Whether you’re a project manager or a business owner, managing a remote team is challenging. The two biggest challenges are streamlining communications between team members in different time zones and coordinating meetings.
As a result, communication challenges interfere with a team’s ability to meet deadlines. When deadlines aren’t met, clients aren’t happy, and your company loses money.
If your remote team is struggling to meet deadlines, you can improve project outcomes with the following strategies.
1. Create a company intranet
If you haven’t created a company intranet, your team is in for a treat. An intranet is a private network only your employees have access to. Generally, an intranet contains communication and collaboration software custom-built by or for the company.
An intranet serves several important functions:
· An intranet acts as a repository for information employees need to reference
· An intranet facilitates communication and information sharing among team members
· An intranet tracks project management, goals, and deadlines
While you could have developers create your company intranet from scratch, you don’t have to. In fact, it’s better if you don’t because creating an intranet from scratch is expensive.
Plenty of software choices already exist, including a popular platform called Happeo. If you haven’t heard of it, Happeo is an intranet, social network, and collaboration platform all in one. This software is an easy way to streamline communications across time zones, manage tasks, and foster communication to create a happy digital company culture.
With Happeo, you can post your company’s mission statement, overall strategy, contact list, and educational materials for easy reference. Nobody but your team members will have access to the information within your intranet.
2. Simplify task management
If your task management software is complicated to use, provides too many features your team doesn’t use, or takes a handful of clicks just to view a task, it’s counterproductive.
Your task management software should be easy to use and deadlines should be easily viewed in a way that keeps your team on track. If you’re using a complicated task management software, there are other options.
If your team isn’t big enough to warrant creating a company intranet, your best bet is to find the simplest task management solution you can find.
3. Support your team to eliminate distractions
Distractions are a major roadblock to a remote team’s productivity and they happen to be everywhere. Some distractions are unavoidable since some people need to work from a crowded coffee shop. However, other distractions can be eliminated and you might need to support your team with suggestions or even courses.
A company called the Remote Leadership Institution has a brilliant solution called ‘attention management.’ With attention management skills, your remote team members can shift to a state that will produce the results they’re after. For instance, rather than answering emails every time a notification pops up, it makes more sense for team members to schedule a time to check email so their focus can remain on the task at hand.
Nothing kills productivity more than interruptions, and most interruptions are self-created. For example, notification popups, sounds, and the urge to check Facebook are the worst interruptions. Each time a team member takes their attention off a task, it takes a while to get back into the task. This prolongs the time it takes to complete the work.
The same can be said for physical clutter, working with the office door open, and taking unscheduled phone calls from friends and family during working hours. All of these distractions prolong task completion.
Support your remote team by helping them manage their attention and make wise choices to eliminate distractions.
4. Acknowledge your team regularly
A little acknowledgment goes a long way. Take time to acknowledge your employees for their unique contributions to the team. Let them know their efforts are appreciated and they’re making a difference. People want to know their work matters and is appreciated.
According to statistics gathered by Bonusly, employee happiness raises sales by 37% and boosts productivity by 31%. That’s no small number. Showing appreciation for your team members is one of the easiest ways to make them happy. When your team is happy, everyone wins.
Increasing productivity is a work in progress
There’s no magic way to increase productivity to its capacity overnight. Start slow and small. Give your remote team time to adjust to new protocols and systems. Make the simple changes first, then gradually introduce complex changes. One step at a time, you’ll see your team’s productivity increase.