In 1994, on the 20th of September, 32 000 employees from AT&T stayed at home. This was not due to any sudden illness or labor related matter but rather an experiment to see just how much of an impact working from home would make to the company. The results were incredible and the benefits of telecommunication have been exploited more and more over the last few years.
The digital age is here, and people are finding that they do not need to be in the office to get the job done. Even the AT&T CEO stayed at home that day!
This article will explore why remote work can benefit your company and how to manage the teams within your networks. Even though your team members may be at home, with a cup of coffee in hand, they still need to be motivated to be productive.
Step 1 – The Bits and Bolts
The most obvious problems that will occur with remote teams are the basic hardware issues. Broken computers and laptops, faulty screens or microphones; there may even be wiring issues. Your first step successfully manage a team remotely is making sure that everyone has the right tools for the job.
It may be a good idea to tweak your company policies to make a provision for supplying your employees with functional equipment. Once the hardware issues are solved you can move on to software.
Step 2 – Creating the Network
One of the most important aspects of remote learning is making sure that everyone is on the same page, literally. If each member of the team is using a variety of different programs or services, it will not be long before communication is impeded. Having common sites and services will create a shared knowledge base and allows for much smoother communication. Tools like VoIP make creating a network easier and offers you the communication needs your business requires to run efficiently.
For example: If your preferred method of communication is via Skype, then make sure to relay that to everyone. It will not help if someone is trying to download the app 5 minutes before the staff meeting. Making sure you are working from common ground will make things easier in the long run.
Step 3 – Communication
Once all the equipment issues are solved and your team members all have the correct apps and programs they need, you will be able to start getting on with the work. Despite your employees working from home, they must understand that professionalism is still vital! Regular meetings, updates, reports, respectful communication all the intricacies of the workplace must still apply. You may need to ask your teams to send regular screenshots or to log on to online messengers, it will go a long way to keeping things on track. Using business telephone system technology like VoIP can be essential in helping you achieve the reliable communication that you need with employees.
Working remotely can have a far-reaching impact on the morale and productivity of your employees. There are many positive benefits but perhaps the most important is the fact that workers can now operate from the comfort of their own homes. They will not be spending money on commuting back and forth and they will be able to work during hours that suit their needs.
The flexibility of remote teams is crucial when considering the creativity necessary in some of the modern digital fields. People will be able to plan their lives to their unique schedules and (hopefully) get the most out of their working hours.
With remote teams and telecommunications, distance is effectively negated. Your applicants do not need to live anywhere near your business, in fact, you are only limited by the strength of your connection. You can instantly interact with people from across the globe which makes for endless networking opportunities. Often a major budgeting issue for small businesses is the rent of office space. With remote teams you have no need to worry about this excruciating cost.
If you are still thinking about moving your operating procedures to remote teams then consider the survey referenced by Forbes. This shows remarkable improvements to the company’s productivity after employees were allowed to work from home.
Below is a brief summary of the findings:
47% increase in worker productivity.
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday most effective days of work.
Phone calls, emails, general work “chatter “all up by more than 100%
It is clear to see that there are very real benefits to working from home. By allowing your employees to form remote teams you will be effectively boosting their productivity and networking capabilities. By following the easy steps found in this article you will hopefully be able to create successful protocols and policies for your remote teams.