Sponsored Content: Zapier, a Software as a Service (SaaS) company, has a business model many startups are trying to replicate. Why? It’s 100 percent remote, which gives them a wider pool of talent, lower overhead costs, a boost in productivity and an increase in workforce flexibility. This philosophy, however, comes with challenges. The daily experience of not sharing the same physical workspace is a barrier that can lead to misunderstandings, loss of team cohesiveness and cultural clashes.
These challenges must be addressed for the remote culture to thrive. Here are tools and strategies for strengthening a global workforce.
Communication problems are common with remote teams, so it’s important to make sure that every team member uses the same tools and platforms. The most convenient method of communication depends on the industry and employee preferences. The most popular include:
Each platform can be used for your for regular meetings, to ask questions among each other and discuss goals and objectives.
Virtual teams do not always see and hear each other, which is why weekly or daily stand-up meetings are valuable. You might need to rotate meeting times to avoid burdening your team members if everyone works in a different time zone.
Get your virtual staff collaborating by using a software that makes it easier for everyone to share information, upload files, know their responsibilities and see what other team members are working on.
There are a plethora of project management tools that help people anticipate and prioritize their work. At the same time, they enable a team member to see how his or her task relates or is connected to the tasks of others. These top intuitive solutions that make a great fit for startup businesses include:
Depending on your company’s needs, there other more specific tools that might be a better fit. For instance, the Virtual Office Desktop from 8×8 is useful if you have an outside sales team and need insight into their day-to-day activity. If you’re looking to simply share documents, you can do so with Google Docs or Dropbox.
The most sensible way to keep everyone engaged, focused and on task is to lend a helping hand. Hire someone to be the go-to person in your company that members can turn to for help and support. In addition, conduct coaching and mentoring sessions on areas where team members are looking to improve.
As a business owner, do not assume that everyone is an expert at using your tools. There will always be a digital divide among members in different age groups. Don’t let technology difficulties hurt productivity or team morale.
Compensate for the lack of face-to-face human interaction by encouraging team bonding. Some creative global teams schedule “coffee breaks” where they interact face-to-face on Skype and discuss topics outside of work. Also, make sure every team member feels valued by rotating leadership roles. Let someone plan the week’s meetings and oversee the entire group. Allowing people to shine as the leader maximizes your team’s growth potential.
Building a global business team that lasts is challenging, but more companies are making the commitment to do so. With these strategies, your members will be able to continually give their best and feel more connected.