These days, it’s incredibly popular to have remote teams that work together from all different corners of the world. It’s one of the cheaper ways to run a stay-at-home business and it’s also a good way to source talent from many different countries. Language and location aren’t high barriers to break anymore, which is why the draw of a remote team can be so tempting.

Unfortunately, having a team that works across multiple different time zones can be tricky. Cultural differences can also play a part in how productive your team is, and technical issues can also be hard to solve when they happen simultaneously across multiple countries. So to help your remote team be more productive, here are some ideas to consider.

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Streamline communications to lower the chance of delays

One of the best ways to improve the productivity of your team is to focus on effective remote communication. Staying in touch with your other team members and giving them updates on your progress on various tasks can help immensely when it comes to organization. There are a number of ways to do this, such as using communication tools like Slack or using services like Trello to keep everyone updated.

Don’t give your employees more work just because they’re remote

Business owners tend to make the mistake of underestimating the amount of work an employee has to do because they’re working remotely. Always try to be realistic about the work you give to your employees and consider their average work speeds. If you ask an employee to write an article about something, consider the time it takes to perform research, create an outline, draft it, and then go through the article with amendments.

The goal here isn’t to set a hard deadline for the entire project, but rather to set deadlines for each phase of a project. You should also speak with your staff to get a better idea of how long they’ll take on certain tasks. This all goes back to communication and how important it is for keeping your team on the same page.

Know your employees and play around their strengths

Every employee you hire is going to have their own strengths and weaknesses. For instance, some employees work better when they don’t need to constantly update you on their progress because they like to work long and intense stretches as opposed to taking frequent breaks. Other employees work better when there is a friendly atmosphere, such as a video chat or Slack channel where they can converse while performing their tasks.

It’s all about fine-tuning the employee experience so that your employees both enjoy working for you and can get their work done on time. Know what your employees are capable of, speak to them to see what they prefer, and let them work the way they want to. After all, remote working is all about flexibility, so make sure you give them more choices.

Team building can be important for remote teams too

Team building as a remote team is surprisingly simple thanks to the plethora of online activities that you can engage in as a group. Some simple ideas include playing online games together, encouraging more communication in a meet-and-greet style, or even doing gift swaps. There are lots of different ideas to try, but the best options will depend on the type of team you have. When in doubt, don’t hesitate to speak to your team and have them suggest new ideas for remote team-building exercises.

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Ensure you have solutions to technical problems

The impact of technical issues can get out of control when it comes to remote working. If someone’s computer is broken, then you can’t just send a technician to their desk or get a replacement from storage. Chances are they’ll need to take their computer or laptop to a nearby repair store, get a quote, get it fixed, and then send you the bill.

Battling technical problems with remote working can get tough and there are a lot more logistical considerations to think about. As such, having processes in place to deal with something like a broken computer or weak internet connection can keep your team’s productivity up.

Document processes so that there are fewer questions

If you have many different processes in your business then it can be helpful to document them for future reference. For instance, if you want to keep the content on your website consistent, then it’s generally a good idea to have a style guide prepared so that everyone can reference it. Similarly, you may want to document the process of approaching new customers. It can start with an email, there could be certain things to mention, and you could link it to resources such as your business’s customer relationship management software.

The more you document these repeated processes, the fewer questions you’ll get from your team. This helps improve employee autonomy when there are many different time zones involved. Instead of waiting for a manager in one time zone to be awake to respond to questions, they can simply look up a knowledge base of information that will help them perform their jobs.

Encourage remote employees to stay physically and mentally healthy

Lastly, don’t forget to encourage your remote employees to stay fit and healthy. It’s a good idea to pay close attention to your employees and their health because it’s a little more challenging to do so over the internet. You can’t physically see them and you don’t speak to them as often as you would if you shared an office. As such, it’s important to converse with them, ask how they’re doing, and also encourage them to look after their health.

This is a great way to notice when your employees are struggling at work due to problems in their personal life. You should encourage regular breaks, give them time off, or even cut down on their tasks to make it easier for them to manage their responsibilities.

Working with a remote team can be tricky, but there are plenty of ways to improve things if you’re willing to examine your team closely.