Managing teams in different places often comes with its own set of difficulties. You can’t communicate the same way you would with in-office teams, especially when team members are in different time zones, and that can often massively impact your team’s efficiency.
But there are also many ways to help improve productivity in remote teams, and we’ve listed some of them here.
Utilize Technology and Chat Platforms
In this digital age, there are many tools you can use to make communication with teams in different time zones feel seamless. It’s much easier now to press a button and call someone across the world than it was even twenty years ago.
One of the most important tools you can have is an instant messaging platform such as Slack or Microsoft Teams that allows team members to call, message and share files with each other so they can stay updated.
This can vastly improve response times so team members can better collaborate with coworkers all around the world. Even better, both Slack and Microsoft Teams integrate with other tools such as Trello, Jira or GitHub, so sharing info between remote team members is even easier.
Switch Your Methods Up
You won’t find what works best for your team right away. Most of the time, finding this balance is a process that requires a lot of trial and error.
Don’t be afraid to try new formats or switch things up if something isn’t working. Every team is unique and has its own challenges and difficulties, so what works for someone else might not work for you or vice versa. But with the right amount of effort, you’ll find your perfect solution.
While it’s good to take a break every once and a while, it’s also incredibly easy to get distracted and unintentionally waste half an hour. Some situations, like a manager or a co-worker stopping by to discuss something, can be unavoidable. But there are also a lot of distractions that you can get rid of.
One of the biggest workplace distractions are notifications. When your phone dings or a message pops up on the bottom of your screen, it can be incredibly hard not to check it. In these cases, it can be helpful to put your phone on Quiet Mode, which only notifies you of repeated calls or calls from a specific person.
While some computers may have a similar function, many apps allow you to customize which notifications you get. For example, with a platform such as Slack you can mute certain people or only be notified when your username is mentioned.
Make Meeting Times Count
Some teams have a very short window of communication during the workday where they can tackle issues. Unfortunately, many standup meetings tend to focus more on day-to-day stuff like reviewing previous tasks and updating managers, leaving blockers and operational matters in the way of workflow at the wayside.
If you only have an hour every day to talk with remote teams, you have to make that hour count. Meetings have to be actionable and discussion-oriented so you can tackle blockers and make sure everyone knows what they need to do to keep up productivity.
Automate your Standups
One way to make meetings more efficient with technology is to utilize a tool that automates your standups for you. One such tool is ScrumGenius, an automated Scrum bot which integrates with Slack, Microsoft Teams and Cisco Webex Teams to take care of the prep work of meetings for you.
ScrumGenius collects virtual standups from questions about the previous day’s tasks, the current day’s tasks and any blockers your team members may have encountered at a set time each day. Then, as soon as the report period is over, it emails a summary of these standups to your team. This allows information to be easily shared throughout the team so everyone stays on the same page.
The bot also integrates with many third-party tools like GitHub and Jira, so even more information is centralized in the reports.
Keep Track of Accountability
It’s important that your team knows what their responsibilities are, but it’s not always easy to keep up accountability when team members are in different places. For remote teams, it’s important to have a shared contract on accountability so everyone knows what they have to do. This can be as simple as having a single place team members can check to find out completed and upcoming tasks.
There are many different tools you can use to help you do this. Task-management platforms like Trello help keep everyone on track with future and on-going assignments. Automated platforms such as ScrumGenius also boost accountability by providing teams with a record of past goals and blockers to look back on.