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"Virtual" doesn't have to mean second best. Your remote team can outrun traditional ones.

Before remote rebooting your team

... consider:

  • More than 70% of leaders say their teams do not collaborate on their most important business problems, and 70% say their teams are conflict avoidant.
  • 2 in 5 leaders believe that members of their team have developed caring, trusting, or supportive relationships with one another.
  • 1 in 5 leaders believes that their teams are reaching their full potential.
And the move to remote work (especially in a global pandemic context) will likely make a bad situation worse if you don't take action.

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"Virtual" doesn't have to mean second best. Your remote team can outrun traditional ones.

"Virtual" doesn't have to mean second best. Your remote team can outrun traditional ones.

https://www.fastcompany.com/90484416/virtual-doesnt-have-to-mean-second-best-your-remote-team-can-outrun-traditional-ones

fastcompany.com

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Key Ideas

Before remote rebooting your team

... consider:

  • More than 70% of leaders say their teams do not collaborate on their most important business problems, and 70% say their teams are conflict avoidant.
  • 2 in 5 leaders believe that members of their team have developed caring, trusting, or supportive relationships with one another.
  • 1 in 5 leaders believes that their teams are reaching their full potential.
And the move to remote work (especially in a global pandemic context) will likely make a bad situation worse if you don't take action.

Strong virtual teams

  • Virtual and traditional teams can only succeed if all the members of the team feel like they can be candid.
  • Everyone on the team needs to be accountable, not only to results and to their superior, but to each other.
  • They proactively foster strong relationships (caring, trusting, supportive generous) among members.
  • Teams thrive when they have ambitious goals that have been collaboratively created and jointly owned.

Creating a new culture

Leaders and team members can make a virtue of this global situation and new world of work: you have an opportunity to introduce a totally new meeting culture, one that values candor and accountability.
It's not going to be easy, given the uncertainty we face. But now more than ever is important to work together.

The good side of remote

  • Remote work allows us to work with greater flexibility.
  • Remote workers report higher levels of workplace satisfaction.
  • Virtual teams allow us to be more diverse and inclusive.
  • Remote teams outperform collocated ones: A BCG study of 80 software teams found that virtual teams outperform “in real life” counterparts.

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Getting into remote working
Getting into remote working

Workers around the globe have been forced to take on the promise and challenges of virtual teamwork.

Many people are more used to working in person and haven't had the opportunity to pr...

Working well

Virtual teamwork places greater emphasis on communication and organization.

Over the short-term, newly formed virtual teams experience more negative outcomes, such as team conflict, lower satisfaction, less knowledge sharing, and poorer performance. But, they will adapt and improve over time.

Adapting quickly

At an individual level, some people will find it easier to adapt than others.

  • A study revealed that when people are imaginative and enjoying a new challenge, they are happier to embrace virtual teamwork.
  • Extroverted individuals prefer face-to-face work, and virtual work may lessen the energy they get from social interaction.
  • Introverts are better at adapting to a virtual environment as it involves less face-to-face interaction.
  • Those who like to make quick decisions prefer virtual teams.

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Assembling the Team

... that's capable of executing in a remote setup:

  • Hire doers: they will get stuff done even if they are working from a secluded island.
  • Hire people you can trust....
Software/Tools

In a remote team, you'll need the right tools to make sure everyone stays on the same page and can continue to execute without a physical person standing next to them.

You likely will need a tool in certain categories like group chat and video conferencing to make remote successful.

Processes

Good processes let you get work done in the absence of all else. They provide structure and direction for getting things done.

A few examples from Zapier:

  • Weekly Hangouts;
  • Weekly One-on-Ones;
  • Bring the team together 2 times/year somewhere cool;
  • Automate anything that can be automated.
Personal Connection

A sense of connection and belonging are sentiments that are helpful for building “affective trust” – a form of trust based on emotional bond and interpersonal relatedness.

It vari...

Statistics On Remote Workers
  • Loneliness was reported as the biggest downside for 21% of remote employees, and one of the reasons that makes them more likely to quit.
  • Most remote managers say they’d be more inclined to stay if they had more friends at work.
  • Individuals who have 15 minutes to socialize with colleagues have a 20% increase in performance over their peers who don't.
  • Positive social relationships are correlated with better life expectancy.
Dynamic Icebreakers

If your icebreaker questions are intriguing, cheeky, humorous – the answers you receive will be, too.

Many remote teams will kick off their weekly meeting with an icebreaker question or insert it during their morning stand-up meeting. Even more popular is asking a series of icebreaker questions during the onboarding process when hiring someone.

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Suddenly Working From Home

There is a sudden shift towards remote working in workspaces all across the world, with many people abruptly thrust towards it without warning.

Experts share a few tips on how to transition ...

Mimic Your Office Culture

For many of us, the office becomes a fun place due to a sense of community, purpose and fun interactions that make up an office day. To try and mimic your office culture virtually:

  1. Set up Slack channels for water cooler conversation
  2. Schedule virtual movie days, when the same movie is streamed with the chat option on.
  3. Try to recreate virtual versions of what employees miss the most in office, like a coffee break, for instance.
Being Social While Remotely Working

Being social at office lubricates official conversations and the work itself. The more we spend time with colleagues having non-essential chatter, the easier our work becomes with them.

