With remote work becoming mainstream, companies are facing the new challenge of setting their remote teams up for success. Remote teams are now a combination of full-time employees and contractors working from different locations. The best way to get the most out of a team is to treat your collaborators as Team Members, independently of whether they are full-time employees or contractors.
Be it a remote contractor or an employee, everyone who is part of the team is a team member and should feel the same way. Feelings of isolation from the main squad and the prevalence of thinking that a contractor and a team member are two different entities can further divide and hamper the team’s productivity and efficiency.
A contractor should be encouraged and engaged to give the same level of input and active participation in the tasks to help make the deliverables ready on time and lead the company to success. Ultimately, you want to have one unified team. But there are several challenges when you try to bring about member homogeneity in remote teams.
You need to make better-calculated efforts to make sure your remote contractors feel the drive to feel at home with your company and go the extra mile to contribute to your success. Read on to know about some tips and suggestions that can help you transform your remote contractors into good team members.
Don't Let Them Feel Left Out
The topmost challenge faced by all remote workers is isolation. Without regular human interaction and socialization opportunities with fellow team members, remote workers feel left out and drained.
So try to look for opportunities to bring in an adequate level of personal communication. Ask your employees and contractors to have everyday chats, emails, and quick calls to keep in touch with each other even when they are working remotely. Never let a misunderstanding or miscommunication longer for more than an hour, and make sure to get it dealt with a quick phone call.
Even better is to facilitate face to face communications as non-verbal cues from the bulk of the actual message delivered in a conversation. Include all your remote workers into team events with the help of video conferences and keep them updated on all the team related events and tasks.
Check Up Regularly
As a continuation of the last tip, you should also check up and follow up on all your remote workers to make sure they don’t have any pending issues. Leaving their queries unattended will make them feel less respected. Hence, make it a priority to see through any question or issue raised as soon as possible.
Take some effort into building trust and connection with your remote workers with a daily status call. And check up on them if they have missed out on any team event or group chats.
Here are some tips to help you:
- Make small talks with every member of your team and get to know them on a personal level. This helps establish trust and connection with the team members and allows them to express their grievances freely.
- Make use of face to face communication whenever possible. For group chats and individual one-on-one meetings, it is always a better idea to switch to video if possible as video conversations boost a better personal connection and help communicate ideas and thoughts easier.
- Have longer one-on-one conversations and schedule them beforehand. And make sure you stick to your schedules.
- When you communicate via chats, you can try using emoticons, GIFs, and stickers to share your thoughts better.
- Make sure to appreciate your remote workers on a task done well.
- Take time to schedule knowledge transfers at the earliest.
Access To Tools
Remote teams pose a unique set of challenges that you should have a good understanding of to make things work. For instance, remote workers work under differing work setups that may not be up to par with an actual organization’s infrastructure.
In these cases, the remote worker needs to take the responsibility to ensure the right level of workstation setup and network bandwidth required for the job. And the team manager should give them the right level of access and authorizations to the team's communication tools and productivity tools for enhanced productivity and progress.
- Provide the necessary IT support required so that the remote worker does not fall behind in meeting their deadlines.
- Fix connectivity issues. Provide extra support for better network connectivity if required.
- Subscribe to remote productivity tools to keep track of your team metrics and make sure it is accessible to your remote team workers.
- Provide the appropriate access to the shared resources like code repositories so that remote workers do not have to have a dependency to grant access when required.
- Share company merchandise and exclusives with your remote workers just as you would with your team members. You can do so as long as they are under your employment terms.
- Make extensive use of cloud-based productivity tools for brainstorming, stand up calls, and entire project management. This helps remote workers to easily integrate with your team without disrupting any of your existing workflows.
Remember Their Career Path As Well
Remember that remote contractor workers have goals, aspirations, and plans for progress, just like your employees. Treat them as such, and you can talk about career development and possible future growth with them. Understand their career paths and ensure how working with you helps both the organization and their own progress.
Establish a framework of ownership and accountability that will push the remote workers to give their best to every task assigned to them. Give them a good understanding of their functions, emphasizing their importance to the overall company. Encourage your team to embrace a culture of ownership and accountability.