variety of thought processes and personalities to even each other out, cover all your bases, and create the most solid pieces of work the team possibly can.
When it comes to remote teamwork, as with any teamwork, these four elements combine together to create successful collaborative experiences for all involved. These teams often experience high morale, closer professional relationships, and increased levels of work quality. All of this together improves your business’ impression to prospective clients and your competitors.