Working together at the office every day helps workforces maintain a team-driven dynamic. When most or all of the staff is working in different places, it’s harder to collaborate well as a team. Managers have to double their efforts to maintain a group-centric workflow and reinforce the principles of good teamwork. While working independently helps some individuals with productivity by removing some distractions, it can also hinder a team’s overall productivity. Confusion about tasks or simply even feeling disenfranchised from a network may cause employees’ work product to wane. Managers can help staff continue working well as a team with some simple but effective strategies. Here are keys on how to help your employees maintain good teamwork while working from home.
Over-the-phone meetings in which there are a lot of participants calling may compromise the quality and clarity or your communication. Also, you may not necessarily have your whole team’s attention, and it could be difficult to recognize the points and questions that deserve the most attention.
Video conferencing makes everyone feel more present with one another than they do when they're on a group call. People are far less likely to multitask and divert their attention to something else. Team members will recognize openings to jump in with questions more easily than they can via phone. A video conference invites active participation and helps to assure that everyone has a chance to ask what they need to and provide their input on something. Moreover, your staff will feel more connected as a team simply from having the opportunity to see each other despite not being able to be together in person.
Managing several people working together on a project requires you to keep careful track of many different moving pieces. Managers typically find that using a project management program is helpful for staying organized. Rather than comb through tons of emails and notes, you can have all of the information that you need in one place.
A centralized way to store and access information helps assure that everyone has what they need to keep things moving. Furthermore, it allows for a clear understanding of responsibilities; each team member will know exactly what assignments they’re responsible for and who to touch base with about help with different pieces. With this type of software, you can create a shared calendar to keep track of important deadlines and provide updates to the group so everyone will have real time access to the most recent information. Also, it allows people to collaborate on documents and data entry without sending emails back and forth, which reduces the risk of having more than one version of a file circulating. The end result is that it helps productivity and promotes collaboration which is essential to maintain good teamwork while working from home.
When you’re sending an email update to your staff about a project, you may find it helpful to commend individuals’ efforts. Each time that you express gratitude for your team’s great work, try to give a shout out to more than just one person.
Be sure to recognize times when people were able to produce good work as a group. Paying extra attention to examples of well-executed collaborative efforts may incentive your staff to work extra hard to support one another as a team. Also, while it may feel hard at times, you may need to point out to your staff when a breakdown in communication or poor teamwork results in a setback or problem. Explain what they can do in the future to prevent that type of problem from reoccurring.
Ultimately, finding creative ways to stay connected and using work-from-home technology to your advantage will help you support your team. With a little extra effort, you can stay apprised of what’s happening with people’s workflow and stay accessible to them. When done intentionally this can help maintain good teamwork while working from home.