Three ways to improve teamwork and productivity from a distance

This month many people find themselves in a completely new situation as they work and manage teams remotely.

To help managers and team members navigate this new way of working, ManpowerGroup has compiled a list of three key strategies you can implement to help increase productivity and team collaboration from a distance.

Embrace new ways of working

Working remotely requires teams to rethink how they operate and manage output. Now is a great time to trial new technologies and procedures to see what works best for you.

  • Schedule video meetings and informal check-ins to create structure for remote workers. This will encourage employee engagement and will help hold team members and managers accountable.
  • Leverage smart tools and tech to help support remote workers and ensure teams remain able to communicate and collaborate.
  • Focus on output, rather than online presenteeism. Too much emphasis can be placed on ‘being seen’ as a proxy for how committed an online worker is to an organisation. Ensure clear output targets are set as the measure, rather than being hung-up on specific hours.
  • Enable collaboration but also ensure data security and privacy. Explain to workers that everyone is responsible for protecting data, while initiating practices and procedures that will strengthen data security within the business.
  • Find digital platforms for more personal expression. Create a virtual water cooler (e.g. culturally dedicated Slack or Teams channels) where employees can run into each other and discuss non-work specific interests to boost morale.
  • Think of remote work as not a challenge to overcome but a business advantage to achieve. By not tying work to a physical location we democratise opportunity and open up a range of new possibilities.
  • Think long-term. The responses to COVID-19 will leave behind a legacy upon which teams can build new ways of working which more closely match the needs of people rather than prioritising presenteeism.

Prioritise strong leadership

Prepared and responsible leadership is critical in times of change, and it is important that leaders are equipped to react promptly and competently when issues arise.

  • Lead by example. Leaders should be visible in online tools and channels, communicating proactively and engaging in timely conversations where they are happening.
  • Trust teams to be more autonomous but with processes, responsibilities and clearly defined roles to measure results and readjust behaviour.
  • Consider that new ways of working can contribute to industry transformation, redesigning business models and diversifying supply chains and markets that will benefit the business in the long-term.
  • Remember that a good contingency plan is just the start to creating the basis necessary to seize the opportunities to rethink your company and its leadership in a context of great transformation.

Stay focused on reskilling and upskilling

Working remotely can increase the chances of team members feeling isolated. Working with teams and different employees to reskill and upskill can not only create new employee drive and focus but also boost moral through future goals.

  • Help people learn, apply and adapt to new roles and new ways of working.
  • Get ready for more training to move digital. Webinars and online tutorials can help ‘solve’ the preference of presenteeism. Quizzes and tests allow companies to verify learning and keep the engagement curve high.
  • Create a culture that enables people to nurture their learnability and continually update their skills. The Skills Revolution we predicted is here and it’s happening now, ensuring people re-skill and upskill is how companies will stay competitive and people will be motivated and engaged, bringing value for the long-term.

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