Flexible and remote working has enabled businesses to create dream teams that are not just limited to an hour’s drive from the office. They know no borders and can be carefully selected from the cream of the crop across continents and time zones.
Yet, agile working, where empowered employees choose when, where and how they would like to work, has pros and cons. Even if the team is hybrid and works between the office and home, there is a disconnect between who is ‘in’ and who isn’t. Will certain colleagues advance over others? Will creativity cease? Will team morale and wellbeing be affected?
Homeworkers must not become second class citizens in the remote/hybrid world and workplaces must replicate the quality of in-person collaboration.
The ultimate goal is to support your virtual team to optimise their performance and enable them to get their best work done. To do this, all of the professional guidance and wellbeing support that would have happened naturally throughout the day with an office based team, still needs to take place!
Here’s our top ten tips to get the best out of your virtual/ hybrid team.
1. Recruit carefully
The skills may perfectly fit the brief, but for a virtual/ flexible role you need to carefully screen for a candidate with self-awareness, discipline and focus. They need to be able to actively seek feedback and be openly aware enough to reach out if they’re struggling to keep themselves on track.
2. Onboard your recruit
Never is it more important to get this right than with a dispersed team. Put thought into how you’re going to facilitate introductions to colleagues and clients. You might create a new hire survival kit or set up buddy calls and you will definitely need to have a program of team bonding, maybe kicking off with a virtual welcome team lunch.
3. Get the practicalities right
Without the right ‘home’ office space, the joy of autonomy will be short lived, with back pain, tech rage and probably a sore head! Seek out advice (Health & Safety Executive ) and source the right desk, chair, lighting and good quality fast tech for your team.
4. Workflow tools
Communication is key! The goal here is to keep the project on track and ensure you give remote workers a powerful voice. It needs to be simple for people to engage and share information. Workflow tools such as Trello or Jera make short work of a tough job or you could also try our own 360WORK ProToolkit that does even more by giving teams access to a suite of project and budget management tools that streamline productivity and accelerate teamwork.
5. Set expectations
No matter where the team are based, there should be a consistent and respected system for communication throughout the day. Whether it’s a 10-minute meeting every morning or a workflow tool that needs to be updated by a certain time. Set the boundaries and stick to them to avoid problems surfacing or work being forgotten.
6. Work smarter not harder
Encourage your team members to set their own SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic targets) objectives every day. Clear deliverables will prevent things getting lost in translation. Whilst everyone is autonomous, the goal setting will help them stay on track, not get distracted by home life and look after their mental health.
7. Set boundaries
Not unplugging from work is one of the biggest pitfalls home workers face! Lay down your remote/hybrid working policy & procedures and encourage employees to separate work and home-life to avoid burnout. Lead by example and ensure employees step away from their desks in the day. Be curious if anyone is regularly working long hours. Do they have too much work? Is there something wrong at home? Are they struggling to focus?
8. Maintain the personal connection
Regular phone calls or video check-ins will encourage the natural progression of idea sharing or goal setting and enable you to pick up cues if someone is struggling or trouble lies ahead.
9. Find the fun
Working from home can at times be isolating and demoralising. There’s no substitute for the benefits of team bonding, even from all 4 corners of the globe. If your team is in different time zones, aim to have them overlap for at least a few working hours a day. Get creative; zoom yoga, power walks, quizzes, happy hour, scavenger hunts!
10. Check in on yourself
Remember to keep your focus on output not Input. Empower your employees and don’t get trapped into micromanaging every detail. Remember to celebrate and reward successes relevant to each employees’ skills AND most importantly, give yourself a break….you won’t get it right all the time, but you can learn and adapt as any good agile workforce should!
Here, at 360WORK, we know the world of work and lifestyle has changed and have designed our global hiring solution to fit this new world! There’s not much we don’t know about sourcing and managing a virtual or hybrid team. Using a tried and tested combination of machine learning and human intelligence to source the best candidates for the job. Whether they are down the road or around the globe we take away the pain, cost and time of finding qualified employees, expert consultants or professional freelancers.