Can Your Remote Works Be a True Team? Of Course!

by Evil HR Lady on December 5, 2017

I have worked at home–at least partially–for the past 14 years. While this means I have a well worn path between my computer and my refrigerator, it also means I have a pretty good idea about how to build relationships with people you don’t actually see every day.

It can be more difficult, however, than getting to know the person in the next cube. When your co-worker comes in all giddy about something, you’ll naturally have a conversation. But, when you’re not face-to-face, unless she purposely tells you she found the best binge-worthy show ever on Netflix, (The Good Place), you won’t ask.

It can take some time and effort and some deliberate work from the manager to build a great remote team. Over at The Balance, I’ve come up with some suggestions for how to do this. Hop on over and read: How to Create a Team When You’re Managing Remote Workers

(And actually, now that I think about this, The Good Place is all about team building. Caution: Spoilers)

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Maria Rose December 5, 2017 at 7:05 pm

I personally have not worked as a remote worker but my daughter has, so my comments are based on what she has told me works.
First of all— the company and that worker needs compatible computer programs ( I believe most work on an Excel program). Plus there needs to be a way to switch this program to another computer if updating computers ( most people use laptops and they don’t last more than 5 years before usage deteriotes but program like Excel can be moved).
Second—- Don’t assume that the remote employee does all the cleanup work that the in house workers fail to do unless that’s there designated job. ( Jobs like finish processing of current orders or follow up on complaints)
Third— Assign jobs that don’t need to be constrained by business hours ( 9-5, Monday thru Friday). This is utilizing the individual services for better work flow.
Fourth— Have a clear consistent method of communication for these employees to contact office supervisor ( be it email, messages or phone contact) with an expected timed response. This communication is not the same as constructive criticism. That is a separate problem.
Fifth—- Constructive criticism— this occurs when a change in method used by remote employees has a change. This usually occurs when there is a change in supervisors for whatever reasons by companies. If the company has any value for their remote workers, they would get advanced notice to expect changes, plus that new supervisor should reach out personally once in place to explain how they want things done.
Lastly— If company is switching to a more in house work versus remote, they need to understand that those workers stil need some flexibility in their hours based on personal needs. Not all of us, can be work that 9-5 shift if dealing with family. Nor can it be assumed that availability for an in house work is 24/7 because of same limitations.
My daughter worked successfully as a remote worker until the company decided to eliminate that position in favor of in house work. She actually helped company get more business because customers had better after business hours contact. ( In house hours were standard business hours but company website was 24/7). It worked better for her because she did her work around the clock but in house work limits her hours to when children are in school only). Child care is too expensive in the USA.

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Beth December 7, 2017 at 11:45 pm

Haha, the path between your computer and your refrigerator mimics mine, then! I love remote work. I think it can work with any organization, as long as you hire the right individuals to do the job (here’s a great guide if anyone is thinking of doing just that!: http://recruit.ee/bl-remote-hiring-eb-bh).

The coworkers I’ve had that I have never met in person are my favorite to date. It may help that there is distance, because we use tools to keep in touch and tell each other the positive parts of our day and think about constructive feedback before we press send. It’s very possible! Thanks for sharing 🙂

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