How to Improve Distributed Team Productivity

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More than perhaps ever in history, businesses are working with distributed teams. It’s in large part because of the coronavirus, and a lot of small and large businesses have indicated they’ll keep their teams working remotely as long as they can.
With that comes the need to make sure distributed teams stay virtually connected and productive.
There’s technology that factors into it, such as making sure you have the best file sync software for accessibility.
Beyond that, what else should you know about keeping distributed teams productive?
Maintain Consistent Communication
Having a clear strategy surrounding how communication should happen is integral to success as a distributed or dispersed team.
Team members need to be aware of what their responsibilities and expectations are, they need to be able to collaborate with coworkers, and they need to be able to see and give project updates.
As an employer, the balance needs to be with making sure employees have the communication to stay connected without requiring so much communication that it’s hindering productivity.
A big part of communication is using the right collaboration tools. Much like you need good file sync software, you similarly need to take the time to choose the collaboration tools that work best for your business and the needs of your employees.
Sometimes, so employees aren’t switching back and forth between platforms, it’s ideal to use tools that combine communications and task management.
Set Expectations and Show How Progress Is Tracked
One of the biggest killers of productivity for distributed teams is not knowing what’s expected of them or knowing what goals and objectives they need to meet.
If you can make goals visible and then also implement visibility into the tracking process, it serves as a strong motivator for employees. This can also help employees prioritize.
Use Personal Communication as a Motivator
Your dispersed teams are going to struggle without human connection that brings them together for shared goals.
That’s why you have to facilitate engagement.
Engagement is highest when employees have communication with their managers daily.
This can be digitally, but also by phone or virtual meetings.
It will be tough for employees to stay engaged if they feel like you aren’tconnecting with them.
As part of your communication, you also want to connect your company mission and meaning directly to what employees are doing. You want to show them they’re part of something bigger.
Staying engaged does not mean taking away employee autonomy, though. In fact, it means quite the opposite.
You want to set goals and check-in, but ultimately like your distributed teams reach these goals in the way they think is best. Focus on results rather than the means of getting to those results.
Give Employees What They Need
As was touched on, ensuring you have file sync software in place and robust collaborative tools are important. This plays into the idea of making sure employees have what they need to do their jobs.
This might mean ensuring they have access to the right technology wherever they’re working from or uploading instructional videos and guides in an easily accessible place.
Automate and Streamline
Productivity, when employees are working from different locations, is impeded just as much by ineffective processes as it is in a traditional office environment.
You need to look at your processes regularly and ensure they’re conducive to productivity.
Are your employees spending too much time in any one area where things could potentially be automated or streamlined?
Cybersecurity
Finally, 2020 has ushered in a new way of doing things. There have been both pros and cons, as is the case with most situations.
While working remotely has benefits, the cybersecurity risks are one of the big downsides.
How do you maintain cybersecurity protocols when everyone is working remotely and employees are working in a largely browser-based environment?
You need the right tools, but even before you get into selecting those, you need to have a strategy.
You need to deep-dive to figure out how your employees communicate with one another, how they’re sharing documents, and what applications they’re using and prefer to use.
Being aware of the reality of your cybersecurity environment is an essential first step. It’s not until you do an audit that you’re going to know specifically what tools will work best from a cybersecurity standpoint, but also from a preferential standpoint on the part of your employees.
 

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