How to keep teamwork strong after a long time working remotely

“I already feel uncertain about my team working flexibly and remotely. How can I manage more remote working if that happens?”

You might be thinking that you were just lucky to get through the last six months with an intact team. Perhaps some of your team members were more productive working from home, and you’re hoping that will continue. Perhaps you’re starting to feel that there are inherent challenges in keeping a strong team culture and keeping the team aligned with your direction.   

With COVID levels going up and down, it is becoming increasingly clear that our response to this pandemic is not a once off situation – we need an approach that will see us through in the long term.

In my view, getting good at remote work is an insurance policy for the future.   

My team is 100% remote, we have never met together in person. In fact, two of my team members I have never met in person at all. As a team they are more committed and connected than ever, to the work and to each other. One of them has just announced that she will be moving back to the UK, and we will continue working together – because we were remote anyway. I love that I have the capacity to still make the most of her familiarity with the business and the investment in her so far. So how can a team work remotely for the long term and make it work?

There are three simple keys that all start with ‘C:’ communication, collaboration and connection. When I’ve introduced these to teams in the past, team leaders have told me this is a valuable framework that helps them think through their teamwork, do they have everything covered?

  1. Have the right communication and systems in place. Give your team clarity, and set yourself up with confidence in their work. For example one thing you need is visibility of tasks and outcomes: who is doing what, by when – through a project management software. 
  2. Create opportunities for collaboration. People working together towards a joint goal is powerful in remote teams. For example when you’re doing your quarterly planning, consider designing the work so that it needs to be done by two people, not one. You’ll be helping create stronger connections between people that will help information and knowledge flow around your team.
  3. Build opportunities for team connection. As a minimum, create time ‘in the margins’ at the beginning or ends of meetings. 

Join our clients who have made their teams productive and successful working remotely. Make the most of teamwork by adopting the three Cs: communication, collaboration and connection.

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