Working with people is fraught with challenges as it is without adding the element of distance. It is one thing juggling timelines and collaboration, quite another handling disputes or different personalities. Ever wondered how people build a good rapport with remote teams? Is there a personal productivity software that can help ensure their productivity doesn’t take a hit when coordinating with various people in various time zones?
The answer is simple: communicate, communicate and communicate.
Before you can get down to the brass-tacks of working, you first need to establish a connection with the team. Once you get to know them, and comfort levels are established, working together gets easier.
Build a personal rapport: Working together in the same environment allows team members to really ‘know’ the other person. When you work remotely, don’t limit your communication to just work. Share your life beyond work hours to allow your personality to come through. Encourage other people to share their routine, hobbies and exercise habits.
Have virtual chats: Don’t restrict communication at just emails. Use a-synchronous mediums like video chats, hangouts, IMs, discussion forums, workflow tools, etc. to break down barriers and help people form bonds.
Friendly written communication: Use emoticons and GIFs in your written communication with your team members. Your communication will be received more cheerily.
Once you have a better rapport with the team, here are a few guidelines to making sure everyone, including you, works effectively. These productivity improvement techniques are a true life saver when working across geographies and time zones.
Don’t overwork: Don’t be tempted to work round the clock. Stick to your hours, but leave a little flexibility to accommodate other team members and yourself. Ensure the time spent in office is balanced with some me-time. Look at the implications of being a workaholic.
Be aware of different time zones: While scheduling meetings and video calls keep in mind the waking and working hours of all team members required to be present.
Use everybody’s time wisely: Having said that, do not include everyone in calls or meetings. Involve only the relevant people but keep everyone in the loop. Keep meetings short and on topic. Use a time tracking application if you need to.
Schedule your work: Try and plan your work such that it gets done when there is the least likelihood of calls or emails.
Make your presence felt: Stay in touch regularly through status messages and chat messages, even if it is just to greet the team.
Keep everyone in the loop: Whether it your day off or your lunch hours, or when you don’t wish to be disturbed, convey it to the team well in advance.
Schedule time for activities based on work patterns: To create a better camaraderie between the team members, schedule activities that involve everyone. However, everybody has their productive hours. Keep in mind meeting times, do-not-disturb times and golden hours.