If you’ve been following our blog, you know at Camber Creative, we’re big fans of remote work. We strongly believe in show versus tell and prefer to spend the majority of our time actually working rather than just talking about the work that we’re doing. Not to toot our own horn, but this helps us to consistently overperform and exceed expectations.
So, despite the fact that we’ve been fully remote since our inception and have had a lot of practice getting it right, how have we been able to maximize efficiency amongst our remote team? Here are a few of our favorite tips and tricks that we wanted to share to help you set your own teams up for success in a work from home or a work from anywhere environment.
If you don’t clearly tell someone what they are responsible for, they’re going to feel lost — especially as a new hire. This is true even more so for a new hire working and onboarding remotely. Therefore, it’s important that when you bring a new hire on board or shift an individual’s position internally, you clearly map out what it is that you expect from the person on a daily basis and what goals they should be working towards both short and long term. If a member of your team doesn’t know what it is that they should be doing or what you expect of them, they’re not going to do very high quality work.
Particularly when the team is working remotely, you want to make sure expectations are aligned across all key stakeholders. You also want to make sure different people on the team are aware of what other people are responsible for so that they know who to go to in order to troubleshoot issues they are faced with or who to approach to collaborate on different projects as needed. Air on the side of overt transparency when communicating expectations and role responsibilities so team members aren’t sitting at home alone pondering whether or not they are spending their time working on the right tasks.
One of the most critical aspects of building an efficient remote team is to empower the people you hired. And one of the best ways to make people feel empowered is to show them you fully trust them and you believe they have what it takes to get the job done and to do it well.
While you may be tempted to consistently slack your team members and check on the status of different items to make sure the work is moving forward, resist the urge and give them the space they need to do their job. Trust that you hired competent people and they have the skills and time management capacity required to get the work done without being checked on every few minutes.
While Zoom fatigue has become the norm for many remote teams, it doesn’t have to be this way! So frequently organizations fall into a habit of jamming their employees’ calendars with video call after video call. But do you know what the problem is with having your team members on video calls all day? Yep, you guessed it — they don’t actually have time to get any work done! Instead, they just spend the entire day talking about what they’re going to work on rather than actually using that time to do the work.
To improve the efficiency of your remote team, consider adopting an asynchronous-first organizational culture. This means that you encourage your team members to work where and when they want as long as they get their work done in alignment with core deadlines and continue to do high quality work. Additionally, encourage them to reach out to team members via Slack or other asynchronous communication channels when questions arise. Avoid building in frequent synchronous status calls — rather, consider integrating your Slack with Geekbot to automate your standups while still making sure all team members are on the same page regarding when different deliverables will be completed.
Only resort to synchronous communication when asynchronous communication is not sufficient to get the job done. Before you schedule a meeting, make sure a meeting is actually needed. After really analyzing this, we’ve found that it rarely is. If a meeting isn’t necessary, instead try to communicate what you’re thinking in a Google Doc, Slack thread, or another shareable format. Tag people that you need something from and make sure your ask is crystal clear. If you need to teach a more in-depth concept to someone, you might consider creating a Loom video that they can watch on their own time and rewatch as needed.
When you walk into an old school corporate office, the first thing you typically notice is the standardization of the cubicle setup. This often consists of a traditional desktop with one to two monitors, in addition to a keyboard, mouse, pencil holder, and anything else the employee will need to do their day to day job. What’s unique about a virtual workspace is that everyone’s individual setups may look a bit different. Not only might the hardware differ from person to person, but team members may be more likely to stick with the software and organizational management tools they are comfortable with, unless they are instructed otherwise.
To maximize efficiency, provide your team with the tips, tricks, and tools they need in order to be successful and comfortable working from home (or from anywhere!). Aligning on standardized recommended tools for internal and external communication and task management can help you to make sure team members are aligned and that everyone is following similar internal processes. Rather than leaving your team members to fend for themselves to get their remote work space set up, help them learn from your own experience and the experiences of other team members to help them optimize their remote workflow more quickly.
Like we said earlier, we LOVE remote work and fully believe it’s the most efficient way to do business because it gives your team members the flexibility they need to do their best work. So, if you’re feeling stuck and struggling to develop an effective remote work environment, reach out to our team to help you put the right tools and processes in place.