It helps to be creative and infuse fun into a virtual interaction. Any official conversation, like a manager meeting his subordinates in a one-on-one meeting, can start by asking about the person’s life (something unrelated to work), so that a connection is built.

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Extroverts Working Remotely
Extroverts Working Remotely

Extroverts thrive in an energetic and frenetic work environment filled with people. Peace, quietness and solitude, while being an introvert’s dream, can drive an extrovert into dis...

Daily Morning Huddle with Coffee Chats

An informal daily huddle where everyone is face-to-face in a virtual meeting, holding a fresh cup of coffee is a great way to start the day with purpose and energy. It requires everyone to wake up early, get dressed and make a cup of coffee.

A morning routine is great for productivity too.

Dance Parties And Music Playlists

Infusing music and dance in your breaks can add a sense of pleasure in the otherwise dull and drab routine, enhancing the immediate virtual surrounding of the extroverts.

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A Central Management Tool
A Central Management Tool

Physical presence does play a large part in moving our projects forward. Managing a project remotely requires a diligent and transparent approach to keep track and maintain the various tasks, deadl...

Keep teammates accountable

Creating accountability is a great way to manage the work remotely. Accountability is shifted to the teammates, who are now supposed to be responsible for their own work and decisions.

One way to build accountability in remote teams is to assign groups and let teammates hold each other responsible. Also make teammates share their work experience and any issues they face, publicly (within the team) so that it acts as a ready solution for others, reducing repeat work.

Document Everything

Even if the team is small, document, formalize and map each process, making it scalable and automatic.

Standard Operating Procedures, if used correctly in a remote setting, can act like a central nervous system.

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22% of Americans work from home

.... while nearly 50% are involved with remote or virtual team work.

This continuing shift calls for a new range of behaviors and skills.

Communication challenges for remote teams
  • Body language. Even when we share the same space, the tone of a text or of an email is left wide open to interpretation and can generate anxiety.
  • The delay between our messages can often postpone or hide emotional reactions to our comments. Lacking an immediate response, we can become distracted, second-guess ourselves, or even grow frustrated with our teams.
3 types of distance in remote teams
  • Physical (place and time)
  • Operational (team size, bandwidth and skill levels)
  • Affinity (values, trust, and interdependency).

The best way for managers to drive team performance is by focusing on reducing affinity distance.

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Defining group norms
Defining group norms

Group norms are the set of informal and formal ground rules that specify how people interact. The rules help members of the group determine how to behave. Advantages of clear g...

Intentionally create group norms

Every team has rules, but few are intentionally crafted. This could have a negative impact. For example:

  • In a team of two, it's easy to create short back-and-forth emails. As more team members join, it becomes more complex keeping everyone in the loop. Emails may include reply-alls about weekend plans and real-time decision-making, leading to unread emails and lost information.
  • A single individual dictates the rules for the group. He may inadvertently communicate late at night that can affect an entire company.
How to create healthy group norms

Setting up norms is easiest when the team is first created. It may take a special meeting at the start, but it saves time and diminish problems down the road.

Shifting group norms in an established team is possible, too. Cultivate positive behavioral expectations on high-functioning teams.

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Remote-first Mindset

Accept that you have to put in place remote work systems, even if more than half of your employees ultimately revert to office-based work.

  • If done right, a remote-first infrastructu...
Build a socially-connected culture

Intentionally design for the same interactions that would otherwise happen if people were in the office.

  • Culture is what naturally happens when a group of people gets together for any period.
  • A great culture happens with intentional design and influence. It's the reason you should make your company's mission, vision, values, operating principles, standards, and agreements visible. 
  • Culture is experienced through emotions, including how your employees feel about the company, you, other leaders, and peers. That feeling is developed through human interaction at the water cooler, kitchen, or hallway conversations.
Your leadership presence

Your people need to feel your presence as a leader as they will have fewer opportunities to see you face to face when they work remotely.

  • Regularly show up in a variety of forms that can include weekly video meetings, periodic company-wide emails, or presence in public channels.
  • Err on the side of more communication rather than less.

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Pros And Cons Of Remote Work

Remote workers save money by avoiding the expenses that come with a traditional office and can choose the best people for their team regardless of their location. They get to enjoy more f...

Communication Tools

To make your remote workers really feel connected, use instantaneous messaging tools that organize conversations into customizable channels. You should also create channels that allow your remote workers to chat about topics unrelated to work so they can benefit from the social aspects of work and strengthen their bonds. 

Hold Weekly Video Meetings

Face-to-face interaction is an effective way to make your remote workers feel more connected. Holding regular video meetings will allow remote workers to get that face time they're missing and form bonds with their co-workers.

To build even stronger connections during your weekly video meetings, don't talk only about work. Add a personal touch like allowing team members to share any good news they have. 

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